Florida man, Chinese biz fined $48k, $35m on mobe signal jam raps

Wham, jam, pay Uncle Sam

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a Florida chap and a Chinese business over cellphone jamming boxes.

The watchdog said it will try to extract [PDF] $34.9m from Shenzhen-based retailer CTS Technologies for marketing illegal jammers and, in a separate case, will fine [PDF] a bloke $48,000 for using a jammer in his car.

Signal jammers, which block people in the vicinity from using their mobile phones, are illegal to use in the US on the grounds that, for one thing, they block folks from being able to access emergency service numbers.

The commission says that it will be asking CTS to pay $34.9m in penalties over charges it marketed and sold 285 different models of signal jammers to customers in the US. The company is charged with violating Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 [PDF].

"In today's mobile world, cellular, GPS, and other signal jamming devices seriously jeopardize communications, business operations, and public safety," FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc said in announcing the fine.

"Marketing or selling these devices to the public is unlawful and comes with substantial penalties."

The FCC says that it has not yet been able to contact CTS to deliver notification of its decision.

The same rules are being used by the FCC to levy a fine of $48,000 against Jason Humphreys of Seffner, Florida. The FCC said in 2014 that 62-year-old Humphreys used the jammer during his commute to and from work in Tampa.

Along the way, the FCC charges, he prevented other drivers from being able to reach emergency services had there been a serious accident. The commission is seeking the $48,000 fine for what it says are repeated infractions over the course of two years, adding that Humphreys has given the regulator the silent treatment over the past two years. ®

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