Louisiana-based, CellAntenna (News - Alert) Corp. has urged lawmakers to legalize cell phone jamming devices for local and state law enforcement, claiming the signal scrambling gadgets can help prevent criminals from using mobile phones for illicit purposes.
The call-for-action comes on the heels of a stern reminder from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) that cell phone jammers – which interfere with cellular signals to create dead zones, making it impossible to complete a call – are indeed illegal for all purposes.
The FCC felt compelled to issue the warning after a story involving a rogue cell phone jammer went viral. A bus passenger, known only as Eric, admitted to a Philadelphia news station that he "took the law into his own hands" by cranking up a cell phone jammer each time fellow bus passengers began yakking away on their mobile phones.
The story garnered national appeal from other frustrated commuters, eventually sending the term "cell phone jammer" up toward the top of Google's (News - Alert) list of trending topics.
Days later, the FCC reiterated its "zero tolerance policy" against jammers, and said it would take "aggressive action" against violators.
CellAntenna Corp., which designs cell phone control solutions for law enforcement, agrees that jammers should be illegal for consumers, but stresses their importance for police activities like SWAT team operations, inside jails and prisons, and for local and state bomb disposal units.
The company says that the FCC only issued 20 citations for illegal cell phone jamming in its history, and that none of the incidences involved law enforcement personnel.
"The need for cell phone jamming equipment by law enforcement greatly outweighs any threat of public misuse," CellAntenna, Howard Melamed, noted in a statement. "Only 20 incidents of jamming were found and prosecuted? With so few actual citations issued by the FCC for public misuse, there is no reason for the cell phone industry to be afraid of any misuse by local and state law enforcement agencies."
CellAntenna has asked Congress to consider legislation that would make cell phone jamming technologies legal for law enforcement reasons.
Edited by Brooke Neuman