Fred Atkinson wrote:
> On Sun, 26 Jun 2005 23:21:42 -0400, mc <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Not as far as I know. The Communications Act of 1934 gets amended
>> all the time, but it is still, as far as I know, the basis of radio
>> regulation in this country (and, yes, television and cell phones
>> are, physically, radio). Did it go away when I wasn't looking?
> Well, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted. I had assumed
> that it replaced the Communications Act of 1934. I guess I was wrong
> on that assumption. Do we have any lawyers on here that can clarify
> that issue?
No, the 1996 Telecom Act did not replace the Communications Act of
1934; it amended some sections of it and added some new sections to
it. I am a wireless telecom lawyer in a Washington, D.C. firm, and
those are facts, not legal opinions.
As to jammers, they are completely illegal to import, manufacture, or
use in the United States (unless you are an arm of the federal
government or have an experimental license permitting jammer use for
testing purposes -- which would require you not to jam licensed
cellular signals. In fact, the FCC just reissued a public notice to
Entitled, "Sale or Use of Transmitters Designed to Prevent, Jam or
Interfere with Cell Phone Communications is Prohibited in the United
States," Document # DA-05-1776, and dated June 27, 2005, it's
Here's the text:
[FCC Public Notice Letterhead]
June 27, 2005
Sale or Use of Transmitters Designed to Prevent, Jam or Interfere with
Cell Phone Communications is Prohibited in the United States
In response to multiple inquiries concerning the sale and use of
transmitters designed to prevent, jam or interfere with the operation
of cellular and personal communications service (PCS) telephones, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is issuing this Public Notice
to make clear that the marketing, sale, or operation of this type of
equipment is unlawful. Anyone involved with such activities may be
subject to forfeitures, fines or even criminal prosecution.
Cellular and PCS telephones provide valuable wireless communications
services to the American public for business and personal
communications. Recently, however, the FCC has seen a growing interest
in devices -- called 'cellular jammers' or 'cell phone jammers' --
designed to deliberately jam or disrupt wireless communications.
Inquiries about the use of cellular jammers are often accompanied by
comments that the use of wireless phones in public places is
disruptive and annoying. Advertisements for cellular jammers suggest
that the devices may be used on commuter trains, in theaters, hotels,
restaurants and other locations the public frequents.
The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the FCC rules prohibit
the manufacture, importation, marketing, sale or operation of these
devices within the United States (See Section 302(b) of the
Communications Act, 47 USC 302a(b) and Section 2.803(a) of the FCC's
rules, 47 CFR 2.803(a)). In addition, it is unlawful for any person to
willfully or maliciously interfere with the radio communications of any
station licensed or authorized under the Act or operated by the U.S.
Government (See Section 333 of the Communications Act, 47 USC 333).
Further, Section 301 of the Act, 47 USC 301, requires persons
operating or using radio transmitters to be licensed or authorized under
the Commission's rules.
Parties violating the provisions of the Communications Act and/or FCC
rules mentioned above may be subject to the penalties set forth in 47
USC 501-510. Monetary forfeitures for a first offense can be
as much as $11,000 a day for each violation and could subject the
offender to criminal prosecution. Equipment may also be seized by the
United States Marshals and forfeited to the U.S. Government.
For additional information, contact Brian Butler, Spectrum Enforcement
Division, Enforcement Bureau, at (202) 418-1160 or
By the Enforcement Bureau, Office of Engineering and Technology, and
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
As the Public Notice says, if you have any questions, call the FCC's
spectrum cop, Brian Butler. He's the dedicated spokesperson on this
issue for the Enforcement and Wireless bureaus as well as the Office
of Engineering and Technology. Personally, I don't see much ambiguity
in what the FCC said. Jammers are illegal. Period.
Michael D. Sullivan
Bethesda, MD (USA)
(Replace "example.invalid" with "com" in my address.)