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Friday, September 23, 2005

Cell Phone Blues - Breathing Space Blog

“The complaints are familiar and frequent.” says AP writer Juan-Carlos Rodriguez. “People on cell phones talk too loud, they use them at inappropriate times, and they just don't seem to care if they are bothering anyone. The horror stories are famous too. Cell phones at funerals. Cell phones at weddings. Cell phones in class. And of course, cell phones in restaurants.”

Based on data from the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, approximately 66% of Americans use a cell phone. So finding quiet is getting harder and harder since cell phone manners seem to be degrading by the minute.

“Traditionally quiet places like movie theaters, opera houses, orchestra halls and live theater venues are now compelled to remind patrons to turn off their cell phones or other devices before a performance,” says Rodriguez. “Washington's Metrorail system has put up signs discouraging inconsiderate talkers which say:

"Yes, we're all very interested in what you're having for dinner tonight" accompanied by a picture of a wide-mouthed Metro rider yelling into a cell phone. The second line says it all, "Please keep your phone conversations to yourself."

Worldwide cell phone jamming is all the rage. Mexican churches have installed short-range cell phone signal jammers to abusers who can’t control themselves during mass. Jamming is also popular in India, Japan, and France. In the United States, cell-phone jamming is currently illegal.

“While some are clamoring for cell phone restraint,” writes Rodriguez, “cell phone companies are lobbying the Federal Aviation Administration to permit cell phones on commercial airline flights. But in a poll by the Association of Flight Attendants and the National Consumers League 63 percent of respondents wanted to keep current restrictions in place.” Let’s us hope that this is one lobby that runs out of things to say.

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