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Cell Phone and GPS Jamming

We are all familiar with the intrusive ringing of a cell phone at a theater or during what we hoped would be a quiet dinner at a favorite restaurant.   And we all know that a cell phone may occasionally distract an employee or student from diligently completing their work.  But as troubling as these scenarios may be, cell phone and other signal jamming devices are NOT the answer.

Signal jamming devices (e.g., cell phone, GPS, and radar jammers) can prevent you and others from completing 9-1-1 and other emergency calls.  These devices also can interfere with communications networks utilized by police, fire, and emergency medical services, to the detriment of the public safety.  Because signal jamming devices pose such significant risks, federal law prohibits consumers from operating these devices within the United States.  It is also a violation of federal law for retailers or individuals to market (sell, offer for sale, advertise, import, etc.) signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers.

The Enforcement Bureau is charged with enforcing the jamming prohibition.  Specifically, Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the marketing of any radio frequency device that jams, blocks, or otherwise interferes with authorized radio communications, and Section 333 prohibits the operation of any such device.

Enforcement Actions

Given the very real public safety concerns involved, the Enforcement Bureau has adopted a strict enforcement policy in this area.  Leveraging the presence of the Bureau's Field Offices across the country, we have aggressively pursued violations and will continue to do so wherever we find them.

  • Enforcement Bureau recently issued warnings to several retailers for marketing these devices in violation of federal law.
  • We also posted Frequently Asked Questions on Cell and GPS Jamming.
  • In addition, we released two Enforcement Advisories – one for consumers and one for manufacturers and retailers.  (We also provided a downloadable poster to help PTAs, local Chambers of Commerce, and other organizations to get the word out.)  The Advisories focus on educating and informing the public about the inherent dangers of using this equipment and the consequences of violating the Commission’s longstanding prohibition of jamming devices. 
  • We caution users and suppliers that violations are punishable by fines of up to $112,500 per violation, and could lead to criminal prosecution (including imprisonment) or seizure of the illegal device.

    Enforcement actions, relevant laws and FCC materials may be found at www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jammer-enforcement.  If you have questions about our enforcement of the jamming prohibition, you can email the Enforcement Bureau at jammerinfo@fcc.gov.  To file a jammer-related complaint with the Enforcement Bureau, you should use the FCC’s online complaint form at www.fcc.gov/complaints.

    Related Materials

  • FCC Blog: Jammin' - A Hit for Bob Marley, a Miss for Communications
  • Enforcement Advisories: Consumers - Retailers - News Release
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