FCC Targets Jamming Device Marketers

October 13, 2011

Last week the FCC Enforcement Bureau cited 20 on-line retailers of signal jamming devices in Omnibus Citation and Order DA 11-1661 for "marketing in the United States a total of 215 uniquely described models of cell, GPS and other signal jamming devices in violation of section 302(b) of the Communications Act3 and sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Commission's rules."

The Bureau emphasized that because signal jamming devices can affect all communications on the frequencies being jammed, their use in a public place (classroom, theater, church, restaurant, or other such locations) could block emergency calls to first responders or the family members of someone in distress.

Each retailer was directed to take immediate steps to cease marketing signal jamming devices. The Website links are listed in the Omnibus Citation and Order.

In spite of a potential fine of up to $112,500 per any single act, some sites are continuing to offer the devices. For example, on Oct.13 yapperzapper.com still shows their "mini cell phone jammer", which the Website says, "is ideal for meeting rooms, conference rooms, museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls, churches, temples, restaurants, classrooms, training centers, factories, banks, trains, buses etc…."

The Website claims that the device works in GSM, CDMA, DCS, PHS and 3G spectrum, blocking signals from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and others. I was able to click through links to a PayPal order page, although it appeared some of the Webpages were still in development. The price listed is $109.

"Our actions should send a strong message to retailers of signal jamming devices that we will not tolerate continued violations of federal law," said Enforcement Bureau Chief Michael Ellison. "Jamming devices pose significant risks to public safety and can have unintended and sometimes dangerous consequences for consumers and first responders."

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