(NEXSTAR) – A father in Messanges, France, could face jail time after an attempt to keep his kids off the web after hours inadvertently left his neighborhood without internet and telephone service. All because he says they’re addicted to social media.
According to French outlet France Bleu, the man – whose name has not been released – used a wave scrambler to block his home’s internet service between midnight and 3 a.m. Unbeknownst to him, however, the multi-band jammer resulted in a slew of complaints from people in the area.
The Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR), the government’s frequency agency, began an investigation in the middle of the night, where ANFR agents pinpointed odd frequency bands coming from a house near the village’s coast. Agents returned in the morning and the father admitted to using a scrambler, which he didn’t know were illegal.
He now faces up to six months in prison and/or a fine of €30,000 (about $34,000 USD).
The ANFR explains the radius of jammers is often wider than people think they would be. Residents of neighboring towns even reported disruptions in their service.
Signal jammers are also illegal to use, manufacture and sell in the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission says they can pose serious safety risks by blocking 9-1-1 and other emergency services. Did you know? Local government agencies are also prohibited from using them. The FCC says federal agencies may use them in certain situations with authorization.
If you think your signals may be jammed in your area – and after troubleshooting with your phone/internet providers – you can report complaints directly to the FCC for investigation.