Portable phones are wonderful things, but not, it is widely agreed, wholly wonderful.
Have you ever been at something like a church service or a classical music concert, and found your attention diverted by portable phones ringing?
Help is at hand.
MONTERREY, Mexico – It was the reporters who noticed first. Unable to call their editors while covering the weddings of the rich and famous, they asked the priest why their cell phones never worked at Sacred Heart. His reply: Israeli counterintelligence.
In four Monterrey churches, Israeli-made cell phone jammers the size of paperbacks have been tucked unobtrusively among paintings of the Madonna and statues of the saints.
The jarring polychromatic din of ringing cell phones is increasingly being thwarted – from religious sanctuaries to India’s parliament to Tokyo theaters and commuter trains – by devices originally developed to help security forces avert eavesdropping and thwart phone-triggered bombings.
Jamming other people’s portable phones is one of many practices where you need strong property rights in place to enable disputes about the rights and wrongs of it to be easily decided. But even in an age of weakened property rights, this device will surely prove to be a great boon in protecting the rest of us from compulsive communicators and their irritating noises.
Human problems are hard to fix. So instead, fix the machines they are using to cause the problem.