Los Angeles Considers Mobile Phone Jamming
By Eric Lin, Tue May 18 01:00:00 GMT 2004

LA County Sheriff's Department is considering installing cell phone jammers in large LA attractions. The only problem is the FCC has banned the use of jammers.

After mobile phones were used to detonate the March 11 bomb in Madrid, Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca went on a trip to discover how other countries are dealing with the the threat of cellular-detonated explosives. Jammers are commonly used in many other countries, in fact a jammer in Pakistan foiled an assassination attempt on their President.

The Sheriff and other LA law enforcement agencies are interested in using similar technologies at LAX airport and large auditoriums for use when under threat. The trouble is the FCC has a ban on jamming devices, and no local law enforcement agencies in the US have considered mobile phone jamming equipment before. The Secret Service and other Federal law enforcement agencies are known to have jamming devices, but tend to be exempted from FCC restrictions. The article claims that casinos and hospitals use jamming equipment, but this author's never lost signal in Las Vegas before.

Any exception to the ban on jamming devices would need to be taken up with the Federal FCC; Baca has not presented a plan to them yet. The CTIA have, of course, already aired their strong objection to any jamming equipment, even for cases like this. So far Americans have been willing to tolerate inconveniences for the sake of a greater sense of security. The population may wind up siding with LA's law enforcement on this issue, but not even they can overturn the FCC.