October 13, 2004 7:04 AM PDT

France fries cell phones

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French mobile users who refuse to switch off their phones while watching a movie or play will face new obstacles as venues begin installing signal-jamming equipment in line with new laws.

The right to block phone signals within such buildings is now effect in France. Installing such equipment will reportedly to cost about $7,300 (6,000 euros) per instance but appears set to win priceless levels of customer satisfaction, with surveys showing overwhelming support in France for the measures that address rudeness.

Mobile phones users blocked under the new French measure will still be able to make outgoing calls to emergency services numbers in case somebody becomes ill, for example, during a performance--a feature that is a requirement of any such implementation.

Similarly, phone users will be able to step into a hallway to make an urgent call or check messages as the block is strictly limited to the perimeter of the performance area.

Kevin Spacey, a Hollywood actor and now artistic director at London's Old Vic theater, recently criticized British audiences for failing to switch off their phones during performances.

"You have to respect the fact there is some degree of behavior that we expect in the theater, and we're going to demand it at the Old Vic," Spacey told BBC Radio 4 last month. "It's a phone-free zone. We don't want them ringing, and we certainly don't want them ringing and people ignoring them, pretending that it's not theirs."

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.

3 comments

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It's about time
I've always wanted a company to do this. Talking on a cell phone during a movie is inexcusable and, to be fair, on par with talking at all during a movie. Both actions generally get looks from me that could kill.

While they're at it, throw these on airplanes. Just last month, I was travelling and there happened to be a young woman who was intoxicated and refused to get off her phone. After much coersion, the young woman finally shut the thing down, but she wasn't happy about it. And guess what? The second the first wheel hit the ground, she was back on it.

Why is "human connectivity" such a big deal? Personally, I relish moments of the day where I am removed from people. Furthermore, people on phones are terribly oblivious of their surroundings. You ever snuck up on someone on a cell phone? It isn't any fun because it's too damn easy.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
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Means to mute phones.
They really need to create a method to force a phone into silent mode. There are occasions when someone will have an emergency phone call coming in, and they need to be notified. You can use some of the same methods they have to block calls with the devised system to send a snigle SMS message with the phone number of the caller. This will let them know they had a call and to go to the lobby and call the person back if it might be important.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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Just plain right
It's saddly that this has to be done but what to expect when there are too many people out there that ain't got any manners when they came to places where you ought to be silent.

Just hope this will be common in every public place where silence is wanted and it's not obeyed today.
Posted by OLIRC (4 comments )
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