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Canada Tackles Cell Phone Jamming Controversy

”The Canadian government is seeking public input on the possibility of licensing of wireless phone silencers, or “jammers,” with an eye toward eliminating the use of cell phones and other mobile devices in public places such as theaters, restaurants or libraries, Industry Canada has announced.

The agency’s decision drew a prompt rebuttal from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), which contends that phone silencers would jeopardize public safety and infringe upon the rights of Canadian citizens.

Presently, only public safety and law enforcement agencies have licenses for cell phone silencers, said David E. Warnes, senior adviser of spectrum policy for Industry Canada.

“We want to gather public views on the use of cell phone silencers to assist the agency in its decisions on whether and under what conditions license applications for these devices should be considered,” Warnes told Wireless NewsFactor.

Industry Canada said the public comment period, which opened on March 9th, will run through July 12th.

“We’ve seen public interest from Canadians who want to protect their private space,” said Warnes, but he indicated the sentiment is far from universal. “Some want unrestricted use of their cell phones, while the industry has said it will protect its rights.” ”

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