FCC Proposes Fine for Cellphone Jamming

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a fine of more than $20,000 against a Texas-based company that used signal jamming devices to prevent the company’s employees from using their cellphones during working hours.

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in late-July, the company, Ravi’s Import Warehouse, Inc., operated a cellular phone jammer in the company’s place of business in Dallas, Texas. The illegal jammer was discovered as a result of a complaint received in the Commission’s Dallas Field Office that a local AT&T cellular base station located nearby was receiving interference characteristic of a cellphone signal jammer.

During a visit by an agent from the FCC’s Dallas Office, the owner admitted to the use of the jammer to prevent her employees from using mobile phones while at work, but told the agent that she had disposed of the jammer shortly before the FCC’s visit.  However, she refused to voluntarily surrender the device to the agent, offering instead to sell it to him.

The use of any device that interferes with authorized radio communications is a violation of Sections 201, 302(b) and 333 of the Communications Act, and sections 2.803(g) and 15.1(c) of the Commission’s rules. Further, the use of so-called jamming devices in public places could prevent a user from contacting fire or police personnel in the event of an emergency. Continued violation regarding the use of jamming devices can lead to monetary penalties starting at $19,246 for each day of continuing violations, up to $144,344 for any single act.

Read the text of the Commission’s Notice of Apparent Liability in connection with Ravi’s Import Warehouse.

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