Sunday, December 18, 2005

Theater owners want cell phones blocked

The UPI reports:
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The National Association of Theater Owners wants the Federal Communications Commission to allow the blocking of cell phone signals in theaters.
John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners "have to block rude behavior" as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.
Fithian said his group would petition the FCC for permission to block cell phone signals within movie theaters.
Some theaters already have no cell phone policies and ask moviegoers to check their phones at the door, Fithian said.
The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association -- a Washington-based cell phone lobby that is also known as CTIA-the Wireless Association -- said it would fight any move to block cell phone signals.
"We're opposed to the use of any blocking technology, because it interferes with people's ability to use a wireless device in an emergency situation," CTIA spokesman Joseph Farren told the Times.

As a physician who does a combination of private practice, clinical research, and state hospital hospital work, I am on 24 hour/7 day a week call. This is very light call, and on most days I am not called at all. However, I need to be available pretty much all of the time. A policy such as the one the National Association of Theatre Owners proposes would make it more difficult for a physician in my position to lead a normal life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could you possibly use a silent pager???

Michael Rack, MD said...

anonymous, I guess I could switch from using a cell phone to using a pager, or use both.
Right now, I primarily use a cell phone. I also have a pager for the state hospital.
In the last several years as the use of cell phones has increased, a lot of doctors have stopped using pagers.

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Anonymous said...

The Dec. 24 Wall Street Journal also mentioned this, but with some additional info regarding emergency calls. This is from the story:

Here's how it might work: Anyone calling a person sitting in a movie theater would hear a recorded greeting explaining that the call recipient was in the theater and unavailable. The recording would offer the option of leaving a message or pushing a key signaling the call is an emergency. Blocking services aren't allowed because of the emergency-access issue, but theater owners hope the emergency-bypass option might persuade regulators to give the go-ahead.

Michael Rack, MD said...

With an emergency-bypass option, blocking seems reasonable. Thanks for the update, anonymous