Cell Phone Jammer Foolishness

Last weeks edition of The McLaughlin Group had the stupidest debate ever.

Chatter Zapper.

Is it a new wave of technology, or is it an anti-wave? They’re called cell phone jammers, capable of voiding any conversation within 20 feet. This combative technology has been called “revenge tech” or “design noir” or “annoyance tech.”

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on a sold-out train, a crowded bus. It starts with a cell phone ring, some zany, cacophonous sound. Then the person sitting next to you picks up her cell phone. The agony begins; first the retelling of her day, then it is a round of “He said, she said,” then what’s for dinner.

Unobtrusively you reach over and take out your “revenge tech” device — zap. That takes care of that.

I think it’s a pseudo-problem. It’s a pseudo- problem, because technology will now devise a jam-proof telephone or the chatter will not work.
-John McLaughlin

The reason I call this the stupidest debate ever on the show is that jammers are illegal, period. They have been illegal my whole lifetime and they will remain illegal as long as humans want to have usable radio technology. This is not a new technology, as long as there has been radio there has been radio jamming technology. They are confusing a new product with a new technology and ignoring the reality of the FCC rules.

In case you don’t think jammers will get you into deep trouble, here’s the FCC penalty.

Fines for a first offense can range as high as $11,000 for each violation or imprisonment for up to one year, and the device used may also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. government.

For more information and the rules for other countries see this Wikipedia article.

**** UPDATE ****

More information at this newer post