TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Wired: Word From on High: Jam Cell Calls

Re: Wired: Word From on High: Jam Cell Calls

Robert Bonomi (
Wed, 06 Apr 2005 21:45:39 -0000

In article <>, jtaylor
<> wrote:

> John McHarry <> wrote in message

>> On Sun, 03 Apr 2005 16:45:51 -0700, Lisa Minter wrote:

>>> Word From on High: Jam Cell Calls

>>> Four churches in Mexico have unobtrusively installed Israeli-made
>>> cell-phone jammers to thwart those who don't seem to understand they
>>> should turn the things off during services or weddings. They're not
>>> the only ones to install the jammers.

>> This is kind of old news. Jammers are illegal in the US, but if I were
>> building or extensively remodeling a theatre, church, etc., I would
>> make it into a Faraday cage. Done right, it is also good insulation.

> And so we have a situation where it is not the act that is illegal,
> but the method.

> Would those who so quickly hope for a lawsuit to arise from a jammer
> interfering with an emergency wireless telephone call also claim that
> a building so constructed would similarly be grounds for action?

In the U.S. *operating* an unlicensed transmitter is, with a few
exceptions, contrary to law. _Operating_ a transmitter, whether
licensed or otherwise, to "deliberately interfere" with the operation
of another licensed transmitter is contrary to law.

Pure "passive" measures, however, are *NOT* proscribed by law. Among
other reasons, because your signal has no 'right' of transit across
somebody else's private property.

Engaging in a legally proscribed activity that has the side-effect of
"danger to life and limb" of un-involved third parties _does_ open one
up to civil suit from those who suffered adverse consequences from the
_proscribed_ activity -- as well as the risk of criminal prosecution
for those actions.

An aside, I have direct knowledge of one church that actually Faraday
caged their sanctuary. In fact, they did it nearly *FORTY* years ago,
now. They were undergoing change from 'traditional' to 'modern' style
of services, including a complete remodel of the sanctuary -- with a
very "open" area for the ministers, etc. No podium, lectern, etc.
So, they went with _wireless_ microphones feeding the P.A. system.

All the various changes were perceived to be a -major- improvement,
attendance was climbing, more younger people were being drawn in,
etc. etc. Then there was a momentous Sunday morning, when somebody
with a high-powered mobile radio (probably an illegal CB rig) drove
down the street, during the sermon. There was a "most unfortunate"
juxtaposition of his language over the minister's sermon, as his
transmission overloaded the receiver for the PA system. There wasn't
any practical way to eliminate the wireless mic's, while retaining the
'character' of the new-style services, so they _did_ shield the entire
sanctuary to prevent any recurrence.

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