Signal Jammer Company Receives Largest Fine Ever From FCC, $34.9 Million
A Chinese electronics vendor, CTS Technology, is accused of selling illegal signal jammers to U.S. consumers which could result in the largest fine ever imposed by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC wants to fine CTS Technology $34,912,500 for allegedly marketing 285 models of jammers over a more than two years period.
Daily Digest News reports that Travis LeBlanc, FCC’s acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau, notes that signal jammers are illegal for good reason.
“Signal jammers present a direct danger to public safety, potentially blocking the communications of first responders. Operating a jammer is also illegal, and consumers who do so face significant civil and criminal penalties.”
The fine is the largest in history and is, according to PCWorld, greater than any the FCC has levied for anti-competitive behavior, not airing children’s shows, or any wardrobe malfunction on live TV. The hefty fine comes from adding up the maximum fines for each model of jammer the company allegedly sold in the U.S.
The FCC code on selling jammers is very clear:
“Section 302(b) – prohibits the manufacture, importation, marketing, sale or operation of these devices within the United States (47 U.S.C. § 302a(b))”
Though CTS Technology is not an American company, it is not exempt from following laws that ban the sell of jammers. The FCC also notes that the website claimed some of the jammers were “FCC compliant,” which was untrue. This is deceptive marketing in addition to the sale of an illegal item.
Along with the nearly $35 million in fines, the FCC is requiring that all marketing of the jammers to U.S. citizens cease immediately and that the names of all individuals in the U.S. who purchased jammers be turned over to the agency.
Those purchasing the jammers are not in the clear. It is not only illegal to sell jammers in the U.S., it is also illegal to own them. According to the FCC website:
“Operation of a jammer in the United States may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of the unlawful equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.”
Did you purchase one of the illegal jammers that caused history’s largest FCC fine? You can voluntarily turn in the jammers and report their use by calling the FCC or filing a complaint online through its website, FCC.gov.
It isn’t just signal jammers that the FCC deals with; a new regulation imposed by the agency was recently put into place to ensure TV ads do not reach a higher volume than the programming they accompany, due to CALM Act signed by President Obama.