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Mexican churches jam mobile phone signals at Mass

Four Catholic churches in Monterrey, Mexico, are jamming mobile phone signals with with Israeli-made transmitters designed to protect embassies and presidential motorcades from bugs and bombs detonated by phone.

"These devices have solved a very big problem for us," said Gloria Cardenas Aguero, secretary at the Rosario church. "This time in church belongs to God, and you should respect it."

Hattiesburg American reports that the problem of mobile phone noise is especially acute in Mexico because so many churches are old, with stone sanctuaries that amplify sounds. Nearly two-thirds of phone users in Mexico use mobile phones.

Jamming cell phones is illegal in Mexico, but Mexico's Federal Telecommunications Commission has decided to turn a blind eye on what the churches are doing.

The $A2141 jammers are boxes about the size of walkie-talkies. As churchgoers walk into the sanctuary, the devices overwhelm the phones with electronic noise. Incoming calls don't ring, and calls are bounced to voice mail.

Churches' new calling: Jam cell phones ( 21/9/04)/a>

Irish Archbishop seeks weekly mobile phone switch-off (CathNews 9/6/04)
NZ schools worried about "text bullying" (CathNews 1/7/04)
Pope expands evangelisation by mobile phone (CathNews 23/7/03)

22 Sep 2004