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Jamming for Jesus

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Those readers who have ever sat in the quiet carriage of the Heathrow Express angrily eyeing the "please turn off your phone" sign while suits shout into their 3G handsets regardless will applaud the steps which four churches in Mexico have taken to ensure a respectful silence during mass.

Indeed, although it would seem to be a matter of common sense to depower your phone before entering the House of God, the authorities have been obliged to deploy Israeli jamming kit to enforce the Holy hush.

Bulmaro Carranza, caretaker of the Monterrey's Sacred Heart church, told Reuters: "Before we had the system, it was very uncomfortable hearing calls coming in during the celebration of mass. But now it's 95 per cent quiet."

What constitutes the other five per cent of noise pollution is not noted, but we suspect that it is the faint "tsssk-tsssk-tsssk-tsssk" radiating from iPod headphones as the faithful enjoy the latest drum'n'bass downloads during a lull in the ecclesiastical action.

The jamming equipment - which consists of a couple of small boxes, one fixed behind the altar and one by the front door - is supplied by Tel Aviv-based Netline Communication Technologies. Anyone entering the building will find his mobe well and truly smitten, and displaying a "no signal" message.

Carranza reckons that the Sacred Heart was the first church in Mexico to employ cutting-edge phone jamming gear, and says that it has met with an enthusiastic response from other places of worship keen to strike warbling mobes dumb. ®

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