Chinese seller of signal 'jammers' faces $35 million U.S. fine

WASHINGTON, June 19 Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:44am EDT

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - Chinese electronics maker C.T.S. Technology Co Ltd will face the largest fine in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's history, of $34.9 million, for marketing illegal devices that block phone calls and other radio signals, the FCC said on Thursday.

U.S. law prohibits using, selling or marketing devices that block, jam or interfere with authorized radio signals such as telephone calls, GPS systems, Wi-Fi networks or first-responder communications.

U.S. regulators accuse C.T.S. of marketing 285 models of signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers on its website for more than two years, falsely claiming that certain jammers they were selling were actually approved by the FCC.

The Chinese company sold 10 high-powered signal jammers to undercover FCC personal, the agency said.

The FCC now plans to fine C.T.S. the maximum amount for each jammer model it allegedly marketed and request information about anyone who purchased C.T.S. jammer devices in the United States.

C.T.S. did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The use of signal "jammers" is allowed in the United States only in limited situations by federal law enforcement officials.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh)