The World is Flat According to the FCC and CTIA: The Legal Argument Behind Jamming
By Howard Melamed
CEO CellAntenna Corporation
April 12, 2009
According to the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission and the CTIA, the organization representing the cell phone service providers, the world is flat. That means all of their thinking is based on their own defective physics and therefore they come up with wrong statements reflecting the flat world. Of course we all know that the world is in fact round and as such I am trying to get the FCC and the CTIA to see the light and update their way of thinking to modern times when it comes to jamming cell phones in a place where cell phones are illegal: Prisons. The 1934 Communication act is the basis for both the FCC and the CTIA’s medieval viewpoints. According to what congress passed in 1934, when there were no cell phones for that matter, only the federal government is allowed to interfere with radio frequency communication and State and local governments do not have the same right. Interfering was never specified as jamming. Back in those old days, when television did not even exist, radio transmitters were being set up around the country and were in fact interfering with each other based on output power. Even the police were on the AM band, FM was not even invented yet.
A radio station in New York could overpower a radio station in California on the AM band. Something needed to be done, and congress stepped in and passed the law. Every ruling that the FCC has made with regard to jamming equipment is based on this law. They claim that they cannot rule any different. The law is the law. Congress in enacting the law in 1934 could not possibly have predicted the our modern age of telecommunications with cell phones, , Al Qaida, remote triggering of explosive devices, or the ability for a criminal behind bars to arrange for the murder of a witness to his crime by simply dialing a cell phone and ordering the hit, as was the case in the murder of a Baltimore lady a few weeks ago. However congress was smart enough to set into course FCC commissioners with the future responsibility of making rules as congress put it “ In the best interest of the public”. How is it in the best interests of the public to allow cell phones in prisons and disallow our authorities the ability to defend the public against criminals? The FCC commissioners still live in a flat world of the past refusing to bring the will of congress into our round world.
My question which no one in the FCC has ever answered has always been whether or not congress was talking about legal communication or illegal communication when it comes to interference. There is a great distinction between the two. Of course congress meant that no one other than the feds can interfere with LEGAL communication. Why would anyone contemplate laws that are needed to regulate something that is illegal, like using a cell phone in a prison? Suppose I am a legal broadcasting radio station, and there is a pirate radio station 1 mile away which I am interfering with their radio frequency communication, am I in fact doing something illegal according to the 1934 act? Then there is the question of protection of the citizens of this country from criminal activity. Does the communications act supersede the rights of citizens to be protected from criminals behind bars?
Now we come to the flat world philosophy of the CTIA, the organization that represents the cellular providers like Sprint, Verizon, T Mobile and ATT. They claim that there is the ‘Slippery Slope’ in so far as if we allow jamming equipment into this country then everyone will use it and Grandma Betsy will not be able to make a 911 call when she sees a terrorist trying to break into her house. I am not trying to advocate the legality of any jamming equipment to be used by the public, including theaters, etc. In fact the FCC has not been doing their job in making sure the public does not get a hold of the jammers you can readily buy online. I am pushing not for an actual box that can be licensed, but rather for the acceptance of engineering parameters to be used in jamming only by our law enforcement including their bomb squads. (Yes it is illegal for them to jam as well). We need to increase the laws against the use of jammers by anyone other than law enforcement and really go after those that break the law.
The final point is why anyone would actually fight and to protect the inmate’s right to use an illegal communication device begs the statement “Show me the money". If in fact we can do what we have already proven we can, i.e.: jam only the prison and not the community, jam only the cellular frequency and not the public safety radios, then why does the CTIA still insist it cannot be done? I provided my best engineering calculations on the amount of money the carriers are making from illegal cell phones in prisons, which is approximately 4-5 billion dollars a year, and yet no one has even responded with any study or fact to the contrary. That is because what I say is in fact trouble for them, since what can they say? “It’s not 4 billion but only 2?” The underlying answer has to always be the motive of a crime. Cell phones should not have more rights than citizens. Criminals behind bars should not be able to use cell phones. Carriers should not be able to profit on criminal activity. It has to be about the money.
Until we can resolve this issue of protecting the public from cell phone activity behind bars, we cannot even contemplate closing Guantanamo Bay and transferring the terrorists to local and state prisons where they will have complete access to mobile phones. Perhaps the next 9/11 will be planned right under the very same institutions that are trying their very best to guard them. So the round world that I am living in is dealing with people that still see it flat. I cannot accept this of course.