Riders of SEPTA bus route 44 in Philadelphia had started noticing their calls being dropped and noticed that a man, who calls himself Eric, was using a device that looked like a walkie talkie to jam cellphones on the bus. His case was finally made public when an NBC reporter, who was on the bus tipped off the news network, who then went undercover on the bus with a hidden camera. According to NBC10 Philadelphia, a local NBC station, Eric started jamming phone calls because he was irritated by the sound of people talking on the phone in public. He said, “A lot of people are extremely loud, no sense of just privacy or anything. When it becomes a bother, that’s when I screw on the antenna and flip the switch.

Jamming safety for peace

Jamming safety for peace

Now, the problem with Eric's practices is that it is illegal in the United States to use, own, buy or sell any device, which will jam cellphone reception. This has to do with public safety and emergency situations. The only organizations that are allowed to have cellphone jammers are federal organizations that deal with homeland security. However, whenever Eric saw anyone get on their cellphones on a call, he would press a button on the side of his walkie-talkie resembling jammer and that person's call would be dropped. He was not aware that this practice was illegal and said that he thought it was grey area. He also said that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not made cellphone signal disrupting devices completely illegal. Breaking this law, however, would result in jail time and a $16,000 (Rs.8,00,528 approx) fine.

Riders of the bus were worried for emergency situations and the phone calls that they might make or receive. They were worried that Eric would jam their call, however, Eric said that he would not end such calls because he would be in the middle of the situation. He said he would dial 911 himself to help with the circumstance. However, he did not account for when a user would get a call and someone at their home and work was having an emergency situation. After being confronted by NBC10, he said he had done more research on the matter and would dispose of the device.

Publish date: March 6, 2012 1:27 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:46 pm

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