FCC Goes After Phone Jammer

Responding to complaints from AT&T mobility regarding interference, the Dallas Office of the FCC discovered a 5W cell phone jammer in operation at the Cosmetology Career Center in Carrollton, TX. Judging by the enforcement letter, there appears to be no indication that the folks at the Cosmetology Career Center received anything more than a warning – though there could have been a subsequent letter missed in my search. The FCC could have imposed fines of as much as $11,000. Instead, the FCC went after the manufacturer, Phonejammer. Additional details are available at Ars Technica and at the CommLawBlog.

The cell phone jammer controversy raises interesting issues. The jammer ban is typically justified because cell phone jammers might interfere with vital emergency calls. Ironically, however, there appears to be no provision in the law against shielding or blocking signals to achieve the same effect as jamming. This is perhaps because from a practical point-of-view, a cell-phone-signal-proof screen is far more challenging and difficult to implement than a jammer.

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