An Alabama company has agreed to pay $20,500 in civil penalties to settle charges that it illegally operated cellular phone jamming devices on its premises, in violation of FCC rules.
According to an Order issued in March 2016 by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the company, The Supply Room, Inc. of Oxford, AL, installed four cellphone jammers in the company’s warehouse to prevent employees from using their cellphones at work. An anonymous compliant about the jammers was filed with the FCC, which resulted in an inspection of the warehouse in April 2012 by an agent of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. During the inspection, the agent used direction finding techniques to detect wideband emissions in the cellular bands and confirm the presence of the jammers. Upon request, the warehouse general manager surrendered the jammers to the agent.
The FCC initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability in 2013, proposing a monetary forfeiture of $144,000 for the company’s violation of FCC rules against the use of cellphone jammers. However, because of the company’s admission of wrongdoing and its cooperation with the FCC, the parties agreed to the reduced fine.
The use of cellphone jamming devices is illegal under Commission rules, and violations carry monetary penalties of up to $112,500 per any single incident, as well as potential criminal sanctions, including imprisonment. In addition to banning the use of jamming devices by individuals, FCC rules also prohibit the importation, advertising or selling of such devices.