The Federal Communications Commission is officially reminding people that it is illegal to use cell phone jammers on other people, no matter how annoying you find their conversation on the bus.
In an Enforcement Advisory released on Tuesday, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison cited recent reports of people using jammers to create "quiet zones" on public transit.
"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," Ellison said. "The FCC Enforcement Bureau has a zero tolerance policy in this area and will take aggressive action against violators."
On Monday NBC10 in Philadelphia reported facing off with a man using a jammer to silence cellphone conversations he found rude and irritating.
Complaints over loud conversations on public transit have become a symbol of the proliferation of mobile communications, but jamming technology won't offer a legal answer.
The prohibition is based on language in the 1996 Communications Act and the FCC says it can fine violators more than $100,000. Officials say jammers pose a public safety risk because they can block emergency communications.
The FCC Enforcement Bureau pointed to incidents where a tax adviser used a cell jammer to find peace during tax season but blocked communications at a neighboring fire department as well. In another instance, a teacher was illegally using a device to bock phones in his classroom but also jammed communications for the entire school.
Still in the market for a jammer? The FCC has a nine-page list of do's and don't's.
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