back to article Brits favour ASBOs for unruly mobile users

Asbos are usually reserved for rowdy town-centre teens, but one in ten Brits think the anti-social behaviour orders should be handed out inconsiderate mobile phone users. Price comparison website questioned 2000 UK adults about what they hate most about mobile phone usage. While the number one abhorrence …


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  1. The Cube

    Playing music on the handset

    There is a very simple cure for this problem, simply require that this 'feature' is not available on phones in the UK market where they are given approval for sale (various regulations apply regarding RF devices). Very shortly all the chavs will have upgraded to their new fashion chav-fones with added bling and the menace will largely be over. Of course a few will manage to unlock the 'feature' but,

    a) this will void approval meaning the handset will no longer be licensed for use in the UK and the plod can simply take it off them for violating radio transmission laws

    b) the typical offender has an IQ in single digits and would have to pay somebody with a working brain to do it for them.

  2. eddiewrenn
    Thumb Down

    Asbo harsh?

    "harsh penalties such as Asbos."

    Haha first time I've laughed at EL Reg and not with El Reg.

    I sit in court as a reporter all day and the response I get back is that they're a waste of time.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This country is full of intollerent wankers. Seriously world isn't going to end coz someone is making a phone call. Screaming babies annoy me a million times more. On more then one occasion I've been half way too or from work and had to take a call about one thing or another.

    I mean, damn, get a life. Buy some headphones. Have a joke with a mate about the loud person on the phone. Stare out the window and think of a beach. Read a book. Write something. The world is full of background noise - learn to deal with it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    All day?

    "Handing out an Asbo for swearing into your mobile at the company which didn’t deliver the package you waited at home all day for may be a bit severe,"

    All day? try three days, and now arguing about the pickup of the faulty unit (No, I won't take another day off of work)... Thank you ebuyer, and an especial thank you goes to ShittyLink.

    As a courier company you are fail.


    Paris - 'cos she can come on time.

  5. Secretgeek
    Dead Vulture

    @ The Cube

    I'm with you on this one. The ability to blast crappy music increasingly loudly out of a crappy little speaker has to be one of the least helpful functions ever invented. Thanks a bunch mobile phone makers, remind me to pop round your house and pipe '10 bob's toons' directly into your every waking moment you bunch of bastards.


  6. shaun

    Rudeness Police?

    seriously? What's next? Bad Breath ASBO's? Smelly Feet ASBO's? Why doesn't the goverment try to do what its supposed to be doing properly (hahahaha) instead of listening to people who should live in Iran if they want the government to have that much control.

  7. Adam Foxton


    I'm guessing you're just meaning through speakerphone? Having spent a small fortune on bloody good earbuds that I can play at above - comfortable levels without it annoying anyone 'cept the person next to me (and normally using fairly sparsely packed busses due to working hours so there never is anyone next to me) I'd hate to have to carry another gadget.

    Which brings up another problem. The little twunts would just play music loudly through an MP3 player and crap speakers.

    How about stopping them playing using speakerphone, and legislating about the quality of headphones (to remove the crap, more-noise-to-those-surrounding-than-the-listener sets people seem to get bundled with phones)? Or just give bus drivers the right to chuck people off the bus if they're being disruptive?

  8. Martin

    Yes, ASBO harsh.... least for shouting down a phone! Given that you can be sent to prison if you breach an ASBO...

    Whether they are a waste of time in general terms is an argument which is probably outside the scope of this article. But that won't stop people from having it in any case...

  9. JakeyC

    re: Playing music on the handset

    I just don't understand why people do this! I see it on the street, on buses, everywhere.

    The stupid little gobshites actually go to the trouble of *holding* the phone whilst the tinniest rendition of "smack my ho' up and stab ma homie" tries to squeeze out of the inadequate mono speaker.


    Why would anyone do it? It's like our portable audio technology has regressed and we'll soon see people carting valve-based receivers around in a rucksack, or gramophones on our shoulders.

    I'm going to get an MP3 speakerphone and next time a pack of these IQ-deficient freaks decide we should all listen to their hippity-hop, I'll see how they react to me joining them with a Max Reger organ prelude at the back of the bus.

    I'm going to get stabbed. Wish me luck.

  10. Steven Raith

    How to stop people playing music through their phone

    Take phone from hand, bend offender over, insert into anal cavity.

    The above survey should be taken about as seriously as this survey.

    Steven R

  11. Mark Rendle


    It's just sad that we live in a society where a total lack of consideration for others is so common that this survey exists.

    South West Trains have "quiet carriages", where the obsolete "no smoking" stickers have been replaced with "no mobiles phones, radios, or headphones" stickers. A couple of weeks ago I was observing the spirit, rather than the letter, of this rule, watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off on my iPod Touch at a reasonable volume with headphones that are specifically designed not to be audible to those nearby. I know for a fact I wasn't disturbing anybody. The bloke opposite me - possibly to *make a point* - gets his mobile phone out and loudly books a taxi for the following morning to take him to the airport, disturbing everybody in the carriage. I pointed to the sticker. He gloatingly pointed at my iPod and the sticker and made a face that needed punching.

