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FCC Proposes $48,000 Fine To Man Jamming Cellphones On Florida Interstate

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

Cellphones 427

New submitter freddieb writes: "An individual who had been jamming cellphone traffic on interstate 4 in Florida was located by FCC agents with the assistance of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputies. The individual had reportedly been jamming cellphone traffic on I-4 for two years. The FCC is now proposing a $48,000 fine for his actions. They say the jamming 'could and may have had disastrous consequences by precluding the use of cell phones to reach life-saving 9-1-1 services provided by police, ambulance, and fire departments.'"

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Probably saved more lives with jamming (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871389)

It's just disgusting how many people use their cell phones while driving.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

MiggyMan (227116) | about 6 months ago | (#46871407)

Is that illegal over there yet ?

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871415)

There should be a crowdfunding campaign to pay all this man's legal bills AND provide a healthy reward. I'm so sick of seeing people careening down the freeway at 80 MPH with one hand on the wheel and one hand mashing a smartphone to their braincase. I with someone would come up with a design that was cheap and easily powered so I could leave jammers scattered all up and down the roadway. Have fun finding them.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#46871465)

Jammers are incredibly easy to find.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (4, Insightful)

Drethon (1445051) | about 6 months ago | (#46871493)

I'd be less worried about the people going 80 down the freeway with a cell phone and more worried about the ones doing 45 in the city with a cell phone.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871901)

Is a 45 mph accident supposed to be more deadly than an 80 mph one?

Collateral Damage? (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 6 months ago | (#46871565)

I don't know if this has occurred to you or not, but not everyone inside a car is driving a car. And if you do get into a car accident, it would be nice if you or someone in the area could call emergency services.

Re:Collateral Damage? (3, Insightful)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 6 months ago | (#46871711)

What about the people who live nearby as well?

Emergency Services (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871749)

How did that work for you 30 years ago?

Re:Emergency Services (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46871771)

We didn't have cell phones. Or car accidents. Steve Jobs was still alive.

It was paradise.

You just died. (4, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 6 months ago | (#46871851)

30 years ago you had to wait for someone to go get help, which could take quite a while. A lot more people died in car accidents back then. . .

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46871633)

So you'd rather have them careening down the freeway at 80MPH with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding their smartphone while looking down at it to see why the call just got cut off?
and when they crash into someone else, no one can call for an ambulance?

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (3, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46871713)

> I'm so sick of seeing people careening down the freeway at 80 MPH with one hand on the wheel and one hand mashing a smartphone to their braincase.

I wish they would do that. More often they're varying speed between 45 and 55 (in a 65 zone) and meandering between lanes. Buy a bluetooth headset or speaker, fuckos!!!

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (2)

PhotoJim (813785) | about 6 months ago | (#46871811)

There are three or more seats in almost every vehicle where people can legally operate phones.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871449)

It's just disgusting how many people use their cell phones while driving.

Sent from my iPho.... [Screech!]

NO CARRIER.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (4, Insightful)

Drethon (1445051) | about 6 months ago | (#46871477)

More likely killed more people who were looking down at their cell phone "Why isn't this damn thing working!".

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (3, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#46871501)

What's the difference between talking on a cell phone and talking to a passenger? Texting while driving is already illegal in Florida.

This one guy doesn't get to decide public safety issues.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871561)

It is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.. From http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/Hands-free-is-not-risk-free.aspx

Isn't it just as distracting to talk to passengers?

  - A passenger is able to spot and point out driving hazards
  - A passenger is another set of eyes
  - A passenger is able to recognize when traffic is challenging and stop talking.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46871679)

" - A passenger is able to spot and point out driving hazards
      - A passenger is another set of eyes
      - A passenger is able to recognize when traffic is challenging and stop talking."

I guess we'll have to ban blind people from traveling in cars then.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871793)

because both blind passengers negate the point...

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46871573)

The passengers will help look around for traffic. Also, you can "ignore" passengers in person more politely than someone over the phone. The phone is a reduced communication medium. The quality is worse, so tone can be distorted, and you get no visual cues of the person to help you understand, so you focus more on the phone than a person sitting next to you to get the same level of understanding. The quality of conversation is different as well. You can "tune out" the people in the car more easily, your wife is asking about dinner, the kids are asking to go to the new movie. But the phone call is your boss or customer, and you need to get that information 100% correct.

