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FCC: Amateur Service Licensees May Not Use Radio Equipment to Commit Criminal Acts

02/24/2022

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has re-issued an earlier Enforcement Advisory that licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, as well as licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services, are prohibited from using radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts.

“The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted and socially beneficial purposes, including emergency communications and speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” the FCC said. “Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes.”

As it did in advisories in 2021, the Enforcement Bureau is reminding amateur licensees that they may not transmit, “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” or “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.”

“Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios “in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State or local law.

“Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.

“To report a crime, contact your local law enforcement office or the FBI,” the FCC advised.



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