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Philly Man Took It Upon Himself to Quiet City Buses by Jamming Cellphones

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Many use their cellphones and smartphones to multitask while on public transportation going from point A to point B, calling family, making appointments, talking with friends, etc. This can result in an endless drone of one-sided chatter, and one Philadelphia man couldn't stand it anymore, the local NBC affiliate reported.

So, he took it upon himself to quiet things down by jamming their cellphones. NBC10 reported that one of their own staff saw a man on a SEPTA bus holding a "walkie-talkie" looking device that he was using to silence the conversations by jamming phones:

“He’s blatantly holding this device that looks like a walkie-talkie with four very thick antennae. I started to watch him and any time somebody started talking on the phone, he would start pressing the button on the side of the device,” said Marie.

From there News10 investigators set out in an undercover operation to catch this man, who they later identified as Eric. Here's what Eric had to say when he was confronted by the investigators after they filmed him in the act and told him use the device was illegal:

“It is my understanding it is more of a gray area. It is my understanding that it’s illegal to, you know, stop a television signal, a radio signal. You know, it’s my understanding according to the FCC that it’s not illegal to disrupt a cell phone signal,” Eric said.

[...]

“I guess I’m taking the law into my own hands, and quite frankly, I’m proud of it.”

[...]

“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,” said Eric.

Watch the full report:

NBC10 reports that according to federal law, use of cellphone jammers is considered a threat to public safety disrupting any other devices working on radio waves in the area. It is illegal to buy, sell and use these devices with jail time and up to $16,000 in fines as the consequence. When presented with the issue of preventing emergency calls with his device by NBC10, Eric said he wasn't concerned because he figured he'd most likely be the one calling 911 in the first place:

“Well, of course if there were such a situation on the bus, I imagine I would be right in the middle of it. And I would imagine that would be a very different situation, of course; I’d imagine I’d be dialing 911 myself," Eric said.

The city bus system is reported as saying they had received complains about cell service on the 44 route. NBC10 reports that after further investigation into claims of the device being illegal, Eric recognized his error and said he would get rid of the jammer.

In other similar technological news, Japanese researchers have developed a device called the "SpeechJammer", which muddles the speakers own words. Here's how it works according to SlashGear:

Before you start pulling out your pocket Bill of Rights, understand that researchers Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada haven’t developed a weapon, it’s more of an etiquette enforcer – with extreme prejudice. Their device processes the speech of an overly loud person, then computes and adjusts the frequencies and sends their own words back at them, modulated in such a way that they become instantly confused and therefore more likely to shut their traps already.

Their “SpeechJammer” device uses a phenomenon known as delayed auditory feedback, sending someone’s own recorded voice back at them in a strategic gap that causes most people to pause in their speech.

The Japanese researchers are still working on the technology, but SlashGear reports they envision it being used in spaces that are supposed to remain relatively quiet like movie theaters, art galleries and libraries.

[H/T Yahoo! News, MSNBC)

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