And the FCC like jammin’ too — if it will bring in $25K from a fine the agency is attempting to levy onto Phonejammer.com, hailing out of the UK, and still doing their thing.

ArsTechnica is reporting that a beauty school in Texas patronized England’s Phonejammer.com, something I almost did once for kicks, purchasing three five watt cell jammers (850-2100MHz, effective for GSM, PCS and CDMA in a radius of up to 25m). AT&T caught wind of it and dropped a dime.

Not the first time the fuzz got static on these guys. Last March they got a complaint from a Florida county sheriff whose deputies were having failures to communicate. The FCC drove around in their trucks and pinpointed the source, an eight watt jammer sold to a local business by none other than Phonejammer.

Armed with the sales receipt the FCC and a printout of their website the FCC confronted Phonejammer which claimed that it “does not market to the US and has not shipped nor distributed units to the US” and that they note on their website that such devices are not legal in the US, but failing to provide any evidence affirming that they are behaving themselves and respecting US law.

That vexed the feds enough to cook up a PDF of a formal “notice of apparent liability for forfeiture” against Phonejammer for “willful and repeated violations” of the rules, concluding that “under [US laws] Phonejammer is apparently liable for forfeiture for its apparent willful and repeated violation of Section 302(b) of the Act and Section 2.803 of the Rules.”

The document goes on to note that each day of apparent continued flaunting of our laws this company’s tab may go up $16K for any subsequent individual violations and up to $112,500 for any single continuing violation (I’m not sure what the difference is but that’s a lot of dough). Long/short, “IT IS ORDERED” that yada yada, give us a $25K check made out to the FCC.

Couple [paragraphs’ worth of] questions to you readers. What authority does the FCC have over a foreign company to squeeze out a fine that would possibly drive the company under? Good relations with that company’s country? What if it were a country with whom we never really hit it off, but the FCC was very determined to either get the find, stop the company from selling this stuff to the US or otherwise get fully shut down somehow?

Do you think, if at least done responsibly, business, schools and other outfits should be able to order their jammers online with the government looking the other way until things get problematic, or is the principle of citizens jamming just a bad thing period? Any legal ways to set up a movie theater to muffle cell signals, like thick walls or a Faraday cage, instead of using something spewing out radiomagnetic garbage?

If that kind of thing is legal, then the concern of the founding fathers when drafting these FCC laws was most likely just about the jamming getting out of control and in the wrong directions, rather than just being isolated to the inside of a particular building or classroom? Should the Texas beauty school be liable for anything or are they not the bigger fish in this situation? Three jammers, now those are some irritated teachers. Those aren’t cheap and they knew it was illegal.

Any similar stories of such loud attempts of enforcement against foreign online pharamcies? Maybe there’s a line Phonejammer crossed when their equipment scrambled up communications of law enforcement. But haven’t you ever wished you had a pocket-sized jammer while riding on the train, either to get some sleep, focus or just to feel powerful? I have. Here’s your hyperlink.

Doug Simmons

9 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly, I think the individuals purchasing the equipment are liable, not the company making the unit. The website clearly states that the item being purchased is not legal in the US, and I believe things like extra thick walls and Faraday cages are legal… so why not use them. It can’t cost THAT much to wrap a room in brass screen. What if someone was being mugged in the parking lot after school hours and the jammer blocked the victims cell phone signal when they were trying to call police because the jammer’s signal reaches OUTSIDE the classroom. Hell, my 1926 house does a great job blocking cell phone signal on it’s own!

  2. definatley agree with frank. the company should not be held liable at all for the customers fault

  3. “But haven’t you ever wished you had a pocket-sized jammer while riding on the train, either to get some sleep, focus or just to feel powerful? I have.”

    Why spend hundreds on having to carry a second device to jam a five foot radius when you could just use an iphone to take out entire towers?

  4. how much can it cost to wrap a room in a brass screen…………….. you do know brass is expensive right? and an entire building would require alot of brass, and im sure it would have to be a thick brass screen at that… anyway, not important. the disclaimer on phone jammers website reads

    “The jamming ranges described in the details of each unit may vary according to the cellular network and location. If the jammer is in proximity to a base station or base station repeater the range will be minimal. This is true of all cell phone jammers.The use of cellular telephone jamming equipment is prohibited in some countries. It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that they have the legal right to import these products before purchasing them from us. After purchase, the customer becomes wholly liable for any legal issues that may occur as a result of the importation and/or use of these products in the destination country. This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the FCC. This device is not, and may not, be offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained”

    my question is do you think they changed this disclaimer to specifically mention the FCC after all this legal mumbo jumbo happened?

    and yes, it is unfair for people to be able to jam cell signal outside of the building (maybe even in the building) all payphones are going to be gone very soon so to have someone blocking cell signal is a hugeee problem.

    and most importantly most frequencies need to be liscenced (except for CB bands and some other minor freq’s), i beleive these jammers work by simply emitting a stronger signal than the cell tower is capable of emitting. if what ive been told is true then these cell jammers break the laws by undermining the companies that had to shell out millions just to obtain liscences for the gsm and cdma bands… its all bad…

    thanks for the article dougie

  5. seriously whodis, you do realize apple only said that so that there precious little phones wouldnt stop making them millions off “pull my finger” apps. what would apple do if people had the option of choosing something to put on their phone that didnt give apple a commision… well they would bitch and moan like they do with every other little thing.

    and have u ever heard of an iphone ACTUALLY crashing a towers software? nope, you know why? becuase even though theres the slightest remotest chance that it can be done, it wont be done, becuase only about .0001 percent of the world has the brains to do something like that, but you know what else comes with those brains, more brains… like the brains required to not buy an iphone because its quite obviously an inferior device…

  6. If a company sells something that they know is illegal then why not go after them and the end user? I mean, a phone jammer is relatively mild (well un.ess you’re jamming the cops) but make it worse. A company makes explosives that are illegal to use and they start selling them. If you don’t like a law you have to use your power to vote. You can’t just break it. I’d let the company and the individual take a hit and of course, half the point of these types of encounters is that the story gets told so it’s a lesson to the rest of the industry, so I’m sure the FCC is thanking you…wait – are you one of them? Man – you’re fed! I knew it!:)

  7. They are selling something they now is illegal .. but not in all the world. So I think it’s custommers fault, they were warned

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