FCC crackdown on Cellular/GPS jammers starts today

Today, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau announced it is clamping down on the marketing, sale, and use of illegal cellphone and GPS jamming devices because they can very easily jam signals used by the public safety and law enforcement sectors.

Cell jammers have become pretty popular items. At CTIA 2010 last year, we saw quite a few companies offering low-power jamming solutions for prisons, board rooms, movie theaters, and really anywhere else that privacy and radio silence is important.

"While people who use jammers may think they are only silencing disruptive
conversations or disabling unwanted GPS capabilities, they could also be preventing a scared teenager from calling 9-1-1, an elderly person from placing an urgent call to a doctor, or a rescue team from homing in on the location of a severely injured person. The price for one person's moment of peace or privacy, could be the safety and well-being of others," said Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau.

In the last two weeks, the bureau has sent warnings to four online retailers, ordering that they stop marketing their products to U.S. customers or face severe fines (up to $16,000 per day the devices are available in the U.S., or $112,500 per device sold.) One of the companies the FCC targeted, TxTStopper, charges $199.95 per jammer. So the fines are very steep in proportion.

Users of the devices, likewise, are being warned that operation of a jammer in the United States is illegal and may subject users to fines, seizure of the equipment, or even imprisonment. The FCC did not outline exactly how high the fines could be for users like it did for retailers.

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