Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Jamming Annoying Cellphone Talkers, Though Appealing, Remains Illegal

If you have ever been on a bus or train with someone loudly yammering on their cellphone, the appeal of a device that could block their signal is undeniable.

Well, the Federal Communications Commission would like to take this opportunity to remind you that such products remain illegal, regardless of their obvious appeal.

“In recent days, there have been various press reports about commuters using cellphone jammers to create a ‘quiet zone’ on buses or trains,” Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said in a statement. “We caution consumers that it is against the law to use a cell or GPS jammer or any other type of device that blocks, jams, or interferes with authorized communications, as well as to import, advertise, sell, or ship such a device.”

The agency said it has undertaken 20 enforcement actions against online retailers in 12 states for illegally marketing such jamming devices.

“The FCC Enforcement Bureau has a zero tolerance policy in this area and will take aggressive action against violators,” Ellison said.

If only there were a zero-tolerance policy against loudly sharing embarrassing personal details with an entire bus.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald