FCC has had enough with GPS and cell jammers

Did you know US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February announced [pdf] that they were going to step up their enforcement against GPS jammer devices? They want everyone to know that marketing, sale, and use of cellphone and GPS jammers is illegal. FCC considers these sorts of jammers a safety risk pointing out that they may stop someone in need placing a 911 call or prevent emergency responders from homing in on your location.

This issue has been on the rise since people started using them in classrooms, theaters, restaurants, or business meetings. FCC says:

A single violation of the jamming prohibition can result in tens of thousands of dollars in monetary penalties, seizure of the illegal device, and imprisonment.

If you know a person or a loved one that is using GPS jammers you can turn them in with the info on FCC’s Jammer Enforcement page or maybe show them this poster [pdf]. By the way – 48% of you think GPS jammers should be legal.

17 Responses to “FCC has had enough with GPS and cell jammers”

  1. Ricardo F Says:

    Turn in my mom ’cause the government wants me to? Right.

  2. Joe Says:

    I just bought one and plan to use it responsibly wherever I damn well please, particularly in movie theaters.

  3. TangRung Says:

    Wow, OK that really does make a LOT of sense dude.


  4. JLN Says:

    I can understand the debate over cell phone jammers but what possible “good” can come from legal jamming of GPS in the general public? GPS doesn’t interfere with anything whatsoever.

  5. Brandon Says:

    @Joe I hope they lock you up and throw away the key. They should charge you with murder if someone dies because an on-call doctor couldn’t be paged because of your illegal device.

    Shameful how narrowminded and selfish some people are.

  6. Albert DeSalvo Says:

    “Shameful how narrowminded and selfish some people are.”

    Yep. And they’re the ones yacking away nonnus-stoppus.

  7. michael Says:

    Believe it or not, doctors didn’t have cell phones 15 years ago and people still lived. Some people don’t even have phones today on which to call 911, and they still live, too.

    Jam away.

  8. Kevin Munoz Says:

    @Brandon: It makes you wonder just how in the world people survived before cell phones. I mean, if a doctor was on call and at a movie, how was he supposed to know there was an emergency without a phone handy? /sarcasm

  9. ted Says:

    Maybe the FCC ought to focus on why people buy jammers. Maybe people want some peace and quiet while eating or watching a movie. Maybe they are tired of idiots thinking it’s possible to safely drive and use the cell phone.

  10. Justin Says:

    Believe it or not, doctors didn’t have cell phones 15 years ago and people still lived. Some people don’t even have phones today on which to call 911, and they still live, too.

    They carried radio pages, and still do.

  11. Malcolm Says:

    Ironically, just underneath this article is a key word generated add selling – you guessed it – cell phone blockers. So should I report the advertiser, the ISP, NaviGadget, or all of them, for selling cell phone blockers while telling us about how the sale of cell phone blockers is illegal. ;-)

  12. Preston Says:

    @Justin, @Kevin…The doctor scenario is not quite as you would imply. Before Pagers and Cell-phones, when doctors couldn’t be contacted in emergencies, people *did* die because of the delay. When people couldn’t contact 911 from wherever they were…people did die because of the delay. As for doctors, the solution was fairly simple, always keep more doctors on hand than you would likely need. This isn’t efficient, however, and drives up cost. Allowing “on-call” emergency personnel to carry on with their non-work lives is an improvement. As for the likely counter-argument with the scenario of needing to call 911, just using landlines like before cell-phones: Have you noticed that publicly accessible landlines are now much less common, and rarely well-maintained? We have laws, we need to follow them. If you disagree with certain policies such as not allowing Cell-phone jammers, you need to address it in a legal manner that doesn’t risk random tragedy. I happen to think they *should* be allowed, but we need to develop policies for dealing with it(restrictions on power of jammers and testing of compliance, well-placed signs notifying of jammers, and nearby accessible public emergency land-lines, for example)

  13. miked Says:

    Where can I get one?

  14. Simba7 Says:

    So.. according so some people who thinks jammers should be legal..

    Hmm.. So I can jam any wireless communications device if I feel like it? So I can mess up your Digital TV feed, cell phone, pager, WiFi, or any other connection because I feel like it?

    I feel a huge lawsuit coming on.

  15. rondon Says:

    I can understand jails using them. But can’t see them useful for any other cirumstances.

    Good stuff illegalising them.

  16. dewdude Says:

    It’s like this..

    The FCC has always had a rule that states you CANNOT interfere with a licensed transmission…and technically…you cannot prohibit the reception of any signal.

    So jamming a cell phone signal is 100% illegal against even the most basic of FCC rules…it’s also a small loophole if you want to fight a state who outlaws radar detectors.

  17. Kenneth Says:

    I can fully understand where the theater lovers are coming from… It’s annoying and rude to yack away on your celly while people are trying to enjoy a movie.

    If a venue owner wants to block cell phone use, it is quite easy to do legally without compromising public safety.

    RF blocking paints applied to the interior surfaces of theater auditoriums will keep the yackers from using their cell phones for casual calls. If someone MUST make a call, they can go to the lobby.

    Install GPS-equipped femtocells which allow ONLY 911 calls.

    Two birds, one stone. I’m so smart. ;)

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