NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you have ever wished that you could flip a switch and put an end to another person’s annoying phone calls, it turns out you actually can.
But there may be a hefty price to pay.
As CBS2’s Mary Calvi reported, a controversial technology can silence cell phones.
“There was a lot of noise, constant, constant discussions, people telling each other what they were having for dinner, what they did for the weekend, and it got tiresome,” one commuter said.
The man decided to put a stop to, and he did so illegally, which is why he has asked to keep his identity concealed.
“You ask them nicely if you could keep it down a little, and they don’t, then we cut them off,” he said.
He’s not kidding. With a cell phone jammer, a device that interrupts a phone’s signal, the man can literally silence other people’s irritating calls.
He says he isn’t worried about being caught, but maybe he should be. The Federal Communications Commission has harsh penalties for those found jamming cell phones and GPS equipment.
If a person does get caught penalties can range in excess of $100,000 plus possible jail time.
Despite being illegal in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and a host of other countries, jammers are available for sale on the web, and their use has been demonstrated on YouTube.
Criminologist Joseph Giacalone explained why these devices are so dangerous.
“They can interrupt 911 calls, they can interrupt police radios, transit radios,” he explained.
The jammers cut off more than just the annoying person on the phone, even a simple call to your doctor’s office can be disrupted.
But there is no shortage of consumers interested in buying them.
“As an example, a lot of employers will call looking for cell phone jammers so their employees aren’t on the phone all the time,” explained Yatri Trivedi of spytecinc.com.
There are devices that knock out phones in shorter ranges of about 15-feet, while others can disrupt an entire cell tower, and there are apparently plenty of people using them.
“I don’t pay $400 a month just to hear people yapping on the phone for 20 minutes straight,” the anonymous commuter said.
The FCC recently levied a $48,000 fine against a Florida man who was caught driving with a high-powered cell phone jammer in his car. He said he wanted to stop other drivers from talking while driving.
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