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SHARE Responds to FCC Notice of Apparent Liability for TxtStopper Cellphone Jammer

Last month I reported FCC Reconsiders 'TxtStopper' Jammer. The web site now carries a notice stating, “In accordance with a recent FCC warning issued February 9, 2011, the ACCIDENT AVOIDANCE/OCCUPANT SAFETY DEVICE known as TxTStopper no longer will be available for retail sale to U.S. retail consumers via this website.” The web page notes that the TxTStopper will be available on the web for sale to the global marketplace in 30 days.

Terrence Williams, representing S.H.A.R.E. Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. sent me a copy of the response to the TxTStopper Notice of Apparent Liability. In the response, he says, “To insure compliance per the division’s mandate, SHARE has amended its website to reflect the division’s position and awaits the exact language from the division for posting in support of the division’s outreach effort. SHARE also has legally and transactionally divested itself from ALL retail sales, marketing, leasing, import-export activities related to the device known as TxTStopper to U.S. retail customers who reside within any and all jurisdictions where such action is enforceable by the division.”

As I noted in the original article, the FCC granted the device an FCC certification. The device submitted for certification wasn't identified, however, as a cell phone jammer. SHARE argues that since the FCC granted the certification, “SHARE correctly presumed it legally had the authority to launch, conduct and promote its educational and information-related efforts and initiatives to eradicate the epidemic, destructive and deadly practice of distracted driving) provides clear evidence that that said violation for illegal marketing is moot. Insomuch as the Bureau has made a de facto admission of error, which it now seeks to correct, to cite SHARE for a corresponding violation is unfair and unwarranted. Consequently, SHARE respectfully requests that the Bureau correct its findings and rescind said Citation.”

SHARE took issue with the FCC's assertion that “the field tests conducted by Bureau staff indicate the TxtStopper blocks calls made from outside the vehicle.” SHARE said its position that only phones inside the vehicle would be affected was “predicated upon field tests (one of which was recorded and televised on '11Alive', an Atlanta NBC affiliate new station, in late June 2010), the results of which consistently confirmed external cell phone use within inches of the vehicle in which the TxTStopper was installed was unimpeded or affected in any manner.”

In response to the FCC Directive to submit a sample unit of the TxtStopper, SHARE said, “SHARE had, previous to the Bureau’s initial inquiry, commenced to transfer, liquidate and otherwise divest itself of ALL title to ANY and ALL physical or intellectual property related to the TxTStopperTMbranded device, i.e. SHARE has no legal rights or access to the physical device, nor to any of its related proprietary intellectual property.”

While it is hard to argue that the purpose of the TxtStopper isn't admirable and that the device could save lives, it is clear that both Congress and the FCC have made it clear in the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended) and Federal regulations that devices created to interfere with radio communications are illegal. I suspect the ARRL (representing Amateur Radio operators) will find it ironic that the FCC focused on the TxtStopper while apparently ignoring broadband over power line (BPL) systems interfering with radio communications.