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Mobile phone rays paralyse cars

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Nissan has warned its customers not to let their keyless-entry devices touch cellphones, according to reports.

The company has found that RF emissions during an incoming or outgoing call can wipe the memory of the electronic "I-keys" supplied with two of its flagship models.

"We discovered that if the I-Key touches a cellphone...calls have the potential to alter the electronic code inside the I-Key," a Nissan spokesman told Reuters yesterday. The car manufacturer has asked customers to keep their phones at least an inch away from their car keys.

Failure to follow the advice could leave drivers unable to start or unlock their cars. Once the key is scrambled, "the car won't start and the I-Key cannot be reprogrammed", according to Nissan.

The technical glitch could have a wider impact than ire among a limited number of motorists. The radio-waves-melt-childrens-heads tendency will no doubt seize upon it with glee; and of course any proper tinfoil-clad conspiracy connoisseur will view this news as downright sinister.

After all, it's already known that the (doubtless alien-controlled) spooks can use your mobile phone to destroy your car with a robot-launched assassination missile (no, really, apart from the aliens: details low down on this page). But now they might conceivably have subtler methods at their disposal.

The models in question are the 2007 Altima and Infiniti G35, widely sold in North America. Owners are being notified of the problem by email, and will be able to get fresh I-keys from dealers in the event of a problem. A new pattern of keyless-entry device will be available later in the year.

More from Reuters here. ®

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