FCC tells retailers to stop selling mobile phone jammers

Online retailers could face fines if they continue to market signal-jamming devices in the U.S.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has issued warnings to 20 online retailers selling illegal mobile phone jammers, GPS jammers, Wi-Fi jammers and other signal jamming devices, the agency said Wednesday.

The sale and use of devices that jam the signals of authorized radio communications are illegal in the U.S., the FCC said in its enforcement action. The agency will "vigorously" prosecute violations going forward, it said in a press release.

"Our actions should send a strong message to retailers of signal jamming devices that we will not tolerate continued violations of federal law," Michele Ellison, chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau, said in a statement. "Jamming devices pose significant risks to public safety and can have unintended and sometimes dangerous consequences for consumers and first responders."

Jammers, sometimes used in classrooms, theaters and churches, are prohibited because they can prevent individuals from contacting police and fire departments or family members during an emergency, the FCC said. "Use of jamming devices can place you or other people in danger," the agency said.

The 20 retailers were marketing more than 200 jamming devices, the FCC said. Among the jammers being sold were GPS blockers for vehicles, high-tech signal blockers with remote control capabilities and jammers disguised as paintings and cigarette packs, the agency said.

The FCC ordered each online retailer to immediately stop marketing signal-jamming devices in the U.S. If a retailer gets a second citation from the FCC, it could face fines ranging from US$16,000 to $112,500, with a separate penalty possible for each device sold or each day a device is marketed, the agency said. Additional violations could result in the seizure of equipment and prison time, the FCC said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags telecommunicationGPSregulationsmartphonesU.S. Federal Communications CommissionHandhelds / PDAsgovernmentmobile3gconsumer electronics4gMichele Ellison

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?