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Is Cell Phone Jamming Legal?

Is Cell Phone Jamming Legal?

Cell phone jammers are radio communication blocking devices that are employed in mobile phones. There are many legal issues in using them. To know about these legal problems, read this article.
OpinionFront Staff
Cell phone jammer is a device that blocks the incoming and outgoing calls in a cell phone. The range that is covered by it depends upon the model. It is designed to preserve industrial security, to prevent interference with equipment found in airplanes, refueling stations, hospitals etc. This jamming device blocks the communication between mobile phones and cellular base stations. Using it is not legal in many countries. The main reasons why many governments are banning cell phone jammers are:
1. Property theft - Radio Spectrum allotted by the government for radiocommunication, should not be stolen.
2. Safety hazards - All calls will be blocked if jammers are employed, including emergency calls.
Legal Issues Concerning Cell Phone Jammers
There are legal issues involved in using and selling cell phone jammers. It is legal with some restrictions in a few countries however, illegal in countries like US, UK, Australia etc. Some of the radiocommunication services that are affected by these devices are:
  • Multichannel voice communication that use point-to-point data transmission
  • Broadcasting links
  • Studio-to-transmitter links
  • Cordless telephones
  • Wireless LANs
  • Low-power devices
United States of America
They are illegal  in the US. The Federal Communication Commission of United States, outlawed the use and sale of cell phone jammers. The spectrum of the air waves is licensed and using it, is illegal. According to the section 302 a(b) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, FCC declared that cell phone blocking is illegal. The section 333 of Communications Act of 1934, strictly declares that "no person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed". A cell phone jammer is one of the devices mentioned in this act. The main reason why cell phones are made illegal by FCC is because many cell phones are used to call 911 services during emergency. The requirements of Enhanced 911 regulations of FCC "are intended to improve the reliability of wireless 911 services, by requiring wireless carriers to provide emergency dispatchers information on the location from which a wireless call is being made". However, these devices are used by police and military forces. If a person in the US, illegally possesses it, he will fined with $11,000 or 1 year imprisonment.
Australia
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is a government organization that regulates radio communication and telecommunications of the country. ACS declared the prohibition of mobile phone jammers working under certain frequency bands. ACS declared the prohibited communication device as a "device designed to operate within the frequency bands 870-960 MHz or 825-845 MHz and to interfere with radio communications or disrupt or disturb radio communications". Under the Radio communications Act 1992, the person who illegally possesses such a device will be fined up to $165,000 or 2 years imprisonment.
United Kingdom
According to the sections 1 and 13 of the 1949 telegraphy act, they are prohibited in the UK. Military and government departments of the UK, use cell phone jammers only after getting authorization from the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom).
Country Legality
Armenia Legal
Belgium Illegal
Canada Illegal
People's Republic of China Used only by the Education Department of the government
Czech Republic Illegal
Denmark Illegal
Finland Illegal
France Legally used in movie theaters and in jails
Germany Illegal
India legal
Iran Illegal to operate for civilians
Ireland Illegal
Italy Illegal but used in certain places
Japan Illegal to use but legal to own
Mexico legal in jails and it is used inside churches and hospitals
New Zealand Illegal but used inside jails
Norway Illegal
Pakistan Illegal without Networks Operation Center (NOC)
Poland Illegal to use in public
Slovakia Illegal
Sweden Illegal but used in jails
Switzerland Illegal
Turkey Illegal
Ukraine legal
There are a few technical alternatives to cell phone jammers. Some of them are micro-cells, handset disablers etc. Through SIM-blocking or IMEI blocking, cell phone communication can be blocked. Communication authorities in many countries don't find any necessity in making these devices legal. Also, it is accepted that, banning their usage by civilians has several technical and safety reasons.