'You Got Jammed!'

People are snapping up devices to silence annoying chatterers. So what if they're illegal?
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2007 2:58 PM CST

(Newser) – Ever find yourself cut off mid-conversation, on a bus or train, by a lost signal? Could be the work of the guy sitting next to you, the New York Times reports. An increasing number of people are snapping up pocket-sized jammers, which emit signals strong enough to knock out cell phone communication within, say, 30 feet. They're illegal in the US, but restaurant and shop owners admit to using them, too.

Costing as much as several hundred dollars, jammers are wielded by vigilantes and pranksters alike. “Just knowing I have the power to cut somebody off is satisfaction enough,” one user bragged. “If anything characterizes the 21st century," an analyst notes of talkers and jammers alike, "it’s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people.”