Cell phone jammers prevent phones from working. They are used in cars, public places and exam halls.
Jammers are not new – they have been around for years – and they are illegal in many countries, including the United States, but jammers are becoming increasingly popular.
But are phones really the problem? And are jammers really the solution?
I think cell phone jammers are being used as a patch, the wrong solution, to solve three societal problems that should be solved by much better technology.
Here are the three biggest problems cell phone jammers are trying to solve, and what I think are the better solutions.
The “phones are dangerous” problem
A Florida man named Jason R. Humphreys wanted to save lives by preventing people on his daily commute from using their phones while driving. So Humphreys installed a cell phone jammer on the back of the passenger seat of his SUV. As far as Humphreys knew, the program worked for two years. But the police, whose own communications were occasionally interrupted by his jammer, were less than enthusiastic. So they tracked him down and caught him two years ago. Last week, he was fined $ 48,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for violating US law against jamming devices.
As I said at this point, I think that drivers distracted with smartphones would be distracted by something else without smartphones. In other words, smartphones don’t cause accidents, humans don’t.
The terrible reality is that human drivers kill around 1.24 million people worldwide every year. That is a far higher annual rate than the number of people who die in wars.
Humphreys’ misguided act was the wrong solution to the problem. What we really need is to switch to self-driving cars as soon as possible. The sooner we do it, the more lives will be spared.