Australia’s radiocommunications network is much safer following the destruction of nearly 100 prohibited devices commonly referred to as mobile phone and GPS ‘jammers’. The devices were seized from international mail shipments over seven months.
Jammers can substantially disrupt radiocommunications and pose a high risk to the integrity of the Australian radiofrequency spectrum, as well as public safety and access to emergency services. In September 2012, the ACMA announced that prohibited devices would be a priority compliance area for 2012–13.
International retailers offering to supply jammers to Australians are the major source of prohibited devices. Working with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australia Post and other mail carriers, the ACMA has restricted the number of prohibited devices being imported into Australia.
According to the ACMA’s Mark Loney, ‘If you try to bring a prohibited device into Australia, it can be seized under arrangements that the ACMA has established with other agencies. And anyone found possessing or operating a prohibited device faces substantial penalties’.
If a person operates, possesses (for the purpose of operation or supply) or supplies a prohibited device, they could be imprisoned for two years. A body corporate may receive a penalty of up to $255,000 (1,500 penalty units).
There could be more substantial penalties, such as receiving a five-year prison sentence or penalty of up to $850,000 (5,000 penalty units) for causing substantial interference to radiocommunications used by emergency services (such as fire, police and ambulance) and other special organisations. And these aren’t the only penalties that could apply.
Targeting prohibited devices has demanded an agile approach to compliance. Our activities also include preventative (education/awareness) and enforcement measures. This has helped to restrict the supply of jammers to the local market, forcing consumers to turn to online sources for devices that are often seized before reaching their destination.
The ACMA will continue to target prohibited devices like jammers. You can read more about these devices on our website.