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Grabowsky Cited for Offering Jammer on Craigslist.org

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Released: October 15, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1610

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Keith Grabowsky
)
File No.: EB-SED-12-00004532
)
Craigslist PostingID 3232994458
)
Philadelphia Craigslist (Pennsylvania)
)

CITATION AND ORDER

ILLEGAL MARKETING AND OPERATION OF SIGNAL JAMMING DEVICE

Adopted: October 15, 2012

Released: October 15, 2012

By the Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
This is an official

CITATION AND ORDER

(Citation) issued pursuant to Section
503(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act),1 to Keith Grabowsky
(Mr. Grabowsky or “you”) for marketing an illegal signal jamming device (jamming device or jammer)
by repeatedly posting a classified advertisement for the device on Craigslist.org2 in willful and repeated
violation of Section 302(b) of the Communications Act3 and Sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Federal
Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) rules (Rules).4 This Citation also finds that Mr.
Grabowsky operated an illegal jamming device in violation of Sections 301, 302, and 333 of the
Communications Act.5
2.
Jamming devices, such as cell phone jammers and GPS blockers, pose serious risks to
critical public safety communications and can prevent individuals from making 9-1-1 and other
emergency calls. Jammers can also interfere with law enforcement communications. You should take
immediate steps to come into compliance and to avoid any recurrence of this misconduct. For example,
any operation of the signal jammer must cease immediately, and you are strongly encouraged to
voluntarily relinquish the illegal jamming device. You also may not advertise jamming devices for sale to
any consumer in the United States through Craigslist or through any other means.


1 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(5).
2 See http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/ele/3232994458.html dated August 27, 2012 (last visited Aug. 27, 2012).
Craigslist.org (Craigslist) is a website with classified ads and forums devoted to jobs, housing, personals, goods,
services, and local activities. See http://www.craigslist.org/about/factsheet (last visited Oct. 4, 2012).
3 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b).
4 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.803, 15.201(b).
5 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 302, 333; see also 47 C.F.R. § 15.1(c).

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3.
We emphasize that the mere posting of a jamming device for sale on Craigslist or any
other online site or bulletin board targeting U.S. consumers contravenes federal law. Consistent with this
federal prohibition, Craigslist expressly bars the sale and advertisement of signal jamming devices on its
site.6 Therefore, you have not only violated federal law, but also contravened the contractual agreement
that governs your use of Craigslist. We will forward a copy of this Citation to Craigslist for any action it
may find appropriate under the Craigslist Terms of Use.
4.
As explained below and as provided in the Communications Act, future violations of the
Rules in this regard may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of equipment, and criminal
sanctions. Pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications Act,7 we also direct you to:
Ÿ
confirm within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation that you have
ceased marketing and operating any jamming device;
Ÿ
provide information concerning the source(s) from which you purchased or received the
jamming device you advertised on Craigslist as well as any other jamming devices you may
have, or previously may have had, in your possession; and
Ÿ
provide information concerning any jammer sales that you may have made.

II.

BACKGROUND

5.
On August 27, 2012, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Enforcement Bureau
(Bureau), through its market surveillance efforts, observed an advertisement for a jamming device on
Craigslist.8 The advertisement was titled “cell phone jammer, wifi jammer - $300 (PA)” and read:
email me with questions., pictures. Because of the nature of this item, few details are
given out. This is not a toy. For adult use only. I just want to get rid of it as fast as
possible. [sic]9
6.
Later that day, Bureau staff responded to the Craigslist posting via email and inquired
about the jamming device.10 Mr. Grabowsky replied via email on August 27, 2012, describing various
features and operating characteristics of the jammer such as the size (“largest pocket one that you can
get”), battery recharge times (the jammer “can hold charge for 1 – 3 hours”), and operating temperature,
noting that “[i]t does get hot” when used.11 Mr. Grabowsky also mentioned that this jammer was a “really
expensive unit that comes with a leather case to stop it from heating up.”12 Mr. Grabowsky again


6 See http://www.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (last visited July 30, 2012).
7 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
8 See http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/ele/3232994458.html dated August 27, 2012 (last visited Aug. 27, 2012). The
jammer advertisement was posted again on September 14, 2012 using the same title, description, and postingID. See
http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/ele/3232994458.html (last visited Sept. 17, 2012). A copy of these illegal
advertisements is attached hereto as Appendix A.
9 Id.
10 Email to Keith Grabowsky (Aug. 27, 2012, 15:29 EST) (on file in EB-SED-12-00004532).
11 Email from Keith Grabowsky (Aug. 27, 2012 15:52 EST) (on file in EB-SED-12-00004532).
12 Id.
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solicited the undercover agent, asking if the transaction could be completed that same day and noting that
he wanted to “sell it asap.”13

III.

