A Philadelphia man was caught red-handed this week for using a mobile phone jammer to prevent fellow passengers on a public transit bus from using their cell phones.
“I guess I take the law into my own hands,” he told an NBC10 reporter about the illegal jammer, “and to be honest, I’m proud of it.”
Teresa Masterson, a writer on NBC10, first encountered the jammer on her morning commute and gave NBC investigators a lead.
A jammer that blocks radio frequencies isn’t just limited to blocking people
But while today’s news and the resulting internet outrage can only be felt by a single man, the practice of jamming cell phones is widespread in both New York and Washington DC. I spoke to two such “jammers” this morning about why they bought equipment that ranged from $ 40 to over $ 10,000 on sites like jammer-welt.com. Some boast a radius of just 15 feet, while others claim they are used in military vehicles and for counter-terrorism maneuvers.
“You’re the best thing ever,” says a New Jersey-to-New York commuter who lugs around a jammer every morning on his 40-minute ride on the New Jersey Transit. He doesn’t do it for the entire trip, he says, only when a fellow passenger speaks “too loudly” or “too long”. “It fits in your pocket – they even make shady packs of cigarettes. I would guess it’s effective for a 15 foot radius, possibly more,” he says.
“When I’ve used it, it’s to turn off a loud speaker on the train that is sitting near me.” He says he bought it online from a website that imports the equipment from China, where it’s legal, and when asked, told me that he never felt guilty about keeping his passengers from talking. “No fault,” he says, “just personal high fives.”
“I always have a grace period for calls,” says another jammer who takes the MARC train to Washington DC. The journey takes about 30 minutes. “If someone says,” Okay, well, I’ll be in the office in 10 minutes, then we can discuss it. “I’m not going to bother you. But if you talk about what you did last night and what kind of curtains you are getting for the house, then yes. Silenced.”
Does he feel guilty? As if it was causing a public grievance? Not as much. “People are mad and ranting on their cell phones all the time. But I feel like it gives me some control over what I believe is becoming an increasingly reckless society.
“I’m not a threat to public safety,” he says. “I don’t put anyone in danger more than anyone else in a subway without the reception of cells being compromised.”
jammer-welt promotes the sensible and legal use of cell phone jammers and correctly protects their legitimate rights and interests.