A dad faces hard prison time after trying to shut down his home internet

Sometimes DIY goes terribly wrong.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Electrician joining high voltage power lines.alexandrumagurean/iStock

We have all had the experience of watching someone ignore us while they focus on their activities online. This is particularly true of children.

In one town of France, a father got fed up with the amount of screen time his kids were indulging in and decided to do something about it.

He tried to get them offline by shutting down the internet, but he ended up shutting it down for the whole town, according to a report by France Bleu published last Friday. 

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Jammers are illegal

It all began in a town called Messanges. A dad used a multi-wave band jammer to temporarily cut off the internet connection at his home in order to get his kids offline.

However, the device is illegal in France because it interferes with telecommunication signals. Once nearly two municipalities were shut down, France's National Frequency Agency began an investigation that led them to the unnamed father.

When questioned, the man revealed that he only wanted to cut off the connectivity in his home between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. He could not have foreseen that the jamming device would be powerful enough to cut the connectivity of two municipalities.

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The authorities got involved when his neighbors started complaining. He now faces up to six months in jail and a fine of 30,000 euros ($34,000).

A cautionary tale

Jammers are used by individuals all the time but it should be noted that they are also illegal in the U.S.

"Signal jamming devices can prevent you and others from making 9-1-1 and other emergency calls and pose serious risks to public safety communications, as well as interfere with other forms of day-to-day communications," states the Federal Communications Commission.

"The use of a phone jammer, GPS blocker, or other signal jamming device designed to intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications is a violation of federal law. There are no exemptions for use within a business, classroom, residence, or vehicle."