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David Vs Goliath: Coral Springs Firm Takes on the FCC

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Coral Springs Fl  – April 17, 2006 –  CellAntenna Corporation headquartered in Coral Springs Florida, announced today the filing of an action in the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida challenging a law enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prohibit the use of cellular and radio frequency jamming equipment by state and local governments.

CellAntenna argues that several sections of the Federal Communications Act (FCA) of 1934 violate the 14th amendment of the Constitution and conflict with both the public interest and the wishes of Congress. Additionally, the FCC rules put at risk the lives of first responders and the public in the event of a terrorist attack using a remote controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED).

“To not allow first responders, state and local law enforcement officers the option of using this technology in the event of a terrorist threat or attack places the physical safety of the public, as well as that of our protectors, in jeopardy,” noted Howard Melamed, Founder and CEO of CellAntenna. “This is about saving lives. Government Acts should further the public interests and in a post-9/11 world, radio frequency jamming technology is a crucially important tool in the fight against terrorism.”

Section 302 of the FCA of 1934 limits the state and local use of cellular and radio jamming devices, granting use of such equipment solely to the federal government. While originally intended to preserve open airways within the U.S., the current interpretations of the FCA prohibit state and local emergency responders from arming themselves with jamming equipment that could be used in the event of a terrorist attack. CellAntenna argues that this position conflicts with the 2002 Homeland Security Act (HSA) on the need for emergency responders to use new technologies to defend the U.S. against terrorist threats. Radio Frequency jamming equipment obstructs radio and cellular frequencies and prevents a device from receiving signals. Increasingly, insurgent groups in Iraq and terrorist cells abroad have begun to turn to cellular-triggered explosives as a means of attacking civilian and military targets. Armed with cellular jamming technology, emergency first responders – almost always state and local personnel – could quickly eliminate risks posed by cellular- or radio-triggered explosives and limit further detonations immediately following an attack. The 1934 Act, however, keeps state and local officials from having access to the technology.

“The provisions of the 1934 Act and FCC regulations that prohibit the sale of jamming devices to state and local law enforcement agencies are not rationally related to legitimate government interest, therefore violating the due process clause of the 14th Amendment,” said Jeffrey Sarrow, Attorney for CellAntenna. “In fact, these laws clearly conflict with the intent of Congress as expressed in the HSA of 2002, which emphasizes the need for local law enforcement agencies to acquire technology to defend against terrorist threats.”

The FCC is responsible for the commercial licensing of radio waves, and should not be involved in determining whether state and local officials can use technology to fight terrorism.

“There is no good reason that a county Bomb Squad, such as we have here in Broward cannot obtain whatever equipment it deems necessary to prevent a bomb from detonating. Since remote control devices are used around the world by terrorists, not having a jammer in the tool box of the Bomb Squad is simply insane.” Melamed Said.

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Howard Melamed

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