FCC claims warrantless search if you use Wi-Fi, baby monitor

Ryan Singel:

You may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it.

That’s the upshot of the rules the agency has followed for years to monitor licensed television and radio stations, and to crack down on pirate radio broadcasters. And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device.

“Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference,” says FCC spokesman David Fiske. That includes devices like Wi-Fi routers that use unlicensed spectrum, Fiske says.

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5 Responses to FCC claims warrantless search if you use Wi-Fi, baby monitor

  1. Classic says:

    Why isn’t this public knowledge, or more importantly, stated whenever you buy a product that makes us susceptible to warrant-less searches?

  2. O_M says:

    …This isn’t a joke or exaggeration. Before the FCC got neutered in 1977 after busting Billy Carter for running excessive power on the CB freqs, and one of Betty Ford’s nephews got busted for using one w/o a license, they were using this rule to raid homes of CBers using illegal linear amplifiers without having to go before a judge and get a search warrant. They still had the power to enter without warrant after 1977, but with their budget and manpower slashed by the Carter misadministration, and the Supreme Court ruling they never had the power to charge for licensing fees at a time when the demand for a license was at its all-time high, they wound up with only two field officers per state, and thus didn’t have the manpower to enforce a hundredth of the illegal ops calls they go.

    Which explains why certain people locally had to take care of this one old bastard who refused to quit using his “footwarmer” to jam the CB channels by cutting the guy wires on his 60′ mast just as a storm was moving in to blow it over his house and through his roof…

  3. CraziestGadgetsdotcom says:

    warrantless searches for possessing a device that RECEIVE wi-fi? might as well just proclaim the FCC as God right now since apparently they can do whatever the hell they want.

  4. zuzu says:

    Before the FCC got neutered in 1977 after busting Billy Carter for running excessive power on the CB freqs, and one of Betty Ford’s nephews got busted for using one w/o a license, they were using this rule to raid homes of CBers using illegal linear amplifiers without having to go before a judge and get a search warrant. They still had the power to enter without warrant after 1977, but with their budget and manpower slashed by the Carter misadministration

    Further proof that the Jimmy Carter was the best President in recent history. Unlike Republicans who merely talk about small government, Carter actually created the smallest Federal government since World War 2. He appointed Paul Volcker to chair the Federal Reserve and raise interest rates to choke out stagflation (which we’re certain to live through again with the current Wall Street bailout insanity). He ended the regulatory capture of the airline industry (if only we could do the same today with the healthcare industry!).

    (Unfortunately, he did bailout Chrysler, but nobody’s perfect.)

    The FCC is an obsolete agency founded on an assumption of obsolete radio technology. With modern spread-spectrum, software-defined radio, and cognitive radio, there is no reason for the Federal Communications Commission to exist other than to create a barrier to entry — providing regulatory capture for telecommunications and mass-media companies.

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