No one is allowed to just sit around in public anymore. Everyone is either on their phone or listening to music, etc. rather than just sitting. Anyone who just sits around on a bus rather than ignoring everything is considered weird. However it is not considered weird for someone to loudly have a private conversation on their phone. It has become common place that people are allowed to be yelling at the top of their lungs as long as it is over a phone. Just imagine if everyone’s phones were jammed and people had to interact with others around them. That’s what a man from Philadelphia known only as Eric was able to do with a device known as a cell-phone jammer.
Last week, Philadelphia TV station NBC10 reported on a man who admitted to using a cell-phone jammer during his bus commute to shut down fellow passengers when they were talking loudly. “I guess I’m taking the law into my own hands, and quite frankly, I’m proud of it,” said Eric. He called people using their phones on public buses irritating and rude. “A lot of people are extremely loud, no sense of, just, privacy or anything,” said Eric, who was first noticed by a writer for the station. “When it becomes a bother, that’s when I screw on the antenna and flip the switch.”
After this was reported, interest in cell-phone jammers sky-rocketed. Despite the fact that they are illegal in the United States, a simple Google search will reveal that the low end models are only about 40 dollars. The legality of the jammers varies from country to country. In the United States, it is generally illegal to sell, own or use a jammer without the government’s permission.
The jammers are illegal mainly for safety reasons. The jammer transmits a signal on the same frequency as mobile phones in the area. They produce a louder signal than anything else in the area. As the phone tries to connect to a tower, it can’t because this other noise is in the way. However this jammer is not only limited to the cell phone’s frequencies. The jammer could block out the bus driver’s radio. The bus driver would be unable to get important information from the dispatcher, such as traffic information or emergency information, and if something had happened to the bus the driver would be unable to relay that back to the dispatcher, much less emergency crews.
Under federal law, illegally using a jammer can result in jail time and fines up to $16,000. So despite the fact that that person next to you is incredibly loud and annoying, it may be worth it just to suffer through it.