"Allowing the legal manufacture, importation and sale of jamming equipment will create a loophole that history shows the FCC will find impossible to close," Public Knowledge argues in a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee.
The bill would allow officials to petition the Federal Communications Commission to approve the installation of jamming technology in prisons. Doing so would end a 75-year ban on interfering with authorized radio communications in the U.S. -- which would "place commercial and public safety communications in this country at needless risk," Public Knowledge says.
Like many other questionable measures, the law is being proposed in the name of safety. And, while it's hard to disagree that cell phones in prisons pose at least some risk, jamming technology shouldn't necessarily be the solution.
"Only a uniform ban with no exceptions will prevent the widespread use of jammers over time," Public Knowledge argues.
The group might be overstating the case somewhat, but it's probably true that a legal market for companies that offer jamming technology will fuel growth. And it seems likely that prisons aren't the only places that would want to deploy such technology. Public Knowledge points specifically to hotels, which can't charge exorbitant rates to guests who use their own cell phones.