The Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau announced Wednesday it is clamping down on the illegal sale and use of devices used to jam cellphones and GPS systems.
“Jamming devices create serious safety risks,” said Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. "In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be intensifying our efforts through partnerships with law enforcement agencies to crack down on those who continue to violate the law."
"Through education, outreach, and aggressive enforcement, we’re tackling this problem head on.”
Jamming devices are radio frequency transmitters that block or
interfere with cell phone calls, text messages, GPS systems and WiFi
networks. Online retailers have increasingly marketed them as a cure for
noisy classrooms, businesses or restaurants.
But the Bureau has released advisories and a downloadable poster recently reminding consumers that the marketing, sale or use of the devices are illegal. In the last two weeks the Bureau has issued warnings to four online retailers directing them to cease marketing the devices to U.S. consumers or face stiff fines.
Because the devices block all communications in a given area, Ellison said they could prevent emergency responders from hearing from individuals in peril. A single violation of the law banning jamming devices can result in thousands of dollars in fine and possible imprisonment.