These days, it’s almost impossible to watch a movie or go out to dinner and not have the phone interrupted.
Oakland, California resident Charles Crowder said, “Sometimes I’ll go to a restaurant where I want to have a meal or coffee and I’m reading quietly and someone will start talking loudly on their phone and it’s annoying.” .
With more than 100 million mobile phones growing worldwide, the problem is likely to get worse. In the US alone, an estimated 84% of US citizens will own a mobile phone within five years.
However, the backlash against cellular harassment has already begun. It is increasingly common for visitors to turn off phone signs in restaurants in the US. In Maine’s Baxter State Park, phones are illegal except in emergencies. Resistance has even reached the White House: President Bush has banned mobile phone conferencing.
In fact, several governments around the world are considering legalising mobile phone signalling technology in order to add ritual to phone calls in public places.
WLAN jammers have been around since 1998. It is used to send force-controlled radio signals or to modulate the interference of radio waves.
Jammers work in two ways. Some devices place their signals on the same frequencies as pagers and cellular phones, thus separating the traffic between the handset and the base station. Others act as an electronic filter, fooling the mobile phone that no frequencies are available for making or receiving calls. Interference only affects a specified area (most radii are a few tens to hundreds of feet) and only works for cellular transmissions.
Sounds like the perfect solution for mobile phones? The problem is that, with the exception of Israel and Japan, mobile phone jammers are still illegal in most developed countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Switzerland and Australia.
However, the tide can change. Last spring, both Hong Kong and Canada announced that they would use jamming tools to curb payphone behaviour. Around the same time, leaders of India’s parliament said they had installed devices to avoid interference during sessions.
But such a dramatic shift in the legal landscape is becoming less far-fetched as public discontent with the chirping barrier continues to grow. In the past year, Letstalk.com found that 57% of Americans prefer to use their phones in restaurants, theatres and other public places.
What do you think?