| | Alternatives to Cell Phone Jammer
Cell Phone Jammer
While the law clearly prohibits using a device to actively disrupt a cell-phone signal, there are no rules against passive cell-phone blocking. That means using things like wallpaper or building materials embedded with metal fragments to prevent cell-phone signals from reaching inside or outside the room. Some buildings have designs that block radio signals by accident due to thick concrete walls or a steel skeleton.
Companies are working on devices that control a cell phone but do not "jam the signal." One device sends incoming calls to voicemail and blocks outgoing calls. The argument is that the phone still works, so it is technically not being jammed. It is a legal gray area that has not been ruled on by the FCC as of April 2005.
Cell phone alerter are available that indicate the presence of a cell-phone signal. These have been used in hospitals where cell-phone signals could interfere with sensitive medical equipment. When a signal is detected, users are asked to turn off their phones.
Penalties for Violation- A cell phone dampener (or "jammer") emits a short-range signal on the same frequencies as cell phones, preventing the phones from placing or receiving calls. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that it violates the Communications Act of 1934 to make, import, sell, or use any device that interferes with wireless signals. The penalty can be up to $11,000, or a year in prison, as of 2010. The law is silent regarding the mere possession of such a device, however.
For a less technical solution, Caudal Partners, a design firm in Chicago, has launched the SHHH, the Society for Handheld Hushing. At its Web site, you can download a note to hand to people conducting annoying cell-phone conversations, expressing your lack of interest in what they're talking about.
For more information on cell phone jammer and related topics, check out the links on the next page.