Jammers Enforce Cell Phone Silence, Illegally

How many times have you been annoyed by a cell phone user, practically shouting into his or her phone on a bus or subway?  Or been annoyed by someone's phone ringing in the theatre?  More than you can count, right?  Unless, of course, you are of the offenders.  Ever wish you could rip the phone out of their hands, or just tell them to knock it off?  Some are doing more than that, illegally, however.

One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.

“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.

Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius.

“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”

Nothing like this will likely ever be legal in the U.S., although there are restrictions in Japan that allow the jamming or signal interference in certain locations, but it isn't going to ever happen here.