The lack of cellphone etiquette has been stimulating much discussion, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. No one ever enjoys having their movie ruined by ringing phones, having their business meeting interrupted by someone ‘taking a call’, or being forced to hear half of someone else’s loud conversation during dinner. A new survey concludes that wireless users are more rude than ever.
There have been several technical approaches to keep those with bad manners subdued:
* Several countries, including Australia, India, Japan, and France allow electronic jamming in limited situations. The FCC (USA) and CWTA (Canada) make electronic jamming of wireless phones illegal, primarily because there’s no way to accurately control the radius of the jamming. The fear is that a legitimate emergency call may not be able to be placed and that other devices that share
cellphone frequencies would also be blocked.
* Other solutions, such as a Bluetooth-based solution require cooperation with the device manufacturers.
* A Japanese researcher has developed wood paneling he claims can passively block cell phone signals.
But now we hear that government feels that may need to step in to solve the ‘problem’. There is a proposal in New York City to levy a $50 fine on anyone who dials up or fails to turn off the phone’s ringer during an indoor performance. Not that the cops in New York don’t have anything better to do than to issue tickets if a phone rings! (How exactly will this salvage that ruined moment in the movie? I guess you can feel more justified yelling “Hey, there’s a $50 fine for that noise!”… of course, the yelling might just annoy even more moviegoers.)
Is legislation and extreme countermeasures the only way that we can break through and convince people to be courteous?