Cinemas seek permission to jam cellphones

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Movie theater owners are considering asking federal authorities for permission to jam cellphone reception in an attempt to stop annoying conversations during films, a Reuters report said. The report, quoting the head of the industry’s trade group, said theater owners wanted to find ways to win back crowds.

“I don’t know what’s going on with consumers that they have to talk on phones in the middle of theaters,” John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, was quoted as saying.

The report said theaters were trying a number of ways to silence mobile phones, from sweeps by ushers to funny fake movie trailers urging viewers to shut their phones off. Fithian said theater owners were considering other steps should those schemes fail, the report said.

“We will actually petition the FCC to remove the block on jamming cellphones,” he said in the report.

However, this could be difficult since federal law and FCC rules prohibited the use of cellphone jammers, the report said.