Mobile signal Jammers legislation in Pakistan and Health hazards

A Mobile Jammer Circuit or a Cell Phone Jammer Circuit is an instrument or device that can prevent the reception of signals by Mobile Phones. Basically, a Mobile Jammer Circuit is an RF Transmitter, which broadcasts Radio Signals in the same (or similar) frequency range of the GSM Communication. Mobile jammers are devices which are used to block mobile phone signals in public places such as offices, places of worship and conference rooms, by emitting a series of EM pulses and distracting communication systems. Mobile jammers can successfully disable mobile phones within the defined regulated zones without causing any interference to other communication means.

In Pakistan, The PTA is responsible for enforcing the Pakistan Telecom (Re-Organisation) Act 1996 that regulates the use of jammers. PTA through its policy directive dated August 21, 2013, has made the use and installation of any kind of cellular jammer or disabling device illegal without first securing a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) of the Ministry of Information Technology, and that ubiquitous NOC is granted ‘very rarely’ as the IMC does not permit the use of jamming devices unless “absolutely necessary, in the context of national security”. Article 54[1] of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 dealt with the security of state and under that emblem, the Federal Government may authorize any person or persons to intercept calls and messages or to trace calls through any telecommunication system. Article 8 of the Act also give the federal government the authority to issue policy directive related to the terms of the licensee, qualifications and conditions of the license. The Supreme Court has defined the distinction between both of these sections in its Judgment.[2]

The mobile jammers are illegal in most countries due to security issues. However, there are also a number of health hazards related to it as most Electromagnetic radiation in the radiofrequency range emitted from mobile phone jammers may lead to decreased motility and increased DNA fragmentation in human semen. It can be concluded that mobile phone jamming might exert adverse reproductive health effects.[3] Exposure to mobile jammer radiation for durations as low as 1 hour adversely affects human hearing. Considering the health effects of mobile jammers, stricter regulations are needed for limiting the application of these devices.[4] We didn’t have enough information on the effect of signal jammers on people’s health and there were no indications whether the strong signals used for blocking illegal satellite TV broadcasts could cause cancer. However, according to Dr Reza Malekzadeh, deputy health minister of Research and Technology at the health ministry of Iran the preliminary studies have indicated that the signals do have some side effects on health, and can increase the risk of developing different types of cancer.[5]

A new United Nations resolution warning member states about their responsibility to protect the health of their citizens against electromagnetic waves, including satellite jamming signals, was approved at the UN’s Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Plenipotentiary Conference which took place between October 20 and November 7, 2014, in Busan, South Korea (Resolution 176, pg. 277). Human Exposure to and Measurement of Electromagnetic Fields Resolution is significant because it directly confronts the dangers of satellite jamming.. Jamming signals are transmitted via a variety of means, and are designed to block or interrupt local receptors’ reception of international satellite broadcast signals. In this manner, state officials are able to prevent the Iranian citizenry from accessing broadcast content that is not state-approved. There are serious and well-established fears that the radiation resulting from such satellite jamming signals is endangering the health of citizens, possibly even causing cancer.[6]

According to Dr. Hassan Nayeb Hashem, a physician and human rights activist. “The possibility of physical harm, and particularly cancer, as a result of the use of high power electromagnetic frequency, such as the kind used for creating satellite jamming—especially where there is a short distance between the source and the human body—is quite real. This is why doctors and human rights defenders strongly recommend that all countries pay attention to the standards set by the World Health Organization,”.

[1] Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996

[2] 2020  PLD  551     SUPREME-COURT





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