A French dad faces jail time and a big fine after shutting down the whole town’s internet using a signal jammer to prevent his kids from going online.
Starting at midnight until 3am every day of the week, the whole French town found that their mobile and internet service was no longer working.
Someone in the village reported the issue to Agency Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR), a public agency responsible for managing the radioelectric spectrum in France after finding they couldn’t access any apps after midnight.
It was then determined that a signal jammer was being used to block radio frequencies in the town.
A signal jammer is a device that transmits radio waves on the same frequency as mobile devices to prevent them from connecting to cell towers and receiving legitimate signals.
The official report from the ANFR explains that a technician traced the signal to a house in the neighbouring town where the homeowner admitted to purchasing a jammer online and using it to force his teenagers offline when they were meant to be in bed.
"The explanation was disconcertingly simple: the jammer had been installed by the father of the family to prevent his teenagers from accessing the internet with their smartphone instead of falling asleep!
His children had indeed become addicted to social networks and other applications, in particular since the confinement imposed due to the epidemic of Covid-19," ANFR explained in their report.
"After consulting forums on the internet, the father decided that a jammer was the best solution to put an end to these excesses!”
It was not the intent of the father to take down an entire town’s Internet, using a jamming device in France is illegal and carries a penalty of up to a €30,000 fine and 6 months in jail.
It is also illegal in the USA and could lead to imprisonment and significant fines.
"The use or marketing of a jammer in the United States may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of the unlawful equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment." explains an FCC enforcement alert about jamming.
The ANFR reported the use of the jammer to the police, who has seized the device and it investigating the offence.
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