There's a long list of reasons that a phone call is different from a passenger. That you can't think of any indicates a problem with you, not those who are seeking a ban to phones, but not passengers.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#46871703)

So it should be illegal to have your boss or customer ride in your car?

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46871739)

Should it be illegal to conduct business while you are driving? Yes.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#46871993)

LOL

Good luck writing that law.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (-1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#46871831)

Bullshit.

The phone is my wife or family, and I can just drop it without offense if road conditions change. They understand the timing of the call and won't talk about anything too distracting. On the other hand, when I'm driving with a client in the car, he's focused on his exciting new business idea, and he doesn't really care that traffic is slowing up ahead. Being professional, I can't really just tell him to shut up for a few minutes.

If there's a phone call that's more important than driving, it can wait until I'm off the road.

There's a long list of reasons that a phone call is less distracting than a passenger. That you can't think of any indicates a problem with you, not those who are capable of managing their attention.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871601)

The statistics seem to be rather marginal, they can claim that X percent of accidents are attributed to cell phone use, but the accident percentage has not increased by the amount required to make that a solid argument. How many scammers see someone on the phone and say "Hey, free money" and crash into them?

The fact more then anything was summed up by Dudley Moore in the movie "Crazy People":

People who use care phones annoy other drivers.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871799)

Please show these statistics. Because according to MADD, ~10000 people died in 2012 of drunk driving. And according to the NHTSA, ~3300 people were killed by distracted driving. I'd say being at about 1/3rd the death rate (note, not accident rate, but death rate) of the biggest no no in driving is pretty effing bad.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 6 months ago | (#46871969)

I doubt all distracted driving accidents are attributable to cell phone voice calls. Texting, shaving, eating, drinking a beverage, spanking kids, head banging, receiving fellatio, messing with the stereo, messing with the GPS, tying a tie, and ogling the redhead on the side of the street are all distractions.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871697)

There's a much larger difference.

You don't need to hold a device to ear to converse with the passenger.
You don't need to take your eyes off of the road to call the passenger.
The passenger doesn't display text and images in front of you. (If they do sedate them before letting them in your car next time)
The passenger doesn't vibrate in your lap startling you. (Unless they're a good passenger, but then again that shouldn't be startling)

If you don't have a hands free setup, which a lot of people don't, and if the data function isn't going to be disabled while the vehicle is in motion, then this is a pretty good idea.

You're correct that one guy doesn't get to decide public safety issues. But it DOES have to start somewhere, and starting with one guy is a good place.I'd like to see the accident data for the times and locations he was jamming and then compare them to the same times and places when he wasn't jamming.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46871781)

What's the difference between talking on a cell phone and talking to a passenger?

According to Harvard [harvard.edu] it is quite different.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#46871883)

the two are entirely different. you don't shout and concentrate as much with a real person there vs the phone. the phone will cut in and out and distract you; people won't. and finally, the passenger will see that an 'issue' is coming up and probably be quite (or tell you there is a problem ahead). the cell phone will have no idea what your environment is like and they'll continue on blathering while you rear-end the guy who stopped short, in front of you.

I generally won't even answer my phone if I'm driving, hands free or not. the call can wait and if it can't, I'll pull over!

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46871977)

I would agree. Also statistically, driving with a passanger and talking to them is about as dangerous as talking on the cellphone while driving. So since that isn't practical to ban... the cell phone issue is more of an older generation whining about the next new thing.

I'm sorry if that offends but it is accurate.

Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46871511)

It's just disgusting how many people use their cell phones while driving.

It is quite vexing; but I suspect that 'people looking down in surprise when their signal suddenly cuts out' are even less useful for driving than are people chattering like idiots.

Sounds fair to me (1, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46871397)

The dude should certainly be punished, and a punitive fine like that sounds fairly reasonable to me. No sense clogging up the jails even further over what amounts to vandalism of a sort.

Re:Sounds fair to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871571)

it is nice it is not a crazy fine, but that does not cover the costs the FCC and Police used to find this person.

Re:Sounds fair to me (0)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#46871635)

If they spent more than $48,000 on identifying the culprit that's gross inefficiencies that isn't his fault.

