The FCC on Wednesday issued a total of nearly $35 million in fines to a Florida man and a Chinese retailer as part of an effort to deter the illegal sale and use of signal jammers.
According to the FCC, signal jammers are “radio frequency transmitters that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with wireless communications, such as cellphone calls, GPS systems, Wi-Fi networks, and first-responder communications.” It is currently illegal to market, sell, import or use a signal jammer in the United States.
The FCC said a fine of $34.9 million was levied against Chinese electronics manufacturer and retailer C.T.S. Technology for marketing and selling signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers. The FCC said C.T.S. marketed and sold the devices to U.S. consumers through its website and third party platforms in 2014, even falsely claiming some devices were approved by the FCC. Though the FCC said C.T.S. did not respond to its initial fine notification, the commission said the company appears to have brought its marketing efforts into compliance with U.S. Law.
The commission also fined Florida driver Jason R. Humphreys a total of $48,000 for his use of a cell phone jamming device in his car during his daily commute to and from Tampa along Interstate 4. Humphreys’ use of the device not only caused interference to cellular service along his route, but also disrupted police communications, the FCC said.
Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said the latter case “highlights the danger posed to public safety” by the use of signal jammers.
In addition to impeding on the rights of the public and authorized spectrum users, the FCC said signal jammers can block emergency communications between first responders, including law enforcement and medical personnel. The devices can also “endanger life and property” by interfering with the public’s ability to make 911 calls or disrupting critical aviation or marine communications.
Filed Under: Industry regulations