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IP: More on Cell Phone Jamming Goes Legit In Japan
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 03:21:33 -0500



Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 23:31:10 -0500
To: farber () cis upenn edu
From: "David P. Reed" <dpreed () reed com>
Subject: Re: IP: Cell Phone Jamming Goes Legit In Japan

Dave - re the eagerness of people to jam phones: am I the only person who
used to carry a pager for the sole reason of being reached in emergencies
by my family; I now carries a cell phone for that purpose?  Not all
wireless devices are "chains to one's employer" or "toys for phone addicts"
(do I seem defensive?)

Can I sue a theater for jamming reception on my cell phone if my babysitter
cannot reach me in an emergency, thus causing serious risk if I cannot (for
example) authorize proper emergency procedures?  This situation has come up
twice for me personally in the years I have carried a pager.

I am extremely careful to use the silent, vibrating ringer on my phone at
all times, and I don't answer my phone if the caller id indicates an
unimportant call, so why are we seeing the need for busybodies to interfere
with my ability to be notified, thus causing serious risk of harm?

I'd be happy to have a compromise solution that, for example, announces to
callers that the phone user is in a quiet zone, and not ring through unless
the caller indicates urgency, but these non-discretionary jammers in a
kludge class about as bad as Internet firewalls.  Like firewalls, which
were invented mainly because many Unix systems features were designed badly
and thus impossible to secure (see Cheswick and Bellovin's comments on this
point), the cell jammer is a solution to a problem caused by an old bad
design that didn't scale (no one assumed that cell phones would be common
enough to worry about annoyance, so the systems infrastructure has no way
to resolve annoyance issues), implemented by patches at a level that does
not have the ability to discriminate at the right semantic level (who knows
what a value a call might have? Certainly not the owner of a concert hall.)

I'd like to have the cell phone mfrs. produce a feature in cell phones that
put out a loud periodic tone when they detect jamming or other systematic
interference with service.  The user can thus be made aware of jamming that
might be a problem, and the manager of the establishment would then turn on
the jammer at their own risk.  Thus countermeasures lead  to
counter-countermeasures.  I'd pay $50 at least for such a device, unless it
came from the jammer manufacturers, who should pay me for my cost of
carrying it.

- David


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