The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it plans to issue the largest fine in its history against C.T.S. Technology Co., 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.
In its announcement of the pending record fine, the agency also warned U.S. Consumers that importing and/or operating a “signal Jammer” is illegal.
Signal jamming devices or “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.
The FCC said it 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 FCC’s 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. The FCC alleges that C.T.S. 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, the FCC said.
“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 said in its announcement of the record fine.