Warrantless searches permitted – if you have a radio at home…

This is for our US cousins – and, if anyone knows the law in Canada and other Western countries on this, I would appreciate the info:

Apparently, the FCC has the right to enter and search/inspect – without a warrant – any private home where RF devices are in use.

You know, like radio, garage-door openers, wireless router for your internet…even cordless phones, burglar alarms or baby monitors…

Wired.com has the scoop:

‘It would appear that a never-challenged, little known law from 1934…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.’

‘The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts.’

‘But refusing the FCC admittance can carry a harsh financial penalty. In a 2007 case, a Corpus Christi, Texas, man got a visit from the FCC’s direction-finders after rebroadcasting an AM radio station through a CB radio in his home. An FCC agent tracked the signal to his house and asked to see the equipment; Donald Winton refused to let him in, but did turn off the radio. Winton was later fined $7,000 for refusing entry to the officer.’

‘But if inspectors should notice evidence of unrelated criminal behavior — say, a marijuana plant or stolen property — a Supreme Court decision suggests the search can be used against the resident.’

So, let’s get this straight…

  • The FCC’s agents can enter any private property where they have a reason to believe someone is using any RF device.
  • Denying the agents entry is illegal
  • While the agents are on the private property, they are empowered to search it for RF devices and inspect the devices
  • If they uncover any evidence of ‘illegal activity’ of any kind, they can collect the evidence
  • This evidence can be handed over to police and can be used to prosecute the resident


So, the US is not becoming a ‘police state’ – it is much too sophisticated for that!  Instead, the police use minions and sidekicks to do their ‘dirty work’ and remain beyond criticism…


Hat tip:  Dvorak Uncensored

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