Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

FCC Cites Online Retailers for Marketing Illegal Jamming Devices

Download Options

Released: October 5, 2011

NEWS
Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202-418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:

October 5, 2011

David Fiske (202) 418-0513
Email: david.fiske@fcc.gov

TWENTY ONLINE RETAILERS OF ILLEGAL JAMMING DEVICES TARGETED

IN OMNIBUS ENFORCEMENT ACTION

Washington, D.C. The FCC Enforcement Bureau has issued 20 enforcement actions against online
retailers in 12 states for illegally marketing more than 200 uniquely-described models of cell phone
jammers, GPS jammers, Wi-Fi jammers, and similar signal jamming devices. These devices have the
capacity to prevent, block, or otherwise interfere with authorized radio communications in violation of
section 302(b) of the Communications Act and sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Commission's rules.
The Enforcement Bureau's actions are intended to warn retailers and potential purchasers that
marketing, selling, or using signal jamming devices in the U.S. is illegal and that the FCC will vigorously
prosecute these violations.
Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said, "Our actions should send a strong message to
retailers of signal jamming devices that we will not tolerate continued violations of federal law. Jamming
devices pose significant risks to public safety and can have unintended and sometimes dangerous
consequences for consumers and first responders."
In the Omnibus Citation and Order, the Bureau emphasized that because signal jamming devices
work by indiscriminately interrupting or interfering with communications, the use of a jamming device in
a classroom, theater, church, restaurant, or other public place could prevent someone in the vicinity of the
jammer from making an emergency call to 9-1-1, the police, a fire department, or a family member in
trouble.
Accordingly, the Bureau directed each online retailer to take immediate steps to cease marketing
signal jamming devices to consumers in the United States and its territories. Such steps may include
removing the illegal signal jamming devices from online display, expressly excluding consumers in the
United States as potential customers, and declining to sell signal jamming devices or complete any sales
transaction to consumers in the United States.
In a Request for Information attached to the Omnibus Citation, the Bureau also ordered the online
retailers to provide information about their signal jammer suppliers, distribution channels, and
salesincluding the manufacturer of each illegal signal jamming device, the websites that the online
retailer has used to market the devices in the United States or its territories, and the corrective actions the
online retailer has taken or will take to comply with federal law prohibiting the marketing and sale of
jamming devices.
Because these enforcement actions were taken against retailers who are not otherwise regulated
by the Commission, the Communications Act requires the Commission to first issue a "citation"
describing the violation and warning against future misconduct. The Omnibus Citation and Order
emphasized that a second violation could lead to monetary penalties of $16,000 to $112,500.

The Omnibus Citation and Order also noted, for example, that a separate penalty could be
imposed for each jamming device sold or each day on which a jamming device is marketed, and that
additional violations could result in the seizure of equipment and imprisonment.
Ellison said, "We expect that these retailers will take immediate steps to ensure future
compliance. If they continue to offer jammers to consumers in the U.S., we will work closely with our
law enforcement partners to prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Consumers deserve no less."
The Enforcement Bureau has taken several actions against retailers and users of jamming devices,
and in February of this year, released two Enforcement Advisories as part of its "outreach, educate, and
enforce" approach to preventing the spread of these illegal devices. (See Retailer Advisory, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Public_Notices/DA-11-249A1.html; and Consumer Advisory, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Public_Notices/DA-11-250A1.html).
The signal jamming devices listed in the Omnibus Citation and Order include GPS blockers for
vehicles, high-tech signal blockers with remote control capabilities, jammers disguised as paintings and
cigarette packs, and other small, easily-concealable cell phone jammers, as well as high-powered
industrial jammers that have the potential to disrupt radio signals in areas as large as a football field.
In addition, the signal jammers offered by the online retailers claim to target a wide variety of
frequencies, services, and technologies.
The full text of the Omnibus Citation and Order is available at:
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1661A1.pdf
In order to help answer consumer questions about signal jammers, the Enforcement Bureau has
published Frequently Asked Questions on GPS, Wi-Fi and Cell Phone Jammers, available on the FCC's
Jammer Enforcement webpage, at http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement/jamfaq.pdf.
To file a complaint alerting the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to illegal cell, GPS, or other
jamming devices, please visit www.fcc.gov/complaints, or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-
225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY.
For further information, contact John D. Poutasse, Acting Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division,
Enforcement Bureau, or Daudeline Meme, Assistant Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement
Bureau, at (202) 418-1160 or at jammerinfo@fcc.gov.

--FCC--

News and other information about the FCC is available at www.fcc.gov.

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.