    Never mind ASBOs, twats like this should be rounded up and put in camps.

  12. Spleen

    Society is dead, long live government

    In a time long past, unacceptable behaviour in public would be dealt with by an escalating combination of frowns, polite or impolite requests to desist, and finally either being thrown out of the building/off the bus or, if you were already on the street, a visit from the nearest copper.

    Of course, nowadays people do anything to avoid confrontation. No, the defence "but they're all carrying knives nowadays" doesn't cut it, knives have been universally available since the Stone Age so the question is why we're afraid of them now. It's because a) when no-one knows anyone, everyone thinks "it's none of my business, someone else should do something" b) the police are more likely to arrest law-abiding citizens than back them up and c) the police won't confront real criminals with anything less than a twenty-strong squad armed with automatic weapons with air support and a fully armed tactical nuke standing by. The result of which is that whenever there's a social problem, like some yob swearing into a phone, the question that everyone asks is not "what should I do?" but "what should the government do?"

    We let government replace society and while the shock of globalisation is partly to blame, it's mainly outright cowardice. To a large extent we get what we deserve.

  13. bobbles31

    Boom box

    Maybe we should all (assuming we're all in a similar age bracket) go into our lofts and dig out our old boom boxes and show them how annoying commuters is done properly!!!

    Mines the Reebok trackie top!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Couldn't agree more. On the other hand I'm not prepared to get stabbed in the face to enforce my principles. Got to say I was extremely impressed with the guy I saw on the top deck of the 94 bus in Shepherd's Bush recently who grabbed an annoying chav's phone and chucked it out of the top deck window; chavvy boy was torn between his instincts to get the stanley knife out and jump off the bus to retrieve his phone. Fortunately the latter won.

  15. Ruana

    'Music' on buses

    "...late-night metropolitan buses..."

    I wish, I wish, I wish I had to put up with that crap only on the rare occasions when I'm headed home late! I quite possibly still wouldn't own an mp3 player if it weren't for the persistent blighting of my bus journeys - at any hours - with the tinny blarings of selfish idiots' 'music' from the back.

    Shrieking babies are annoying, but sometimes parents need to travel and we all know there's no 'Mute' button. Far more irritating is the behaviour of mobile users who don't care that the bus is not their front room, and their fellow passengers possibly don't wish to be subjected to their taste in music or to one end of a loud, lengthy and often expletive-strewn conversation.

    Intolerant towards those who don't show basic consideration for others? Count me in!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only two alternatives here

    1. Cull oiks at birth - easy to spot, as they have the fake guilded umbilicals. 2. Have a boffin invent a device which phubars all phones within 50m and let's have us some phun phun phun.

  17. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Spleen

    I'm mostly in agreement too. There has been a shift, certainly. I have a strong inclination to tell people to stop twatting about (well, obviously) but feel at a serious disadvantage being but a slip of a girl. If the men in your life find out that you, as they see it, aspire to be some kind of have-a-go heroine they are furious. Whether that's sexist or sensible, I really can't tell.

  18. Delboy

    Not enforceable

    How the hell would an ASBO or 12 month ban be enforced. The only answer, as I've always maintained, is to bring back the death penalty for owning a mobile.

  19. Alan
    Thumb Down

    Daily Mail

    I always felt that was an extension of the Daily Mail, this survey proves it.

    There are many more annoying things than tinny mobile phone music.

    1) Old gimmers who stop at the top / bottom of escalators to get their bearings, causing a major pile up behind them

    2) Other (or maybe the same) old gimmers who wait to be told the price of their shopping before looking for their purse, paying in pennies, THEN they pack their shopping bags

    3) Even more (or maybe there is just just a few really annoying) old gimmers who ask you to reach for stuff off shelves in the supermarket, either they should take a step stool with them to the supermarket or the stores just be forced to put old person food on the bottom shelf.

    btw these people are The Daily Mail target market

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    An ASBO for stupid surveys...

    ...and the people who take part in them.

    After all, stirring up hatred is generally viewed as an anti-social activity (and in extreme forms is a criminal offence). If fewer daft surveys invited folks to dream about a world where everyone you don't like the look of was carted off to jail then perhaps we'd live in kinder gentler society.

  21. Alan

    @ Alan

    So you will never be an "old gimmer" then? When you reach the age when you can't reach things off the upper shelves, I sincerely hope you ask someone like your present self to get it for you!

    Signed, (a more understanding) Alan

    Thoughtless irks blasting tinny music at everyone from their mobile phones should be thrown on to the fast lane of the motorway, at the busiest time, followed by their crappy mobile phone.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What nonsense! I'm not going to start counting my change on the escalator just because you are an impatient child. I'll stop at the top and you WILL be polite about it!

