Shut The Cell Up!
Special Report: Shut The Cell Up!
It happens everywhere, from the movies to mass transit, from the streets to symphony hall: cell phones interrupting a movie, performance or even you’re peace and quiet.
"I think its annoying," one moviegoer said. "You’re totally into the movie and then a cell phone goes off."
To reduce the ring, movie theaters ask customers to silence their phones, and cell companies are now doing the same.
But even with all the ads asking for phones to be turned off, it’s clear not everyone is getting the message.
"This guy next to me was yapping away, I said to him ‘sir can you please take that in the other room?’" cell phone vigilante ‘Mike’ said.
The man who we'll call ‘Mike’ doesn't want to be identified. He got so fed up listening to other peoples phone calls, he bought a small illegal gadget which literally shuts them up.
They're known as cell phone blockers or jammers, and people are buying them online and in the back rooms of spy shops.
"People have paid for the privilege of using the air waves but their privilege is being denied," one Nextel spokesperson said.
Here's how they work: when the jammer is turned on, it blocks nearby phones from finding a signal. It’s an invisible shield stopping those phones from making and receiving calls.
So the question is when you are on a cell phone talking and it goes dead is it because you are in a bad area or is something or someone zapping you?
Although they are illegal here, they’re not in other countries. The Israeli army has been using them for years to prevent bombs from being detonated using cell phones
In Monterey, Mexico, churches are now installing cell blockers to obstruct calls during services
Not everyone thinks these things which can be as small as a cell phone are a good idea. Public safety officials say they can be dangerous and you could face $11,000 fine for using one.
"Maybe that one cell phone call is the only way you gonna be able to let people know where you are and get emergency help, that wont happen if these jammers are in effect," Statewide Emergency Telecommunications boardmember Paul Fehey said.
There are alternatives in the works. Cape Cod native Dave Derosier is the founder of Cell-Block-R, a technology he says that can block most calls, but allows emergency ones to get through.
"We listen for any emergency calls and those are allowed to go through," Derosier said.
Derosier is currently working with the FCC in hopes of putting his product in theaters and restaurants within the year.
"We're offering probably the only non intrusive method of controlling the abuse," Derosier said.
So the next time you ask 'can you hear me now?' there may be an illegal blocker right around the corner.
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