November 19, 2007

The Verizon Wireless Feature That Might Get You Killed

Greetings. Sometimes you really have to wonder if anyone bothers to vet new cell phone features. Verizon has reached a new high (or low, depending on your point of view) by apparently requiring that all of their new cell phones emit a very loud warning tone -- audible yards away -- whenever 911 is dialed.

This fun feature can't be disabled, though a thumb over the earpiece holes might help muffle the telltale signal. It's just perfect for those dark and lonely nights when you think that you hear a prowler in your home. Pick up your Verizon cell phone, dial 911, and the loud tone in a quiet house might bring the intruder quickly into your presence, thereby verifying your concern! Now that's handy.

Verizon (always quick with explanations that often turn out to be wrong) initially claimed that the loud signal was required by FCC regulations. The FCC disagrees -- saying that the relevant rules merely require that the cell phones warn when 911 has been dialed -- they don't require the Verizon "make sure everyone in the surrounding area knows that you called 911" technique.

But take heart, even after your phone has revealed your location to an unwelcome visitor, all is not lost. You might still be able to use the phone as a weapon if you've got a good throwing arm. Those lithium-ion batteries can really smart if they hit just right.


Posted by Lauren at November 19, 2007 05:29 PM | Permalink
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