Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
March 6, 2012
Enforcement Advisory No. 2012-02
FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY
CELL JAMMERS, GPS JAMMERS, and OTHER JAMMING DEVICES
CONSUMER ALERT: Using or Importing Jammers is Illegal
Monetary Penalties Can Exceed $100,000 per violation
In recent days, there have been various press reports about commuters using cell phone jammers to create a “quiet
zone” on buses or trains. We caution consumers that it is against the law to use a cell or GPS jammer or any other
type of device that blocks, jams or interferes with authorized communications, as well as to import, advertise, sell, or
ship such a device. The FCC Enforcement Bureau has a zero tolerance policy in this area and will take aggressive
action against violators.
Illegal to Operate Jammers in the U.S.
Unless you are an authorized federal government
user, you may not operate a jammer in the U.S., even on private property. This means that it is
illegal 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.
Illegal to Import Jammers into the U.S.
If you purchase a jammer online and ship it to the
U.S., you have violated federal law. When you buy jammers from outside the U.S.—used or new
—you become the “importer” of an illegal device. It does not matter whether you purchased the
device from an established business or an individual selling the jammer in an online auction.
Jammers imported from overseas are also subject to seizure at the border.
Illegal to Sell or Advertise Jammers Online or in Stores.
You may not sell or advertise
jammers to individuals or businesses on online auction or marketplace sites, in retail stores, or
even at your local flea market. Selling even a single jammer is illegal. You also are prohibited
from shipping a jammer in the U.S.
Monetary Penalties Can Exceed $100,000 per violation.
Violations of the jamming
prohibition can lead to substantial monetary penalties (up to $112,500 for any single act), seizure
of the illegal jammer, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.
If you are aware of the use of a jammer, please contact the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC
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What are “jammers”?
Generally, “jammers”—which include devices commonly called signal blockers, GPS jammers,
cell phone jammers, text blockers, etc.—are illegal radio frequency transmitters that are designed to block, jam, or
otherwise interfere with authorized radio communications.
How do jammers work?
A jammer can block all radio communications on any device that operates on radio
frequencies within its range (i.e.,
within a certain radius of the jammer) by emitting radio frequency waves that prevent the
targeted device from establishing or maintaining a connection. Jamming technology generally does not discriminate
between desirable and undesirable communications. For example, jammers can:
prevent your cell phone from making or receiving calls, text messages, and emails;
prevent your Wi-Fi enabled device from connecting to the Internet;
prevent your GPS unit from receiving correct positioning signals; and
prevent a first responder from locating you in an emergency.
Why are jammers prohibited?
Jammers do not just weed out noisy or annoying conversations and disable
unwanted GPS tracking. Jammers can prevent 9-1-1 and other emergency phone calls from getting through or
interfere with police and other law enforcement communications. For example, the recent use of a cell phone
jammer in an office building disrupted communications of a nearby Fire Department. When Enforcement Bureau
agents investigated the incident, we found that a CPA who apparently did not want to be disturbed during the busy
tax season was using a small, inexpensive cell jammer inside his office. But, the jammer was disrupting critical public
safety communications outside his building as well.
In another recent instance, a high school teacher used a jammer in his classroom. Responding to a complaint,
Enforcement Bureau agents tracked the device to a locked cabinet in the metal shop. Unknown to the teacher, the
jammer was blocking all teachers, students, and staff throughout the school from making any calls, including
emergency calls, and it could have had tragic consequences.
Need more information?
For additional information regarding enforcement of the jamming prohibition, visit www.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement
or contact Daudeline Meme, Kevin Pittman or Neal McNeil of the Enforcement
Bureau at (202) 418-1160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. To file a complaint, visit www.fcc.gov/complaints
or call 1-888-CALL-
Frequently asked questions about cell, GPS, and Wi-Fi jammers are available at https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jammer
Media inquiries should be directed to Neil Grace at (202) 418-0506 or email@example.com
or to Karen Onyeije at (202)
418-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format),
send an e-mail to email@example.com
or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202)
418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact the Enforcement Bureau on its TTY line at (202) 418-1148 for further information
about this Enforcement Advisory, or the FCC on its TTY line at 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) for further
information about the jamming prohibition.
Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau
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