“The Federal Communications Commission fined Rocky Mountain Radar for producing two types of police radar jammers. The Commission alleged that the jammers harmfully interfered with authorized radio communications – a violation of FCC regulations,” begins this opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued today. As framed, the issue “is whether C450 and S201 are ‘intentional radiators’ under the Commission’s regulations.”
The Commission ran three tests on each of the jammers, and Rocky Mountain Radar argues that the tests’ results do not provide sufficient evidence for summary judgment – and neither do the Commission’s conclusory interpretations of those results. One test involved a police radar gun aimed at a jammer-equipped car as it drove down the road. According to the company, the police radar machine correctly read the car’s speed, so the jammer must not interfere with police radar – and cannot be an intentional radiator.
Ultimately, though, no issues of material fact remain that the jammers fit the regulatory definition of intentional radiators – notwithstanding the possibility of either the jammers’ inefficacy or the inconclusiveness of any test results. Rocky Mountain Radar’s founder and owner admitted – both in an expert report and at deposition – that the jammers work by receiving a radar signal, mixing the signal with an audio frequency, and through an antenna reflecting the new conglomerate signal back to the police unit. Jammers that function in this way meet the regulatory definition of an intentional radiator – something the company has known since the 10th Circuit twelve years ago handed down its decision in Rocky Mountain Radar.
The court of appeals concluded that no dispute of material fact existed about whether Rocky Mountain Radar’s unlicensed police jammers generate and emit radio energy:
The company designed its jammers to interfere with police radio communications, and – by obstructing law enforcement’s effort to keep our roads free from careless drivers – the company endangers the public’s safety. The Commission’s regulations expressly forbid all of this. The district court did not err in granting summary judgment to the Commission and ordering the company to pay the forfeiture.
I wonder if Radar Mountain Radar’s attorneys are saying, “The court’s fast-and-furious analysis of the FCC regulations has created mixed signals”?
Or something like that.