APPLICABLE LAW AND VIOLATIONS

A.

Marketing and operation of jammers prohibited by federal law

7.
Federal law prohibits the advertising, sale, and operation of jamming devices in the
United States and its territories. Section 301 of the Communications Act prohibits the use or operation of
“any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or signals by radio” within the United
States unless such use is licensed or authorized.14 Section 333 of the Communications Act states that
“[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio
communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United
States Government.”15 In addition, Section 302(b) of the Communications Act provides that “[n]o person
shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems,
or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.”16
8.
The applicable implementing regulations for Section 302(b) are set forth in Sections
2.803, 15.201, and 15.3(o) of the Rules.17 Section 2.803(a)(1) of the Rules provides that:
no person shall sell or lease, or offer for sale or lease (including advertising for sale or
lease), or import, ship, or distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for
sale or lease, any radio frequency device unless . . . [i]n the case of a device subject to
certification, such device has been authorized by the Commission in accordance with the
rules in this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by § 2.925 and
other relevant sections in this chapter.18
Additionally, Section 2.803(g) of the Rules provides in relevant part that:
[R]adio frequency devices that could not be authorized or legally operated under the
current rules . . . shall not be operated, advertised, displayed, offered for sale or lease,
sold or leased, or otherwise marketed absent a license issued under part 5 of this chapter
or a special temporary authorization issued by the Commission.19
9.
Pursuant to Section 15.201(b) of the Rules,20 intentional radiators21 like jamming devices
cannot be marketed in the United States or its territories unless they have first been authorized in
accordance with the Commission’s certification procedures. Section 2.803(e)(4) of the Rules defines


13 Email from Keith Grabowsky (Aug. 28, 2012 09:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED-12-00004532) (Grabowsky Aug. 28
Email Reply).
14 47 U.S.C. § 301.
15 Id. § 333.
16 Id. § 302a(b).
17 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.803, 15.201, 15.3(o).
18 Id. § 2.803(a)(1) (emphasis added).
19 Id. § 2.803(g) (emphasis added).
20 Id. § 15.201(b).
21 An “intentional radiator” is a “device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or
induction.” Id. § 15.3(o).
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“marketing” as the “sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, including advertising for sale or lease, or
importation, shipment or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease.”22
10.
Jamming devices, however, cannot be certified or authorized because their primary
purpose is to block or interfere with authorized radio communications. Thus, jamming devices such as
the one offered on Craigslist by Mr. Grabowsky cannot comply with the FCC’s technical standards and
therefore cannot be marketed lawfully in the United States or its territories.23

B.

Illegal signal jammer advertisement on Craigslist

11.
The evidence indicates that Mr. Grabowsky was illegally marketing a jamming device to
consumers in the United States. As noted above, beginning on August 27, 2012, Mr. Grabowsky
advertised a cell phone and wifi jammer on Craigslist.24 Craigslist is a classified advertisements website,
generally involving an online listing for a product or service followed by an email or telephone exchange
and an in-person meeting between the buyer and seller.25 Craigslist users are prohibited from posting
advertisements to multiple geographic areas.26 Consistent with this policy, Mr. Grabowsky posted his
jammer advertisements on one of more than 300 local sites on Craigslist—the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
site, available at http://philadelphia.craigslist.org. These illegal online offers for sale were repeated in
email correspondence with Bureau staff, where Mr. Grabowsky confirmed that he was still marketing the
jammer.27
12.
We note that both the Craigslist Terms of Use and the Craigslist Prohibited Items List
prohibit the sale and advertisement of cell phone jammers, GPS blockers, and other signal jamming
devices. The Craigslist Terms of Use states: “Content prohibited from craigslist includes but is not
limited to: . . . content in facilitation of the creation, advertising, distribution, provision or receipt of
illegal goods or services.”28 The Craigslist Prohibited Items List then applies this policy directly to signal


