ACMA Revisits Jamming Mobile Phones

In 1999, ACMA outlawed mobile phone jamming devices, but are now revisiting the issue – with good cause.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is reviewing mobile phone jamming regulations in order to seek views on a proposal to trial devices at the Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

The ACMA has released a public discussion paper reviewing the scope and application of the Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition and the regulation of mobile phone jammers in general. The paper also provides background on the trial of mobile phone jammers at the Lithgow Correctional Centre that has been proposed by the NSW Government.

“It is often not appreciated, but there are important issues involved in weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of allowing jamming of mobile telephone networks,” said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. “There are obvious circumstances where there would be clear public benefit in inhibiting the use of mobile phones to prevent criminal and potentially life-threatening activities. At the same time, the use of jammers may have implications for the integrity of mobile networks, including the use of Triple Zero and associated safety-of-life issues.

“In light of the substantial issues raised in the discussion paper, the period of consultation will be three months. It is important to provide sufficient time for all interested parties to consider and respond to the issues raised in the discussion paper.”