Last week, the FCC for the first time proposed to fine companies for using mobile phone signal jamming devices.  The FCC found that two entities, Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing, Inc. and The Supply Room, Inc., willfully and repeatedly imported and operated multiple illegal mobile phone signal jammers in the U.S.  Although the FCC in the past had issued warnings against such conduct, as well as citations and fines for importing and marketing these devices, this was the first time the FCC resorted to fining users of these devices.

Signal jammers operate by transmitting powerful radio signals that overpower or interfere with authorized communications.  Federal law prohibits the importation, operation, marketing, or sale of any type of signal jamming equipment, including devices that interfere with cellular and Personal Communication Services, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi communications in the U.S. According to the FCC, jammers not only impede authorized communications, they also disrupt public safety communications.

The FCC proposed to fine Taylor Oilfield $126,000 and Supply Room $144,000 for their violations, and warned that fines in the future may be higher.

Under the FCC’s rules, Taylor Oilfield and Supply Room have an opportunity respond to and contest the proposed fines by May 9, 2013.