22 Id. § 2.803(e)(4).
23 In very limited circumstances and consistent with applicable procurement requirements, individuals and/or entities
may market jamming devices to the U.S. federal government for authorized, official use. See 47 U.S.C. § 302a(c);
47 C.F.R. § 2.807(d).
24 See Appendix A.
25 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 4a, Postings, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012) (noting that “craigslist is intended and designed as a local service.”). Craigslist permits an individual to
post free classified advertisements for goods and services, and through its anonymize email feature, facilitates
communications between the seller and the potential buyer. See http://www.craigslist.org/about/anonymize (last
visited Aug. 9, 2012) (stating that if a seller selects the anonymize feature, the posting will display a Craigslist email
address and that Craigslist will relay any messages sent to that address to the seller’s email address).
26 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 4a, Postings, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012) (noting also that “a user may post content only to the single specific geographic area offered on craigslist
(see http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites) for which that content is most relevant” and that “[t]he same or
substantially similar content (for example, an ad for a particular item or service, a particular offer, a particular
message or a particular comment) may not be posted to or communicated via more than one such geographic area.
Content that is equally relevant to multiple (i.e., more than one) geographic areas should not be posted on
craigslist.”).
27 See Grabowsky Aug. 28 Email Reply (on file in EB-SED-12-00004532).
28 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 3a, Content, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012).
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jamming devices, noting that “[i]llegal telecommunications equipment, including . . . signal jamming
devices
,” is “not permitted on craigslist.”29
13.
Accordingly, we find that Mr. Grabowsky has willfully and repeatedly violated Section
302(b) of the Communications Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Rules by marketing in the
United States a radio frequency device that is not eligible for certification. Further, the nature of his ad
suggests that Mr. Grabowsky was aware of the sensitive, and/or illegal nature of the device he was
offering for sale on Craigslist.30 We therefore issue this Citation to Mr. Grabowsky for violating the
Communications Act and the Rules as discussed above. Jamming devices pose significant risks to public
safety and potentially compromise other radio communications services. Mr. Grabowsky should take
immediate steps to ensure that he does not continue to market jamming devices in the United States or its
territories, including on Craigslist.

C.

Unlawful operation of signal jamming device

14.
Mr. Grabowsky also appears to have operated the jamming device at issue in the
Craigslist posting.31 As detailed above, the operation of a jammer by an individual consumer, even on
private property, is per se unlawful. This means that it is illegal for a consumer to use a jammer on mass
transit (e.g., train, bus) or in a residence, vehicle, school, theater, restaurant or in any other public or
private place. We therefore find that Mr. Grabowsky has illegally operated a jamming device in violation
of Section 301, 302(b) and 333 of the Communications Act. Operation of this device or any other
jamming device must cease immediately.32
15.
We are increasingly concerned that individual consumers who operate jamming devices
do not appear to understand the potentially grave consequences of using a jammer. Instead, these
operators incorrectly assume that their illegal operation is justified by personal convenience or should
otherwise be excused. While we previously have issued warnings to such operators in the first instance—
primarily because non-monetary penalties historically have proven effective in deterring unlawful
operation by individuals—we are not required to do so. We are mindful of the serious risks posed by
jamming devices and the apparent need to provide greater incentives for individual operators to cease the
operation, importation, and sale of jamming devices altogether. Therefore, we caution you and other
potential violators that going forward, and as circumstances warrant, we intend to impose substantial
monetary penalties, rather than (or in addition to) warnings, on individuals who operate a jammer.33
Furthermore, the issuance of the instant Citation does not preclude the Commission from taking
additional enforcement action in this case.
16.
We again emphasize that if any jamming device remains within your possession or
control, you are strongly urged to contact the Bureau to arrange to voluntarily relinquish the jammer.
Except for the very limited context of authorized, official use by the federal government, jamming


29 See http://www.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (emphasis added) (last visited July 30, 2012), attached hereto
as Appendix B.
30 See supra text accompanying note 9 (explaining that “[b]ecause of the nature of this item, few details are given
out . . . I just want to get rid of it as fast as possible”).
31 See supra text accompanying note 11.
32 See 47 C.F.R. § 15.5(c).
33 The illegal use of a signal jamming device within the United States may be reported to the FCC at
http://www.fcc.gov.complaints. For Frequently Asked Questions and other information regarding the illegal
marketing or use of cell phone jammers, GPS blockers, and other signal jamming devices, please consult the FCC’s
jammer enforcement webpage at http://www.fcc.gov/jammers.
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devices have no legal use in the United States. The Bureau’s contact information is provided in paragraph
20 below.

IV.