Jammer was in car (4, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 6 months ago | (#46871693)

If you read the article, you'll notice he was operating the jammer from his car while driving. It's a lot harder to track down a moving jammer than a stationary one.

Re:Sounds fair to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871651)

It doesn't need to. You pay taxes for that.

Re:Sounds fair to me (5, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 6 months ago | (#46871657)

Fines aren't supposed to cover costs -- that's what taxes are for. A fine is a penalty to discourage certain behavior.

Re:Sounds fair to me (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46871709)

According to TFA, it took 3 days to find the guy. And the people that did the investigation were getting paid anyway (you don't think they went out and hired extra investigators for this, do you). The 'cost' was $0.

Re:Sounds fair to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871593)

With the damage this man caused to public safety he needs to be shot on live national television. The punishment for jamming communications should be death by bullet billed to the offender's family.

SHOOT HIM! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871409)

Anybody that jams radio signals should be shot! Seriously he is risking the lives of many people just so he can have his jollies. There are enough problems with cell phone coverage without motherfuckers like him. SHOOT HIM!

Re:SHOOT HIM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871763)

So he can have his jollies? You mean so he can prevent assholes that pay more attention to their phones than the damned road from causing accidents and killing more people. Look at which one effects the safety and lives of people as opposed to the one that inconveniences them for a little bit of time each day.

Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1, Interesting)

korthof (717545) | about 6 months ago | (#46871439)

Definitely stopped several talking and driving accidents. This needs to be weighed fairly on the scales of justice.

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 6 months ago | (#46871495)

From a different point of view... he possibly increased the likelihood of a distracted driving accident from callers looking at their phone muttering "wtf" to see why the call was dropped instead of keeping their eyes on the road.

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1)

hjf (703092) | about 6 months ago | (#46871527)

oh yes, dropped calls are such a rare occurence..

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46871653)

Or attempting to re-connect several times in an area that they usually get coverage. The jammer was mobile and only on intermittently.

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 6 months ago | (#46871791)

I never said they were rare. They do however almost always result in the person looking at their phone to figure out what happened.

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871889)

Haven't had a dropped call in years.

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46871583)

Definitely stopped several talking and driving accidents.

How are you so sure? Because you like vandalism, so it should be supported?

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46871737)

. . . and also interrupted navigation systems

Re:Maybe blocked a roadside call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46872013)

at the same time, him running through different neighborhoods and such was a gigantic annoyance to anybody living in those neighborhoods.

for a tech site, Slashdot has a lot of luddites on it.

Another valuable investment of tax payer dollars (0)

Dissenter (16782) | about 6 months ago | (#46871441)

I wonder if it took more than $48k in tax payer dollars to fund the two year man hunt to catch this dangerous criminal. (/sarcasm)

Re:Another valuable investment of tax payer dollar (5, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 6 months ago | (#46871581)

From TFA:

On April 29, 2013, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) received a complaint from Metro PCS4 that its cell phone tower sites had been experiencing interference during the morning and evening commutes in Tampa, Florida. Based on the location of the towers and the times that the alleged interference occurred, the Bureau determined that the likely source of the interference was mobile along Interstate 4 between downtown Tampa and Seffner, Florida.

On May 7, 2013, agents from the Bureau’s Tampa Office (Tampa Office) initiated an investigation into this matter and monitored the suspected route. On May 7, 8, and 9, 2013, the agents determined, using direction finding techniques, that strong wideband emissions within the cellular and PCS bands (i.e., the 800 MHz to 1900 MHz band) were emanating from a blue Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a Florida license plate. On May 9, 2013, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (Hillsborough Sheriff), working closely with the agents from the Tampa Office, stopped the Toyota Highlander SUV. The Hillsborough Sheriff deputies reported that communications with police dispatch over their 800 MHz two-way portable radios were interrupted as they approached the SUV.5

So it took them a grand total of three days to find the guy. The two years figure comes from his own admission of how long he's been using the jammer.

Re:Another valuable investment of tax payer dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871645)

Would you be as flippant about this if he had been jamming your wireless router or television signals for two years?

Re:Another valuable investment of tax payer dollar (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46871647)

Is it worth it to maintain free communications for people? Passengers in the cars were unable to call anyone as well. It's arrogant behavior to think you have the right to jam people's communications. I think a little jail time would be appropriate as well, or at least about 200 hours of community service picking up trash on the roadside.

