A New Jersey man is facing a $32,000 fine for using a GPS jamming device that disrupted flights at the Newark, New Jersey Liberty International Airport.
Gary Bojczak used a GPS jamming divice that can be plugged into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter to prevent the company he works for from tracking his whereabouts.
The device that Bojczak used was so powerful, it interfered with a new “ground-based augmentation system” that is used at the airport to help guide pilots on the roadway.
The interference began when Bojczak parked his work-issued Ford F150 at the airport. FAA staff noticed interference in the restricted band 1559 to 1610 MHz.
FAA staff used radio direction finders to track down the origin of the interference. The direction finders led the staff to Bojczak’s pickup. He admitted that he was using a GPS jamming device and turned it over to the staff.
“Mr. Bojczak claimed that he installed and operated the jamming device to block the GPS-based vehicle-tracking system that his employer installed on the vehicle,” the FCC said in a statement. “After the jammer was removed from the red Ford and turned off, the agent confirmed that the unauthorized signals had ceased.”
The FCC initially fined Bojczak $42,500 for use of illegal equipment, unlawful operation of a jammer and interference to authorized communications. Because of Bojczak’s cooperation, his fine was eventually lowered.
GPS jammers are becoming increasingly popular with drivers who don’t want to be tracked by their employers. The systems are illegal in the U.S., but they’re easy to purchase online.
“We caution Mr. Bojczak and other potential violators that we will continually reevaluate this approach and may pursue alternative or more aggressive sanctions should the approach prove ineffective in deterring the unlawful operation of signal jammers,” it said.
“For example, as a companion to a proposed monetary forfeiture, we could also refer such matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for further consideration under the criminal statutes.”