The Federal Communications Commission plans to issue the largest fine in its history against C.T.S. Technology Co., Limited, a Chinese electronics manufacturer and online retailer, for allegedly marketing 285 models of signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers for more than two years.
The FCC applied the maximum fine allowed to each jammer model allegedly marketed by C.T.S., resulting in a planned fine of $34,912,500.
“All companies, whether domestic or foreign, are banned from marketing illegal jammers in the U.S.,” said Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “Signal jammers present a direct danger to public safety, potentially blocking the communications of first responders. Operating a jammer is also illegal, and consumers who do so face significant civil and criminal penalties.”
C.T.S. operates a website that markets consumer electronics to individuals in the United States, where it allegedly misled U.S. consumers by falsely claiming that certain signal jammers were approved by the FCC. In fact, the use of such devices by U.S. consumers is illegal under any circumstance. C.T.S. also sold 10 high-powered signal jammers to undercover FCC personnel.
The FCC also is ordering C.T.S. to cease marketing illegal signal jammers to U.S. consumers and provide information to the FCC about any persons and entities in the United Sates that purchased its devices.
Signal jammers are radio frequency transmitters that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized communications, such as cellphone calls, GPS systems, Wi-Fi networks, and first responder communications. It is a violation of federal law to market, sell, import, or use a signal jammer in the United States and its territories, except in very limited circumstances involving federal law enforcement.
The FCC is asking people to report the sale or use of an illegal jammer by contacting the FCC Enforcement Bureau through the FCC online complaint portal, or by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (or 1-888-225-5322). To voluntarily relinquish a signal jammer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information, including the FCC Consumer Alert on the jamming prohibitions and the FCC Enforcement Advisory to retailers regarding the marketing of illegal signal jammers, is available at www.fcc.gov/jammers.
The FCC enforcement action against C.T.S. is available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-14-92A1.pdf.