Re:Another valuable investment of tax payer dollar (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 6 months ago | (#46871719)

I wonder if it took more than $48k in tax payer dollars to fund the two year man hunt to catch this dangerous criminal. (/sarcasm)

Enforcing the laws and regulations is often considered an end unto itself, and not a revenue generating device. Little profit flows into public coffers for incarcerating people, after all.

Re:Another valuable investment of tax payer dollar (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 6 months ago | (#46871729)

Why do you think that is relevant? Isn't there value to lawfulness? Most people agree that it is worth the cost to pay for enforcement of laws. We often spend more than $x to catch a thief that stole $x. That's the normal machinations of policework.

Made an example of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871447)

There is probably a better chance he'd be struck by lightning than interfere with a 911 call.

Unless the guy is a professional driver. In which case I definitely understand why he had the jammer.

If it were up to me, no call except 911 could be made while the vehicle is in motion.

Re:Made an example of (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871549)

If it were up to me, no call except 911 could be made while the vehicle is in motion.

If it were up to me, crashing a car would be illegal - regardless the cause - and nanny government can stay the fuck out of my business.

Seriously. You can murder someone with your car and get a $50 "Failure to Yield" ticket.

Re:Made an example of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871687)

Your business is happening on public roads. Where everything is most certainly NOT only about you.

So stop playing with the cell phones, the radio, your iPad, having staredowns with your passengers/kids OR gawking at shit off to the side of the road....AND drive the fucking car.

The rest of us who are paying attention are tired of your short attention spans increasing the odds I'll die on the road and pay higher insurance premiums.

Re:Made an example of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871855)

Don't dumb down the experience, raise the expectations.

The drivers test should be performed (regularly) with a cell phone in one hand and a pair of screaming toddlers in the back seat. Throw in traffic and some heavy rain. And a manual transmission. In the dark.

Can't handle it? No license. Because sooner or later, we all have to handle all those distractions at the same time.

Re:Made an example of (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46871569)

If it were up to me, no call except 911 could be made while the vehicle is in motion.

Passengers?

Re:Made an example of (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871757)

Maybe use the airbag switch in concert with a deadman's switch out of reach of the driver.

Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (1, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46871467)

The obvious question to ask was why someone would do such a thing.

Now, if it was a movie theater, I could see someone jamming cell phones. But on a road? Why?

Was he using an over-powered machine and doing it by mistake? Was he just insane?

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (4, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 6 months ago | (#46871611)

It's quite an obvious question isn't it? So obvious that it's already been asked and answered in TFA:

Mr. Humphreys admitted that he owned and had operated a cell phone jammer from his car for the past 16 to 24 months. An inspection of the vehicle revealed the cell phone jammer behind the seat cover of the passenger seat. Mr. Humphreys stated that he had been operating the jammer to keep people from talking on their cell phones while driving.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871733)

his big mistake was using a wideband jammer and omnidirectional antennas.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871875)

So he was doing a good deed by preventing idiots from killing themselves. Why is he being punished? Give the man a medal.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46871979)

Except that people will re-try the connection several times when it drops.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#46872011)

"he's the hero you need, even if he's not the hero you deserve."

or something like that.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 6 months ago | (#46871639)

The obvious question to ask was why someone would do such a thing.

Now, if it was a movie theater, I could see someone jamming cell phones. But on a road? Why?

Was he using an over-powered machine and doing it by mistake? Was he just insane?

Plenty of APKs out there. This guy just kicked it up a notch (and went IRL). Worse than an internet spammer crank, not nearly as bad as the Unabomber, but somewhere in the middle of the nuisance/danger spectrum

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (2, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about 6 months ago | (#46871801)

obvious question — why

For people that actually drive and must cope with vehicles that effectively have no driver because cell-phone there is nothing compelling about your question; the answer is self-evident.

Re:Why did he do it - and why didn't they ask? (0)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 months ago | (#46871841)

The obvious question to ask was why someone would do such a thing.

Now, if it was a movie theater, I could see someone jamming cell phones. But on a road? Why?

Was he using an over-powered machine and doing it by mistake? Was he just insane?

