A new survey says that 72 percent of British theatergoers want mobile phone signals to be blocked in theaters. Of course, like in the US, there's the small matter of such jamming being illegal in the UK, so new legislation would be required, but this opens up some questions: would the law codify times or places when it's okay to jam phones, or would it simply be a free-for-all? Either method seems pretty problematic: laws do a really lousy job of keeping up with changes in technology, or changes in attitudes towards it; allowing anybody to actively jam cell phone signals anywhere, at anytime just because they feel like it is pretty inherently a bad idea (though passive jamming, such as by using signal-unfriendly construction materials, on private property may be a little different). Like banning cell phone use while driving, blocking the signals in theaters merely eliminates one distraction, it doesn't solve the deeper problem of rude or inconsiderate people in the audience. Before phones were the big issue, people simply talking during performances was a problem, but there was no call for new laws banning it. There are probably better solutions than just jamming signals, such as forcing phones into silent mode, which make much more sense than getting the government involved to try to legislate people into having some manners.
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