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More mobile madness: fines, lashes or jail

Now everyone wants us to stop using them

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There was a time when everyone in the world was telling you to get a mobile phone - and so, being the sheep we all are, everyone did. Inevitably, there was a backlash. But now, it's turned serious.

Low-level abuse

At Nottingham Trent University, if a librarian or other member of staff hears your phone going off in the main library, you will subject to a £10 fine. Do it again, and you're looking at £100. It's bad enough people yabbering on when you're in a library but when it comes to brain-bubbling, mind-twistingly awful ring tones, there should be no escape.

You'd think that a request for £100 would be greeted with a one-digit and two-word response but Daddy invariably picks up the tab, so that's not the problem. The real problem is the librarians. They're never there - not when you want to ask for help, anyway - so, how will anyone be fined? On the flip side, nothing gives them greater pleasure than ruining a student's day, so which side will be ultimately win should prove interesting viewing.

[Note from Ed. - I was watching the film Traffic at the UGC cinema, Staples Corner, London last week and some wanker's phone went off four times. He was probably making a drug deal.]

Medium-sized abuse

Well, it depends how abusive you view using a mobile on a plane is. A phone is suspected in the case of one plane crash and another emergency landing, so it may be wiser to wait till you get to the airport. However, Saudi Arabia is to be applauded for its stance on this problem.

A court in Saudi decided that an army officer had put himself and passengers at risk by using his phone during take-off. He ignored requests from the flying crew to turn it off and was eventually escorted off the plane by security staff. Subsequently, he has been given 70 lashes as a suitable punishment. That'll learn him.

Heavy-duty abuse

An Irish politician, Jim Glennon, has called for the police and phone companies to stamp out rude and offensive text messages. There's been a recent spate of intimidating text message cases brought up in court. Well, used as part of a larger case and given as an example of people's threatening behaviour.

However, Jim, is really het up about it and wants to invoke Irish law (the Irish Wireless and Telegraphy Act 1983, apparently). That way, these evil scum can be banged away because they sent a nasty message to someone over a phone.

We fear this may be going a little over the top. How about just having a industry-wide abuse centre which accepts complaints and then acts accordingly? Mind you, we feel a bit Jack Straw today, so we give Jim our full and unwarranted backing.

The best solution?
Don't let people have the handsets in the first place. Everyone should take a leaf out of NTT DoCoMo's book and simply refuse to hand phones out. It has come up with the plausible, although ridiculous, excuse that it has software problems with 103,000 handsets and so has had to recall them.

Good of NTT to put its reputation on the line for sake of saving 100,000 people's souls but that's what we've come to expect from the company. Its previous solution of getting the phone to crash whenever people tried to answer a call did not find much backing from customers. ®

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