Theater owners walk shaky legal line with mobile-blocking plan

03/16/2006 | Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The

Movie theater owners have indicated they will ask the FCC for permission to jam mobile phone signals inside theaters, a controversial and possibly illegal approach that raises some thorny issues. Perhaps most salient are the negative implications for emergency services, which would be disabled if wireless signals were cut off from the outside. CTIA-The Wireless Association emphasizes this point, arguing that public safety concerns should trump the desire to silence phones during movies. "Blocking technology is illegal for many reasons, the most important of which is public safety," CTIA spokesman John Walls said. "I don't think anyone's in the position to play gatekeeper."

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