    And I don't eat the crap they put on the top shelf. I just like to watch the young chicky-boos stretching for it. Sometimes I even give them a hand (yes I'm a 'nice harmless' old gentleman).

    That old lady who asked you for help - did she have a little smile on her face when you finished - maybe she went so far as to put her hand on your butt and give you a little push?

    The innocence of children sometimes astounds me.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We seem to be discussing two distinct issues here.

    First, we have our precious little Duaines and Chanelles who haven't been brought up to understand that there is no prize for normal behaviour other than the entitlement to live in peace and harmony with society - and that the converse is also true.

    It is not helped by the twee, mealy-mouthed posters that appear on London transport, featuring a few Bod or Mr. Men type figures saying 'I won't play my music loud', 'I won't put my feet on seats', etc. and an older-looking one saying 'And I'll remember what it was like to be 14'. If the end figure was bigger, had hairy biceps and was saying 'And I won't have to break your neck', then they might not have been missing the point entirely.

    The second, and far more insidious, problem, is the grown-ups (and I use that term loosely) who haven't been brought up to understand basic courtesy and consideration for other human beings. These are not adult Duaines and Chanelles; these people wear suits and have office jobs.

    The fact that anti-social use of mobile phones has become the issue in focus is kind of incidental, due to the fact that having only one side of somebody else's conversation imposed on you is annoying in its own right, whether the perpetrator is on a mobile phone in the street, a landline in the office, or has escaped from the local nuthouse and is chatting away to his imaginary friend. It's just the latest and most visible example of general selfish behaviour - the same as picking one's nose and eating it on Tube trains, pissing all over the floor of the office toilet and not bothering to clear it up because it's someone else's job (not like at home, although one does wonder with some people), and imagining that 'please allow passengers off the train first' only applies to some other, lower caste of traveller. (Incidentally, may I curse the Government at this point for inveigling me into their 5 a day propaganda; it had one totally unforeseen consequence, to wit, having lost 4 stones in weight, I am now far less able to contribute to the education of this latter group of people on a nightly basis with my right shoulder.)

    Let the kids be kids, and if they see fewer so-called respectable grown-ups behaving like jerks on a daily basis and getting away with it, they're more likely to grow up with a sense of respect themselves.

    Are the middle-middle classes fit to govern? Only if they are fit to lead. The Parent Teachers' Association, I mean the Brown government, might like to ask themselves that question. They may yet arrive at the answer that the greatest leaders are those who respect and encourage those it considers underneath them to make their own decisions, and to be mature enough to take responsibility for the consequences. It's called 'being an adult'. For example, if I overfill my wheelie bin, the binmen won't empty it. I don't need a stinking ASBO; I will already have a stinking bin. But don't ask me what made me think of that as an example.

    @Anonymous Coward: You're an idiot. There's so many of you, though. I have passed the age (12) where I know I'll never be able to wipe all of you out, nor (21) turn you round to my superior way of thinking, nor (39) even to cheerfully live and let live in harmony with you all in this free world. I have now reached the stage of working out how I can make money out of you. So please don't go away.

    @Spleen: I would have loved to have been there. Though my first instinct would have probably been to whip my own phone out and film the whole thing for YouTube. Which in many ways makes me no better than the kid who started it.

    @Steven Raith: I thoroughly agree. Though sales of E61's would plummet.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me being an American...

    ...that makes me completely gobsmacked at the very *idea* of an ASBO? "If we can't convict you of a crime, we'll just give you arbitrary, non-appealable rules to live by, and if you don't we'll send you to prison." Is personal freedom so long gone in Britain that the idea of this passes by without a batted eyelash?

  25. Andy Worth


    So the sign on the window says

    "no mobiles phones, radios, or headphones"

    And you sit there with your iPod and a set of headphones, which regardless of having a lower noise pollution level than normal headphones still contravene the sign above your head, then point out said sign to someone opposite you when they have the cheek to use their mobile?

    Sorry, but you sound like a twat to me. If you want to listen to your iPod, go sit in a non-quiet carriage and stop holding others to rules that you don't even follow yourself.

  26. Dr Patrick J R Harkin


    "bring back the death penalty for owning a mobile."

    I thought we still had it - it just takes a while for the tumours to grow, that's all...

    Joke icon because it says "Dr" in my signature and you just know some tinfoil-hat wearer will quote my post otherwise with the comment "Doctors know phones give you brian (sic) cancer"

  27. Steve Ball



  28. Arthur Coppock

    @ David Wiernicki

    "Is it just me being an American... that makes me completely gobsmacked at the very *idea* of an ASBO? "If we can't convict you of a crime, we'll just give you arbitrary, non-appealable rules to live by, and if you don't we'll send you to prison."

    David, see

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