CRIME

Cell Phone Jamming Commuter Disrupts Service On Public Buses

03/01/2012 04:23 pm ET

We've all been privy to the uncomfortable public cell phone call. Whether they're long, loud, awkward or just annoying, these calls could tempt even a saint to snap at untimely talkers.

One Philadelphia man is taking it upon himself to silence his commute by activating a cell phone jammer on public SEPTA buses. According to ABC News, these devices typically cost about $1000 and can block signals in a room about the size of a movie theater -- and are illegal in many countries, including the United States.

NBC10 in Philadelphia went undercover on the 44 bus and captured footage of a man jamming phone signal. When confronted, he admitted and defended his actions.

"I guess I'm taking the law into my own hands and quite frankly, I'm proud of it," the man, who identified himself as "Eric," told NBC10.

"It's still pretty irritating and, frankly, it's pretty rude," he said, referring to the public phone conversations.

The jammers emit a special modulated wave that not only interferes with cell phone signals, but also radio frequencies including those used by emergency personnel and police. Under federal law, these devices are illegal to use, own, buy or sell, and doing so could mean jail time and up to $16,000 in fines.

Eric said he thought that the jammers were a legal grey area, but insisted that his actions were justified by people who don't practice phone manners in public.

Nevertheless, Eric later told the NBC10 Investigators that he would dispose of the device.

It's unclear where this cell phone vigilante got his jammer, but they're clearly out there.

The New York Times reported in 2007, some people across the country have grown so agitated by cell phone use that they have purchased and used jammers in settings from cafes and hotels to buses and salons. Since then, cell phones have only become more common, with 100 million estimated in current circulation worldwide.

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