You have some mighty strong words for the person trying to jam cell signals in order to feel safer on the freeway.

Who should we really be labeling insane here, the man trying to make things safer around him, or society who feels they can text, talk, and drive while attempting to control a ton of steel down the freeway at 80MPH?

Perhaps we should re-think the "insanity" here.

Did it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871481)

I drive my car every day and *could* kill someone with it through inattentiveness. I've even been intentionally inattentive before. Results matter. Is there any evidence that this actually did impede 911 calls, or are they just saying that to artificially lend gravity to the situation and secure a more favorable plea bargain, and get that next promotion?

Re:Did it? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46871595)

They can't know, because the attempts (if any) were blocked, so they couldn't be logged.

Re:Did it? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 6 months ago | (#46871603)

There's no way to know, because a blocked call wouldn't have gone through. . .

Re:Did it? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46871723)

It impeded communication between the police communication centre and the police cars. It wasn't just cellphones, he was jamming emergency services communications too. It was the police who complained. He was broadcasting wideband signals between 800MHz and 1900MHz.

Re:Did it? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46871727)

Results matter.

So someone who is drunk behind the wheel should not be prosecuted? They haven't hurt anyone yet. Being drunk behind the wheel is not a problem except that it increases the probability of an accident. In many cases probability counts as well. Considering there is a probability of someone dying due to the presence of the jammer it is pretty serious.

Cause and Effect (0, Troll)

Virtucon (127420) | about 6 months ago | (#46871525)

By blocking the calls the guy stopped 911 calls from happening in the first place. He should be given a medal for saving lives.

Re:Cause and Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871607)

He simultaneously saved those people from death, and possibly condemned them to death.

Re:Cause and Effect (3, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46871659)

Evidence? Seems to me that it is more likely he could have caused accidents, because now the idiot who was going to make a call (or was in the middle of a call) is going to be looking at his phone to check signal strength, redialing, getting frustated, etc.

Re:Cause and Effect (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 6 months ago | (#46871843)

because now the idiot who was going to make a call (or was in the middle of a call) is going to be looking at his phone to check signal strength, redialing, getting frustated, etc.

Yes, but his mind will now be concentrating inside the car instead of being in some other place while talking on the phone thereby avoiding accidents.

How about jamming Real traffic. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871533)

So jamming cellphone traffic is a crime, but what about people jamming real traffic? Like Chris Christie and goons.

Re:How about jamming Real traffic. (1)

tsprig (167046) | about 6 months ago | (#46871667)

That's exempt under the politician^H{,,,,,,,,,} narrow law-enforcement clause.

The Slashdot Beta (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871537)

The Slashdot Beta is already having disastrous consequences on this website. The beta site just crashed my browser, and while there currently is an option to proceed to the old version (which I managed to click, just in time, after restarting my browser), I'm sure that even this option will soon disappear.

I'm not an old timer ranting just for the heck of it, (Disclaimer: I've just been on this website for close to 6 years now, five of those were during my engineering degree. Note that 6 years is a very short period of time, compared to some of the commenters who frequent this website, they've been here for much longer, though the way things are going, I doubt that they're going to stick around). The beta is truly unusable, is just a blatant advertisement for tech jobs by the new owners of this website, and destroys the comment system entirely.

I don't come here to read "News for Nerds", because the submissions made these days are just a blatant waste of time. What I do come here for are the comments. There is an absolute wealth of experience among the users on this website, from system admins to web developers to people with all sorts of careers, and from all sorts of backgrounds, not just technology. I come here to read their comments. This is also one of the greatest places to find absolute gems of wit (+5 Funny, I'm looking at you). I attempted to use the Beta to this purpose, but it failed miserably.

TL:DR; I come here for the comments, I won't be coming here any more if the beta becomes the default. Yes, this is a rant. Yes, this is offtopic. Yes, this will be modded as such. But I just needed to say that. Thanks.

Re:The Slashdot Beta (4, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 6 months ago | (#46871721)

http://soylentnews.com/ [soylentnews.com]

Re:The Slashdot Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871821)

Thank you for this. I didn't know that this existed. It's good to see that some things do indeed endure!

