America's comms watchdog, the FCC, has ordered a bloke in Brooklyn, New York, to turn off his cryptocurrency miner – after the box interfered with nearby T-Mobile US cellphone towers.
According to an official complaint [PDF] sent late last week, the regulator accused a fella called Victor Rosario of disrupting his neighborhood's cellular coverage with an Antminer S5 box.
The FCC said that in November of last year, agents from its New York office determined the box, designed to churn out Bitcoins and similar cyber-dosh, was emitting noise in the same 700MHz band that T-Mob US uses for its cellular network.
Disrupting wireless radio services – including mobile phone networks – is a violation of FCC rules.
Now, the regulator says, Rosario will have to turn off the box until it can be fixed (or replaced) with a unit that does not cause interference. The commission noted that the issue may well have been a problem with Rosario's specific unit.
"This Notification of Harmful Interference is addressed to the particular device at issue, not its brand or model and is not meant to suggest or find that all Antminer S5 devices are noncompliant," the FCC said in a footnote on the order.
"Further, although we are aware that even compliant devices can be modified in a manner that creates harmful interference, we make no finding as to whether this particular device conforms to its original manufacturer’s specifications."
Antminer maker Bitmain did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Either way, the FCC says running the device will be a violation of federal laws and will put Rosario at risk of fines or a stretch behind bars.
In addition to turning off his coin miner until it can be fixed or replaced, the comms body is also asking Rosario to provide it with specs of the device (including serial number and where he purchased the device) as well as confirmation on whether or not he is still using the device and what steps he plans to take to prevent interference in the future. ®