December 1, 2006 4:00 AM PST

Company challenges FCC rules on cell phone-jamming gear

Related Stories

Moviegoing Chatty Cathys to face new deterrent

November 30, 2006

France fries cell phones

October 13, 2004

(continued from previous page)

While federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI or the Department of the Treasury are allowed by law to use cell phone-jamming equipment, Lamita said, it makes more sense for local police departments to have access to this equipment because they are often the first agents on the scene during a bust.

"We work as a team with federal officials," he said. "When the FBI plans a bust, they don't show up with a SWAT team of their own. They deputize the local authorities to help them execute the raid. And we're the ones that go in first."

"Local law enforcement is a logical place to begin the discussion of who should have access to this technology."
--Howard Melamed, CEO of CellAntenna

But loosening restrictions on who is able to jam or block cell phone signals could be a slippery slope, considering that commercial entities as well as individuals who find it annoying to listen to people gabbing on their cell phones in public may want to disrupt cell phone signals. For example, movie theaters may want to use the technology to keep people from receiving calls during a film. Restaurants or commuter-train services also may want to limit the use of cell phones.

Melamed said he doesn't expect the FCC to allow just anyone to jam cell phone signals, but to simply allow local law enforcement officials to buy valuable tools for fighting crime.

"We don't want thousands of people running around pressing a button to wipe out cell phone signals," he said. "Local law enforcement is a logical place to begin the discussion of who should have access to this technology. Then we can look at other places where it might make sense to use it in a controlled setting."

Melamed also said that the technology used to jam signals would not interfere with most cell phone subscribers' service, because the signals used to jam the cell phone reception is targeted and localized to affect only a certain area.

The company offers three models of devices used for jamming cell phone signals. The CJAM 100 is a low-power, portable personal jamming device that blocks signals in a 15-meter radius. The CJAM 500 has a range of up to 30 meters. It's intended to block signals within a single room. The CJAM 1000 is a high-powered device that can block up to three microwave frequencies within a half-mile radius.

CellAntenna is not asking for monetary damages in its lawsuit. It simply hopes the court will find the FCC's regulations and the 1934 act unconstitutional.

Still, a judgment in CellAntenna's favor could mean big bucks for the company. CellAntenna already sells its gear to some federal agencies, including the Secret Service. Opening up the sale of its equipment, which goes for about $15,000 apiece, to thousands of local and state agencies across the country would be a boon for business. CellAntenna wouldn't be the only company to benefit. Other large companies including Motorola, Tyco and Honeywell also provide radio frequency-jamming equipment.

The FCC declined to comment on the lawsuit. The agency has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. But a representative confirmed that CellAntenna has never attempted to go through the agency's procedural channels to have its rules on cell phone jamming changed. CellAntenna could have filed a petition for rule-making with the FCC, which would likely have opened the question to the public of whether to sell jamming equipment to local and state agencies. The five commissioners of the FCC would have then voted.

Jeffrey Sarrow, the attorney arguing the case for CellAntenna, said he advised his client to sue the government rather than petition the FCC because he believed it would result in a quicker outcome. That said, the case was originally filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida in April of this year. The judge ruled the case was not in the proper court, and so the case was refiled in the appellate court. The case could take up to a year to be argued and for a decision to be handed down from the appeals court.

Previous page
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
law enforcement agency, homeland security, gear, terrorist attack, equipment

2 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Thanks for the info,just what I need,it would be extremely useful.Cell phone jammers are inexpensive and should be implemented in prison. This would require a change in laws allowing such devices. The benefits are well worth it. more related info you can visit
http://www.espow.com/jammers/security-surveillance-jammer.html
Posted by DVRnancy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I like on "High Tech Ridge" a repidly growing suburb of a rapidly growing hip high tech city. On the nearby main artery , Parmer Lane, a 6 lane divided highways there are 2 large Dell factories (ther must be twenty in a 10 mile radius), and the closest is a gigantic Samsung chip fabe plant. My house is maybe 300 yds from the edge of the Samsung property which has been granted special security status by the Dept of Home Defense. You are not allowed to take pictures of any part of the complex even from across the street and not on their property. This security insanity includes pictures of fences or patches of grass on the Samsung property. You have no civil rights according to the security guards who wo descend on you as soon as you step out or your car with a camera even if you are 50 feet from the Samsung property. The stomps on my my civil right in such a gross and unjustified manner if defies all reason and any semblance of common sense. There is not a single law in thie country that prohibits photography of anything when you are on public property. The streets are clearly public property property. The government has simply gone way too far in violating our civilr rights whenever they damned well please. They give 9/11 as an excuse, but since it has been 10 years since a success full attack on US soil, that is totally lame, especially when the evidence is mounting that Bush conspired with the Saudis to "allow" 9/11 to get the American people riled up enough to support a war in the middle east. So there was no random terrorist attack in the first place, the President and a few people in the CIA knew about from the moment the plan began. When astute agents discovered unusual data about the eventual perps, that information was conveniently was lost or evaluated and determined to be insignificant by supervisors, many agents quit because they were doing good work and they knew it. They also instinctively knew that something nefarious was going on and they didn't want to be par of it , because of potential for being blamed. So many good veteran agent quit.
But that not my current complaint. Samsung's jamming of all frequencies plays havok with my high tech equipment. No Bluetoothe gadget have ever worked, and I have spent hundreds of hours troubleshooting several products. I addition there are times when my wife cannot reach me by either my T-mobile of Spring 4G android phones. I have made multiple trips to the vendors and the phones have be repaired and replaced even though neither compaany ever found anything but very minor problems problems, non of which accounted for the erratic behavior of the phones.
Now, the important part: I am 64 years old and was forced to retire becuase of medical problems and I have been declared permanent disabled. I must have have reliable communication for access to emergency medical care or I could die. Does Samsung's really NEED to jam my cill phones which are a
substantial didtance from thier plant? I don't think so, I don't think they could defend the policy and esxtreme application of it in a wrongfulll death suit. How many people have to die as a result of their careless "overjamming" before they change their ridiculous policy in the first place???
What can I do to get them to modify their signal strength so I am not endangered? Or has the federal government given them permisssion to stomp all over my rights just as they do? Does the Constitution mean anything to any boby in government anymor???. Sadly, the answer appears to be that the constitution means nothing almost on a daily basis?
Morris Creedon-McVean, D.O.
16426 Timber Heights
Austin, Texas 78754

A














substantial distance





MN



...

















a

d

ro

anything wwhen
Posted by Mogenie (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.