The ACMA is continuing the priority compliance area (PCA) program, with the following areas the main focus in 2013–14:
- radiocommunications standards compliance
- illegal mobile phone repeaters
- prohibited devices—mobile phone and GPS jammers.
In deciding the priorities for technical regulation, we gather appropriate evidence through intelligence-gathering mechanisms, analysis and risk assessment.
We have adopted a holistic approach to our PCA program—seeking to educate individuals about the law (before non-compliance has occurred) and using traditional enforcement methods when necessary (after the law has been broken). This end-to-end view enables us to extend our regulatory reach in an effective and targeted way.
However, we will continue to investigate and respond to high-risk issues that fall outside these priorities on a case-by-case basis.
Radiocommunications standards compliance
The proliferation of international trade, primarily over the internet, makes it easier for Australian individuals and businesses to buy radiocommunications devices from overseas suppliers. But devices purchased this way are highly unlikely to have been tested to the applicable Australian technical standard(s).
Supplying, operating and possessing (for the purposes of operation) a non-standard device is an offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992.
Under section 162 of the Act, the ACMA can make technical standards mandatory for radiocommunications devices. From a regulatory perspective, technical standards help to:
- protect the health and safety of users of the radiofrequency spectrum
- manage the risk of interference to radiocommunications services
- fulfil the ACMA’s role of managing and ensuring maximum public benefit from use of the radiofrequency spectrum.
The ACMA has responded to a number of interference cases where an imported radiocommunications device was operating on an incorrect frequency and adversely affecting mobile phone services—which provide a vital link to emergency call services, especially during life-threatening and time-critical situations.
Radiocommunications standards compliance can cover a broad range of matters. The ACMA is concentrating its efforts on devices operating on the incorrect frequency and the systemic modification and importation of radiocommunications equipment that is frequency-agile and non-standard.
Further information about technical standards can be found here.
Illegal mobile phone repeaters and prohibited devices
Illegal mobile phone repeaters and prohibited devices—mobile phone and GPS jammers—were PCAs in 2012–13. As these devices continue to present a high risk to public safety and the integrity of the radiofrequency spectrum, the ACMA will continue to target these devices.
More info about prohibited devices is available here and for illegal repeaters visit here and here.
Want to stay informed? Follow @acma_operations on Twitter for updates on the PCA program.