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In the next few years, when you see officers holding radar guns, they may be checking more than just your speed.

A Virginia-based company claims it has developed a radar gun that picks up radio signals from mobile device text messages. In a boon for places like the Old Dominion, where talking on the phone is legal but texting is not, the company claims its device can distinguish between texting and calling. Some observers have already raised concerns that the technology could be developed into a way of reading text messages.

ComSonics claims that the device should be ready for production within a few months.

Thus far, California's cell phone laws are essentially a patchwork. The legislature's goal may be to introduce a total ban on the devices in stages, to minimize resistance and help ensure compliance. It's like reducing the speed limit. If the sign says "65 MPH" on Monday and "45 MPH" on Tuesday, there would be a storm of protest. But if the speed limit drops from 65 to 55 to 45 over a period of a few months, drivers would become accustomed to the change and it's hard to raise people's ire over a five or ten mph decrease.

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