Most Read Contributor in Hong Kong, September 2016
By David Ellis (partner) and Stephen Bureaux
Originally published in April 2002
On 10 April 2002, in response to a LEGCO question, the Secretary
for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau,
outlined the Telecommunications Authority's ("TA")
position on devices which block mobile communications. The use of
such jamming devices is currently illegal in Hong Kong.
Devices which seek to block mobile phone communications,
commonly known as "mobile phone jamming devices" are
radiocommunications equipment within the meaning of section 8(b) of
the Telecommunications Ordinance, and accordingly the possession or
use of such devices is subject to licensing control. The TA has not
yet licensed the use of such devices in Hong Kong so the use of
such jamming devices is currently illegal.
These devices may be beneficial in preventing some of the
adverse effects of mobile phone use in areas such as theatres
during performances, or to prevent the use of mobile telephones for
illegal off-course bookmaking. However the TA considers that the
following issues need to be considered before determining whether
to license the use of mobile phone jamming devices:
Although mobile phone jamming devices are intended to prevent
signals within a localised area, their effect may spill over into
adjacent areas and cause unacceptable interference to normal mobile
phone communications outside the intended area.
Mobile phone jamming devices will prevent emergency calls from
mobile phones within their effective area.
It is questionable as to whether the community at large will
accept that suppression of mobile phone communications should be
allowed at all.
There are alternative ways of dealing with many of the adverse
effects of mobile phone use, such as the use of vibration or silent
modes at sensitive times.
The TA has noted that this subject has been considered with
public consultation in countries such as Canada, but no decision
has yet been made. The TA intends to conduct its own public
consultation later this year to solicit the views of the public and
industry before deciding a suitable course of action.
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