French man facing six months in jail, $50k fine after blocking children's internet signal

A mobile phone showing no WiFi signal
The use of radio jammers is illegal in New Zealand as well as in France. Photo credit: Getty Images

A father took action to stop his children accessing social media networks at night and is now facing six months in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros (NZ$50,000).

The man, from Messanges in the south west of France, thought he was only blocking Wi-Fi signals in his own house but ended up taking out the internet for two towns, according to France Bleu.

The man's wave jamming equipment took out both internet and mobile phone signals over several nights and was discovered after a mobile operator found one of its antennas was no longer working, usually between the hours of midnight and 3.00am.

A technician from the ANFR, France's national frequency agency, used a mobile laboratory, including a direction finder to detect where the waves were coming from.

Once the area had been narrowed down, the technician used a portable receiver on foot to quickly identify the house where the signals were coming from.

When confronted, the father of the family admitted to using a wave jammer in order to prevent his "addicted" children from browsing social media sites.

The ANFR said wave jammers are strictly prohibited in the country, with six month sentences and the 30,000 euro fine the harshest punishment available.

An investigation has been opened and the man was arrested. He also has to pay 450 euros (NZ$760) to the ANFR for the costs of its investigation.

It's not out of the question that something similar could happen in New Zealand, where it would also be against the law.

The Radio Spectrum Management website says all types of radio jammers are illegal in Aotearoa as they cause full interference across a wide range of frequencies.

"The only jammers allowed to operate here are used by the Department of Corrections, under strict rules of use," it said.