FCC Proposes Fining Signal Jammer $34.9 Million

The FCC is proposing to fine a Chinese online retailer an FCC-record $34.9 million for marketing and selling signal-jamming devices to U.S. consumers that could interfere with Wi-Fi networks, phone calls and more.

The fine was the result of the maximum allowable penalty multiplied by the 285 different models--Including ones disguised as cigarette packs and even paintings--offered by C.T.S. Technology.

Jammers are transmitters that can interfere with cellphone calls, GPS systems, Wi-Fi nets, and first responder communications. 

The FCC says C.T.S. operates a website that claims the FCC has approved some types of jammers. "In fact, the use of such devices by U.S. consumers is illegal under any circumstance," the commission points out. 

“We appreciate the forceful penalty the FCC imposed today to enforce its prohibition on cellphone jamming by anyone other than law enforcement," said Scott Bergmann, VP of regulatory affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association. "We hope today's action by the FCC stops any other manufacturer of this illegal technology.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.