France Says “Oui” to Mobile Phone Jammers

As campaigns to encourage patrons to switch their phones to silent, or turn them off altogether have failed, French Industry Minister, Patrick Devedjian has approved a decision made by the country’s Telecommunications Regulation Authority to allow public performance spaces to use mobile phone jamming devices.

The devices will be installed in cinemas, theatres and concert halls to prevent calls from reaching the audience. Understandably, there is a proviso that emergency calls will be allowed through without interference.

The move is the result of years of disruption caused by people forgetting to switch their mobiles off in cinemas and theatres, or even just leaving them on and taking calls and was first suggested back in 2001. The Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications has drawn up technical standards for the jammers’ safe deployment.

Mobile jammers had previously been illegal in France, with culprits fancying a bit of quiet facing six months in prison or a €30,000 (UK£26,640) fine. Though mobile phone jammers are currently illegal in the UK, a small number of hotels in the UK have been accused of employing the devices to force residents to use the hotel’s (expensive) telephone services.

The Telegraph reports the news

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?