In the absence of an effective goverment... (1)

sacdelta (135513) | about 6 months ago | (#46871539)

If the government had actually dealt with known issues regarding driving and cell phone use, his vigilantism would not have been necessary. I know I have thought about doing the same thing myself. And I wonder how many politicians receive contributions from the cell phone companies.

Still... he committed a crime and should be punished. Civil disobedience requires a willingness to accept the punishment to help solve the problem.

Re:In the absence of an effective goverment... (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46871691)

His vigilantism wasn't necessary. He accomplished nothing at all with his nonsense than to possibly create a public hazard. What about car passengers? Are they "allowed" to use the phone? How many drivers do you suppose tried redialing again and again? He solved nothing at all. What arrogance.

Re:In the absence of an effective goverment... (0)

sacdelta (135513) | about 6 months ago | (#46871931)

That's the point. While it may be legal, it has been shown in studies to be unsafe (hands free or otherwise). Government has failed to act to address this safety issue.

How many accidents could he have caused (5, Interesting)

lecithin (745575) | about 6 months ago | (#46871543)

I hate when people talk, text and drive. You jam somebody, they are going to take the phone from their head and try to call again, or at least figure out what is going on. This is probably more distracting than just talking to somebody.

He might have saved lives..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871641)

There was a young lady in High Point, NC that died in a car accident a day or two ago right after she'd posted to Facebook.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/04/28/pkg-fatal-car-accident-facebook-messaging.wghp.html

Unacceptable Behavior (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 6 months ago | (#46871705)

Why can't he just shoot at road signs like most normal people?

That seems fair (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | about 6 months ago | (#46871715)

Particularly since the FCC levied a similar fine against BART in August of 2011...

Oh, wait. They didn't do anything at all then. But they're coming down like Thor's hammer on Florida Man.

How does that saying go? "You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training".

Darwin shot and missed on this one (2)

jakedata (585566) | about 6 months ago | (#46871725)

Imagine he was in an accident and rendered unconscious with his car still powering the jamming device. Assume it was a single car accident, no need to be cruel to others. Anyhow, nobody can call for help and nobody thinks to switch off the ignition in his vehicle which is clearly not running. If it jammed first responders communication equipment too, all the better. He could enjoy a nice long wait for an ambulance.

Re:Darwin shot and missed on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46871847)

Imagine if you and most other people were far more concerned about having meaningless phone conversations than devoting all of your attention to not killing yourself or anyone else on the road.

Who is the asshole now?

Re:Darwin shot and missed on this one (3, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46871929)

It did jam emergency communication equipment too

The Hillsborough Sheriff deputies reported that communications with police dispatch over their 800 MHz two-way portable radios were interrupted as they approached the SUV
...
On June 14, 2013, agents from the Tampa Office tested the seized cell phone jammer and confirmed that it was capable of jamming cellular and PCS communications in at least three frequency bands: 821-968 MHz, 1800-2006 MHz, and 2091-2180 MHz.
...
Public safety radio systems (such as those used by police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians) operate in several portions of the 800 MHz band, which consists of spectrum at 806-824 MHz paired with spectrum at 851-869 MHz.

http://www.fcc.gov/document/48... [fcc.gov]

Re:Darwin shot and missed on this one (0)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 months ago | (#46871947)

Imagine he was in an accident and rendered unconscious with his car still powering the jamming device. Assume it was a single car accident, no need to be cruel to others. Anyhow, nobody can call for help and nobody thinks to switch off the ignition in his vehicle which is clearly not running. If it jammed first responders communication equipment too, all the better. He could enjoy a nice long wait for an ambulance.

Yeah.

Because God knows how the fuck we ever handled accidents before cell phones...or had jobs before computers...or entertainment before the internet...

I suppose all those things labeled "call box" mounted in waterproof enclosures along highways for emergency purposes are there for artistic flair too.

I really worry about society when the EMP strike hits. You people are fucked.

Could and may have saved lives (1)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | about 6 months ago | (#46871871)

On the flip side of the coin, jamming cellphone signals would eliminate some texting and driving so presumably it could have also saved some lives.

Its not the cellphone use thats the problem (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46871915)

its the driving thats the problem.

So Until they get fully automated cars, the states should require that all cars and trucks have a 'crew' of 2.
I to drive
the other to navigate and communicate

The second person would not have to be a licensed driver, nor an adult (but there would be a minimum age)

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