FCC targets Craigslist cellphone jammer vendors, issues six citations

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The Federal Communications Commission has stepped up its enforcement game, issuing citations to six individuals for advertising and selling signal cellphone jamming devices on Craigslist. The FCC has also warned several online vendors and produced public service announcements in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.



“Over the last two weeks, the Bureau has targeted 23 signal jammer ads on Craigslist,” the FCC wrote in a press release on Monday.



“These actions resulted from aggressive undercover operations. Signal jamming devices, or ‘jammers,’ are radio frequency transmitters that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized communications, such as cell phone calls, text messages, GPS systems, and Wi-Fi networks. Jammers are indiscriminate—they can block critical public safety and other emergency communications along with the targeted transmissions. As a result, it is a violation of federal law to market, sell, or use a jammer in the United States.”



In 2010, the FCC went after a UK-based jamming company that sold to American customers. That came a year after a US Senate hearing about the use of jammers in prisons, where one Texas state senator testified he had been called by a death row inmate from inside the prison.
A summer of stings



Over the summer, the FCC appears to have engaged a number of vendors across the country that were advertising jammers on Craigslist. The six new publicly listed jamming-related citations have a similar structure, outlining precisely where on Craigslist and how they were caught. Each of the citations—which appear to be mere warnings—describe how the agency may step up its enforcement game.



“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,” the FCC wrote. “Furthermore, the issuance of the instant citation does not preclude the Commission from taking additional enforcement action in this case.”



Under federal law, those possessing or selling jammers can be hit with a $16,000 fine for each violation, or each day of a continuing violations. The maximum penalty is $112,500.
"To keep your immediate surrounds annoyance free"



Of the six hit with new citations and orders posted Monday to the FCC website, nearly all of them involved individual men. However, one specifically cited Jason Carpenter, of Tupelo, Mississippi, who is named as the owner of a computer vendor and repair shop called Dancing Bear Technologies.



“On July 26, 2012, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) through its market surveillance efforts, observed an advertisement for a jamming device on Craigslist,” wrote the FCC in its citation.



“The advertisement offered for sale a ‘[p]ortable GSM+3G Cell Mobile Phone signal Jammer.’ The posting, titled 'Cell Phone Signal Jammer—$88 (Tupelo, Mississippi),' read in part: 'This jammer system comes with a built in rechargeable Li-ion battery for hours of signal jamming, and with the included car power adapter, recharge and use this in your car as well as the office. Incredibly easy to operate, just switch it on and it will immediately start blocking CDMA, GSM, DCS, and 3G to keep your immediate surrounds annoyance free.' The advertisement also stated that bands of operation of the device were ‘850~960Mhz,’ ‘1805~1990Mhz,’ and ‘2110~2170Mhz’ and listed the name of the business offering the jammer—'Dancing Bear Technologies.'"



The citation goes on to explain that Bureau staff corresponded with Carpenter, who confirmed to the FCC his company was offering jammers for sale and that he would need “about 1-2 weeks” to fulfill the order.



Ars called and e-mailed Carpenter, but received no response as of press time.



cactusbush wrote:


These cell phone jammers have been available in Europe for two decades or more. I've wanted one for years. There is not much 911 danger inside a quite and nice restaurant just before some jackass gets a buzz from the pocket toy and proceeds to fill the room with his or her loud conversation for the next 5 or 10 minutes. The general public seems to be increasingly discourteous these days and it seems as if having a cell phone gives them some kind of extra legitimacy or privileged.



It is very irritating to wait in a lobby for an appointment, finally walk into the office and then be preempted perhaps by a phone call. Obviously the phone call must be more important than your personal visit... Or what about sitting at a table with an acquaintance or two and you're telling a humorous story. A cell phone rings, your "friend" blabs for the next 6 minutes with - you don't know who; and when he's done you can't remember what you were talking about in the first place?



Yeah; I've wanted a jammer for years. Just for certain occasions. One that fits in the pocket and has about a 30' range.




Putting aside for the moment the incredibly massive God-complex one must have to feel like the sole arbiter of what constitutes "acceptable risk of danger" to warrant cell-phone jamming, the number of people who believe it is acceptable to forcibly modify other people's behavior without their consent because it "offends" them is absolutely frightening to me. I wonder how many of these people are screaming about how unfair it is the government taxes or regulates them, or how their First Amendment right to free speech is perpetually infringed. Perhaps they don't, but the First Amendment argument is enough to warrant banning this technology without the extremely obvious safety concerns. The government is responsible for ensuring that our right to free speech remains unharmed, both by the government and by the tyranny of vigilantes who believe they can be the adjudicator of society's rights.



Not to mention THE SAFETY CONCERNS. So it's okay to use a cell phone jammer in a restaurant because restaurants are safe places? News flash, buddy, restaurants are notorious for fires, choking hazards, cuts, and other forms of personal injuries. In fact, everywhere you have an assembly of people you have risks. Who appointed you to be the judge of what is acceptable risk? If you had a cell phone jammer and kept me from being able to reach the authorities during an emergency, God forbid one that led to a death, you better believe that I'd be charging you for murder.



Also, it's a f***ing cell phone conversation, not a hate crime happening in front of you. If your friend conducts a full-length cell phone conversation in the middle of your story, you either have terrible friends or aren't a very interesting person. If you want to regulate society to "improve" it, go campaign for awareness or lobby get a law passed. Until then, stay the hell out of everyone else's business and property.


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