Scrambled cell-phone towers led investigators to a Florida man using a high-powered jammer to block reception along his commute.
Federal Communications Commission agents say Jason R. Humphrey used a jamming device between 2011 and 2013 while driving down Interstate 4 from his home in Seffner, Fla., to downtown Tampa, WTSP 10 reported for two years.
Humphrey, 60, said his goal was to make his daily commute safer by stopping people from talking on their cell phones, but jammers block emergency calls in addition to distracted-driving chatter.
Cell phones need to interact with a cell tower or base to transmit their signal, but the jamming device recreates that signal and interrupts tower reception for any cell phones within range. It's called a denial-of-service attack. MetroPCS noticed their towers were scrambled around certain times of day and along a certain route. When police approached Humphrey's vehicle, their scanners went dead.
The FCC is hitting Humphrey with the maximum fine of $48,000.