Privacy and Control Issues: Cell Phone Jamming
I've been following the debate around cell phone jamming since I read Matt Richtel's Nov. 5 New York Times piece on the debate over cell phone jamming and this recent Slate piece about the controversy.
A cell phone jammer is an instrument used to prevent cell phones from receiving or transmitting signals to base stations. Basically, when this device is switched on, cell phones nearby become useless. Jammers are commonly used in places where a phone call would be disruptive because silence is expected (Think schools, libraries, or your next board meeting.).
The devices signal the frustration of some people with the technologies they are constantly surrounded by. People feel the need to be in charge in a technologically controlled world. Let's call this a social defense strategy. Instead of asking others to turn off the electronic device, they take action, employing the jamming device as weaponry. These devices and other "social defense technologies" signal that people are going to take more radical measures to gain control in public spaces.