A Melbourne man who deliberately disrupted a taxi company’s radiocommunications system using a non-standard radio transmitter, has been fined $3,500 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to three offences under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act).
The court finding follows an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority into allegations of radio interference at West Gippsland Taxis Pty Ltd. ACMA Inspectors found the defendant using a transmitter that he had modified to disrupt taxi operations and make frivolous calls to Triple Zero and the RACV using the taxi service’s frequency.
The defendant pleaded guilty to three breaches under the Act:
> operating a radiocommunications device without a licence (subsection 46(1) of the Act)
> causing a radio emission to be made by a transmitter knowing that it was a non-standard transmitter (section 157 of the Act)
> causing substantial disruption or disturbance of radiocommunications (section 197 of the Act).
‘In this case, the offender programmed a device to overcome security functions to deliberately disrupt radiocommunications services,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘Radiocommunications provide access to critical emergency and community services and the ACMA will not tolerate intentional non-compliance.’
Non-standard radiocommunications devices were an ACMA Priority Compliance Area for 2013-14. The public should be aware that operating modified or non-standard radio transmitters can cause interference to radiocommunications, and the operator may incur significant penalties. More information is available here.
This case follows recent enforcement action taken against two security companies found operating radiocommunications devices without a licence.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch, on (02) 9334 7817, 0434 567 391 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media release 62/2014 - 26 September
The ACMA manages and regulates the radiofrequency spectrum in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act). Access to the radiofrequency spectrum is facilitated by the ACMA through the issue of radiocommunications licences.
In Australia, the operation of all radiocommunications transmitters must be authorised by a licence. Radiocommunications systems like that operated by West Gippsland taxi services are authorised by an apparatus licence issued by the ACMA.
Transmitting on a frequency without a licence or operating a radio that has been modified may give rise to a range of offences, including:
> unlawful operation of a radiocommunications device (subsection 46(1) of the Act)
> causing a radio emission made by a transmitter knowing that it was a non-standard device (section 157 of the Act).
If the frequency being transmitted on is licensed to another entity, this may also give rise to the offence of causing substantial disruption or disturbance of radiocommunications (section 197 of the Act).
The ACMA provides information and guidance about radiocommunications devices and licensing arrangements on the ACMA website:
> Apparatus licences
> Radiocommunications regulatory arrangements.