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O'Rielly Slams Wi-Fi Fine

FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly says that the FCC is trying to "set important and complex regulatory policy by enforcement adjudication" through its series of consent decrees and enforcement advisories on Wi-Fi blocking.

The most recent was against M.C. Dean for allegedly blocking access dozens of times at the Baltimore Convention Center.

In a statement dissenting from that Enforcement Bureau decision, he said that while a strong supporter of Wi-Fi, he could not support the "expansive" reading of the statute.

"Section 333 prohibits willful or malicious interference 'to any radio communication of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act,'" he said. "There is no clear intent that Congress meant to ensnare Part 15 devices ['deauthentication technology to manage Wi-Fi systems'] when it used the word 'station.'"

He said that if such technology is considered a station, would it then be subject to foreign ownership restrictions or other rules.

O'Rielly said there are other questions better answered by seeking "congressional clarification" or through a "broad rulemaking."

He also said it was not clear how the FCC came up with the $718,000 proposed fine figure.

(Photo via Tsahi Levent-Levi's Flickr. Image taken on Nov. 3, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)