Cell Phone Vigilante Jams Calls on Philly Buses

He says he's proud of it, but experts say it's not safe
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2012 1:40 PM CST
Buses sit at SEPTA's (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) Frankford Transportation Center in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Riders of Philadelphia's No. 44 bus have been complaining a lot lately of lost cell phone calls, and NBC 10 found out why: A man, whom they identify only as "Eric," is jamming them. Reporters tracked Eric down after an NBC employee saw him using a handheld jamming device on the bus. "I guess I'm taking the law into my own hands, and quite frankly, I'm proud of it," he told them. "A lot of people are extremely loud, no sense of just privacy or anything."

Of course, such handheld devices are illegal, and with good reason, experts say: They can block not only cellphones, but radios, GPS devices, and emergency frequencies as well. "You have the potential to cause a public safety disaster," says one expert in electronic crime. But illegal or no, these jammers are catching on; Forbes reports that they're especially common in New York and Washington, DC. "They’re the best thing ever," says one New York commuter and jammer, who says he feels "no guilt, just personal high-fives." (Read more cell phones stories.)

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