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Sandlin Cited for Offering Jammer on Craigslist.org

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Released: October 15, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1615

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Scott Sandlin
)
File No.: EB-SED-12-00004430
)
Craigslist PostingID 3108675415
)
Austin Craigslist (Texas)
)
)

CITATION AND ORDER

ILLEGAL MARKETING 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 Scott Sandlin (Mr.
Sandlin 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
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.
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


1 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(5).
2 See http://austin.craigslist.org/ele/3108675415.html dated June 29, 2012 (last visited July 17, 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).

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DA 12-1615

site.5 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,6 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 various dates in June and July 2012, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the
Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) through its market surveillance efforts observed an advertisement for a
jamming device on Craigslist.7 The advertisement was titled “NEW Portable Cell phone Jammer with a
car charger! - $45 (Lakeway)” and read:
Imagine how you can finally have a good undisturbed nap on your way in the bus. With
this personal cell phone blocker you can prevent the use of cell phones in your Car, Class
Rooms, Office, Home, Theaters and so on. This model will block cell phones on the
radius of up to 10 Meter or 32 ft (Depending on the mobile service provider’s network
condition) Advantage: Small Size, Easy to use, ,Can be used inside your Car Bus or
Truck ,Built-in 1500mAh battery lasts up to 2 hours, Very Low Price ! Now , Free
WorldWide Airmail Shipping !! [sic]8
6.
Bureau staff subsequently responded to the Craigslist posting via email and inquired
about the jamming device.9 Mr. Sandlin replied to this email inquiry, confirming that the jammer was for
sale.10 In addition, Mr. Sandlin forwarded an advertisement and photograph of the jamming device.11


5 See http://www.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (last visited July 30, 2012).
6 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
7 See http://austin.craigslist.org/ele/3108675415.html dated June 29, 2012 (last visited July 17, 2012). Specifically,
Bureau staff observed the jammer advertisement on June 29 and July 17, 2012. A copy of the illegal advertisement
is attached hereto as Appendix A.
8 Id.
9 Email to Scott Sandlin (July 27, 2012, 08:53:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED 12-00004430).
10 Email from Scott Sandlin (July 27, 2012, 08:54:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED 12-00004430) (Sandlin Email First
Reply).
11 Email from Scott Sandlin (July 27, 2012, 11:05:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED 12-00004430) (Sandlin Email
Second Reply).
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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.12 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.”13 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.”14
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.15 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.16
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.17
9.
Pursuant to Section 15.201(b) of the Rules,18 intentional radiators19 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
“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.”20


12 47 U.S.C. § 301.
13 Id. § 333.
14 Id. § 302a(b).
15 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.803, 15.201, 15.3(o).
16 Id. § 2.803(a)(1) (emphasis added).
17 Id. § 2.803(g) (emphasis added).
18 Id. § 15.201(b).
19 An “intentional radiator” is a “device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or
induction.” Id. § 15.3(o).
20 Id. § 2.803(e)(4).
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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. Sandlin cannot comply with the FCC’s technical standards and
therefore cannot be marketed lawfully in the United States or its territories.21

B.

Illegal signal jammer advertisement on Craigslist

11.
The evidence indicates that Mr. Sandlin was illegally marketing a jamming device to
consumers in the United States. As noted above, beginning on June 29, 2012, Mr. Sandlin advertised a
cell phone jammer on Craigslist.22 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.23 Craigslist users are prohibited from posting advertisements to
multiple geographic areas.24 Consistent with this policy, Mr. Sandlin posted his jammer advertisement on
one of more than 300 local sites on Craigslist—the Austin, Texas site, available at
http://austin.craigslist.org. This illegal online offer for sale was repeated in email correspondence with
Bureau staff, where Mr. Sandlin confirmed that he was still marketing the jammer.25
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.”26 The Craigslist Prohibited Items List then applies this policy directly to signal
jamming devices, noting that “[i]llegal telecommunications equipment, including . . . signal jamming
devices
,” is “not permitted on craigslist.”27
13.
Accordingly, we find that Mr. Sandlin 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


21 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).
22 See Appendix A.
23 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).
24 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.”).
25 See Sandlin Email First Reply and Sandlin Email Second Reply (on file in EB-SED-12-00004430).
26 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 3a, Content, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012).
27 See http://www.austin.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (emphasis added) (last visited July 30, 2012), attached
hereto as Appendix B.
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United States a radio frequency device that is not eligible for certification. We therefore issue this
Citation to Mr. Sandlin 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. Sandlin 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.
14.
While it is not clear in the current record that Mr. Sandlin operated the jamming device at
issue, 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.
Operation of this device or any other jamming device must cease immediately.
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. For example, in his advertisement, Mr. Sandlin advises potential buyers that the
jammer can be used on a bus, in a classroom, or in a theater—all public places where the ability to call for
help in an emergency is vital. 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.28 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
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. Sandlin 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.29 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


28 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.
29 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).
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Act or the Rules can also result in seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture actions,30 as well as
criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.31
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-12-00004430 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.32 Section 1.17 of the Rules also
requires that you provide truthful and accurate statements to the Commission.33 Any knowingly or
willfully false statement, or concealment of any material fact, made in reply to this Citation is punishable
by fine or imprisonment.34

V.

CONTACT INFORMATION

20.
The closest FCC office is the Dallas, Texas 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:
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-12-00004430

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:


30 See 47 U.S.C. § 510.
31 See id. §§ 401, 501.
32 See Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(3).
33 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.”).
34 See 18 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
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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,35 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.36

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, Scott Sandlin 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.
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 Scott Sandlin at his addresses of record.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

John D. Poutasse
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division
Enforcement Bureau


35 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
36 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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APPENDIX A

Illegal Jammer Advertisement on Craigslist


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APPENDIX B

Craigslist Prohibited Items List


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