26 February 2011

Mobile Jamming

Last year I noted consultation by the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) regarding mobile phone jammers.

ACMA has now made a formal Declaration under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Cth) prohibiting the supply, possession and operation of jamming devices that "are likely to substantially interfere with public mobile telecommunication services (PMTS)", including 3G networks and equivalent services such as mobile WiMAX.

The Radiocommunications (Prohibition of PMTS Jamming Devices) Declaration 2011 under s190 of the Act replaces the mobile phone jamming prohibition made in 1999.

ACMA's 2010 review last year of the effectiveness of that prohibition found that although the prohibition of jamming devices remains necessary, updates to the prohibition were required to address technological change that has occurred since 1999.

ACMA chair Chris Chapman commented that -
In making the new prohibition, the ACMA notes the continued need for appropriate regulatory arrangements that protect PMTS from unwanted and potentially harmful interference. It is vital that people can access the emergency call service, as well as receive warning messages in times of emergency.
The new Declaration includes a definition of "PMTS jamming device" in order to clearly identify the types of prohibited devices. The exemption of on-board systems used to provide mobile communication services on aircraft has been retained.