FUTURE COMPLIANCE

17.
If after receipt of this Citation, Mr. Grabowsky violates the Communications Act or the
Rules by marketing or operating an unauthorized radio frequency device within the United States or its
territories, or otherwise engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose
monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or, in the case of a continuing violation, the
Commission may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each day of such continuing violation
up to a maximum forfeiture of $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.34 For instance, the
Commission could impose separate forfeitures for each signal jammer sold and/or for each day on which
a signal jammer is operated, advertised, or otherwise offered for sale. Violations of the Communications
Act or the Rules can also result in seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture actions,35 as well as
criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.36
18.
In addition to providing the required information described in paragraph 22 below, you
may respond to this Citation either through (1) a personal interview at the closest FCC office, which must
take place within thirty (30) calendar days of the release date of this Citation, or (2) submission of a
written statement, within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation. Any written
statement should specify the actions you have taken to ensure that you do not violate the Communications
Act or the Rules governing the marketing or operation of jamming devices in the future. Please reference
file number EB-SED-12-00004532 when corresponding with the Commission.
19.
Under the Privacy Act of 1974, any statement or information you provide may be used by
the Commission to determine if further enforcement action is required.37 Section 1.17 of the Rules also
requires that you provide truthful and accurate statements to the Commission.38 Any knowingly or
willfully false statement, or concealment of any material fact, made in reply to this Citation is punishable
by fine or imprisonment.39

V.

CONTACT INFORMATION

20.
The closest FCC office is the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. You may contact the
Spectrum Enforcement Division by telephone, 202-418-1160, to schedule an interview, which must take
place within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Citation. You should send any written
statement within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation to:


34 See 47 U.S.C. § 503; 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(3). These amounts are subject to further adjustment for inflation and the
forfeiture amount applicable to any violation will be determined based on the statutory amount designated at the
time of the violation. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(5).
35 See 47 U.S.C. § 510.
36 See id. §§ 401, 501.
37 See Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(3).
38 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.17 (“[N]o person subject to this rule shall[:] (1) In any written or oral statement of fact,
intentionally provide material factual information that is incorrect or intentionally omit material information that is
necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading; and (2) In any
written statement of fact, provide material factual information that is incorrect or omit material information that is
necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading without a
reasonable basis for believing that any such material factual statement is correct and not misleading.”).
39 See 18 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
6

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John D. Poutasse
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division
Enforcement Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW, Rm. 3-C366
Washington, DC 20554

Re: EB File No.: EB-SED-12-00004532

21.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.
Include a description of the accommodation needed, including as much detail as possible. Also include a
way we can contact you if we need more information. Please allow at least five (5) calendar days
advance notice; last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Requests may be
submitted by email to fcc504@fcc.gov or by phone to the Commission’s Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau:

For sign language interpreters, CART, and other reasonable accommodations:
202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty);

For accessible format materials (braille, large print, electronic files, and audio format):
202-418-0531 (voice), 202-418-7365 (tty).

VI.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

22.
Pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications Act,40 you are directed to
provide the information requested in the non-public Appendix C hereto within fifteen (15) calendar days
after the release date of this Citation. The Request for Information concerns your jamming device
supplier(s) and sale(s) as well as the disposition of any jamming devices in your possession. Failure to
respond to the Request for Information, or an inadequate, incomplete, or misleading response, may
subject you to additional sanctions.41

VII.

ORDERING CLAUSES

23.

IT IS ORDERED

that pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, Keith Grabowsky must provide the information requested in paragraphs 4 and
22, as well as the non-public Appendix C to this Citation and Order. The response to the Request for
Information must be provided in the manner indicated herein and must be received by the FCC within
fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation and Order.


40 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
41 See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589
(2002) ($100,000 forfeiture for refusing to attest to truthfulness and accuracy of responses to a Bureau letter of
inquiry); Connect Paging, Inc. d/b/a Get A Phone, Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15146 (Enf. Bur. 2007) ($4,000
forfeiture for failure to respond to a Bureau letter of inquiry); BigZoo.Com Corporation, Order of Forfeiture, 20
FCC Rcd 3954 (Enf. Bur. 2005) ($20,000 forfeiture for failure to respond to an LOI); Donald W. Kaminski, Jr.,
Forfeiture Order, 18 FCC Rcd 26065 (Enf. Bur. 2003) ($4,000 forfeiture for failure to respond to a Bureau letter of
inquiry).
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24.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Citation and Order shall be sent by
email, First Class U.S. Mail, and Certified Mail, to Keith Grabowsky to his addresses of record.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

John D. Poutasse
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division
Enforcement Bureau
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APPENDIX A

Illegal Jammer Advertisement on Craigslist


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2

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APPENDIX B

Craigslist Prohibited Items List


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