FCC claims authority to conduct warrantless searches
May 21, 2009 10:42 AM Subscribe
The FCC investigated a pirate radio station in Boulder, Colorado earlier this month and left a copy of their official inspection policy asserting that they have the authority to perform warrantless searches of private property if there is any FCC-licensed equipment on the property, including cordless phones, cell phones, wireless routers, intercom systems, and baby monitors.
Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (Act) gives the Federal Communications Commission the "authority to inspect all radio installations associated with stations required to be licensed by any Act, or which the Commission by rule has authorized to operate without a license under section 307(e)(1), or which are subject to the provisions of any Act, treaty, or convention binding on the United States . . ." 47 U.S.C. 303(n) Both Section 303(n) of the Act, and the Rules which implement the Act, grant the right to inspect most radio operations to the Commission, and by delegated authority to the Commission's Bureaus and agents. The Enforcement Bureau conducts inspections of radio installations as part of the Bureau's function to "[e]nforce the Commission's Rules and Regulations." 47 CFR 0.111(a).
Both licensees and non-licensees must allow an FCC Agent to inspect their radio equipment. Along with the privilege of possessing a license come responsibilities such as knowing the applicable rules, including allowing the station to be inspected. Licensees should be aware of the Commission's right to inspect. Equally important, FCC Agents are allowed to inspect the radio equipment of non-licensees. Non-licensees include those individuals or entities operating in accordance with Part 15 of the Rules. Non-licensees also include those who should have a license to operate their equipment but have not obtained a license and are operating without authority.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments