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February 9, 2011
Enforcement Advisory No. 2011-03
CELL JAMMERS, GPS JAMMERS, and OTHER JAMMING DEVICES
Retailers Advised that the Marketing or Sale of Devices Designed to Block,
or Interfere with Authorized Radio Communications Is Strictly Prohibited
in the U.S.
Enforcement Bureau Takes Action Against the Retail Sale of Jammers
In order to prevent harmful interference to critical public safety
communications and authorized radio services, federal law prohibits the
marketing and sale of "jammers," i.e., equipment designed to intentionally
block, jam, or interfere with licensed or authorized radio communications.
This longstanding prohibition applies to any type of jamming equipment,
including devices that interfere with cellular and Personal Communications
Services (PCS), police radar, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and
wireless networking services (Wi-Fi).
Jammers not only disrupt authorized radio services, but also jeopardize
critical public safety communications, such as 9-1-1 calls, and could
compromise law enforcement efforts. Ensuring the public's access to these
vital services is critically important, and the Enforcement Bureau is
committed to strict enforcement in this area. Recently, for example, the
Bureau: issued seven citations requiring well-known online retailers of
cell phone jammers to come into immediate compliance; launched a
proceeding to revoke the equipment authorization for a device that is
being marketed in the United States as a text stopper; and initiated a
$25,000 forfeiture proceeding against Phonejammer.com for marketing cell
phone jammers in the United States. A complete list of jammer enforcement
actions is available at www.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement.
What is Prohibited? Federal law prohibits the manufacture, marketing, and
operation of jammers in the United States. As to operation, section 333
of the Communications Act prohibits "willful or malicious" interference to
authorized radio communications, and thus prohibits the operation of
jammers. As to manufacture and marketing, section 302(b) of the
Communications Act and section 2.803 of the Commission's rules prohibit
the manufacture, import, sale, offer for sale, or shipment of devices that
do not comply with the FCC's rules. In turn, the FCC prohibits the
marketing of radio frequency devices in the United States unless the
devices are properly authorized or meet other applicable requirements.
Jammers, by definition, can never be authorized because they are designed
to interfere with authorized radio communications. Therefore, they cannot
be marketed in the United States (except in the very limited context of
authorized use by the U.S. government).
What Should Manufacturers and Retailers Do to Comply? Manufacturers and
retailers of electronic equipment should take the following steps:
* Immediately stop marketing within the United States any equipment that
is designed to block, jam, or otherwise interfere with authorized
* Decline to sell or ship such jamming devices to addresses in the
United States and its territories (except in the case of permitted
sales to the U.S. government).
* Ensure that any jamming devices manufactured in the United States are
available solely for export and are not for sale domestically except
to the U.S. government. We note that U.S. manufacturers should be
aware that jammers may be unlawful in other countries.
We emphasize that it is insufficient and misleading for manufacturers and
retailers to include a disclaimer on their websites or in promotional or
advertising materials stating or implying that U.S. consumers bear sole
responsibility for complying with the applicable legal obligations. Such
disclaimers are misleading because they fail to disclose that the
manufacturer or retailer is also violating the law both by offering the
device for sale to U.S. customers and completing the sale transaction. Use
of disclaimers that purport to place the sole burden on the buyer cannot
absolve the manufacturer or retailer of liability.
What Are the Penalties that Apply? Unlawfully marketing jammers in the
United States may result in monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each
violation or each day of a continuing violation, and up to $112,500 for a
single violation, seizure of the unlawful equipment, and criminal
sanctions including imprisonment. The Enforcement Bureau remains committed
to strict enforcement in this area.
Need more information? To file a complaint, visit www.fcc.gov/complaints
or call 1-888-CALL-FCC. For additional information regarding compliance
with and enforcement of the Commission's equipment marketing rules as they
apply to jamming devices, please visit www.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement or
contact Kevin Pittman or Neal McNeil of the Enforcement Bureau at (202)
418-1160 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Media inquiries should be directed to
David Fiske at (202) 418-0513 or David.Fiske@fcc.gov.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to
email@example.com or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202)
418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact the
Enforcement Bureau on its TTY line at (202) 418-1148 for further
information about this Enforcement Advisory, or the FCC on its TTY line at
1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) for further information about the jamming
Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau
See Sale or Use of Transmitters Designed to Prevent, Jam or Interfere with
Cell Phone Communications is Prohibited in the United States, Public
Notice, DA 05-1776 (2005); Office Of Engineering and Technology and
Compliance and Information Bureau Warn Against the Manufacture,
Importation, Marketing or Operation of Transmitters Designed to Prevent or
Otherwise Interfere with Cellular Radio Communications, Public Notice, DA
See DealExtreme, Citation, DA 11-248 (2011); Share Enterprises Unlimited,
Inc., Citation, DA 11-247 (2011); Comtrex Communications, Ltd., Citation,
DA 11-135 (2011); DeadlyDeal.com, Citation, DA 11-125 (2011); New Century
Technology Limited, Citation, DA 11-98 (2011); Everybuying.com, Citation,
DA 10-2295 (2010); Jammer World/TheJammerStore.com, Citation, DA 10-2240
(2010) (all noting that future violations could lead to forfeitures).
See Shenzhen Tangreat Technology Co., Ltd., Order to Show Cause and Notice
of Opportunity for Hearing, DA 11-246, (2011) (proposing both revocation
and forfeiture liability and directing Shenzhen to respond within 30
See Phonejammer.com, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA
See 47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 302a(b). Two statutory exceptions include
manufacture solely for export and use by the U.S. Government. See 47
U.S.C. S: 302a(c); 47 C.F.R. S: 2.807(a)-(d). Marketing is defined as the
"sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, including advertising for
sale or lease, or importation, shipment, or distribution for the purpose
of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease." 47 C.F.R. S:
See 47 U.S.C. S: 333. See also 47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 302a(b). See also
CONSUMERS BEWARE: It is Unlawful to Use "Cell Jammers" and Other Equipment
that Blocks, Jams, or Interferes with Authorized Radio Communications in
the U.S., FCC Enforcement Advisory, DA 11-250 (2011).
See 47 U.S.C. S: 302a(b); 47 C.F.R. S: 2.803.
See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. S: 2.803(c)-(d).
See 47 U.S.C. S: 302a(c); 47 C.F.R. S: 2.807(d).
See 47 U.S.C. S:S: 401, 501, 503, 510; 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(b)(3).
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FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500