An exasperated father who had resorted to using a scrambler to try to get his children off their devices is being prosecuted for having accidentally shut off the Internet for the whole town.
The incident took place in the town of Messanges in the Landes department in south-western France, when the father, who has not been named, allegedly used a scrambling device to block the Internet connectivity in his home.
The goal was to stop his kids using their devices, which they were reportedly addicted to, and so he configured the multi-band scrambling device so that it would switch on between midnight and 3am every night.
What he did not realise was that he was allegedly not just blocking the Internet in his home but also for the whole town of Messanges, which boasted a population of 968 souls in 2019.
Locals began complaining to the Internet service provider about not being able to connect to the Internet between midnight and 3am every night, and the Internet service provider began investigating the issue.
They eventually dispatched an expert from the ANFR, the National Frequency Agency (Agence Nationale des Frequences), which is the government agency responsible for all radio frequencies in France.
The expert was equipped with a radio-goniometry device, which is a tool that is capable of detecting hostile signals. This allowed him to pinpoint the source of the problem to the father’s house.
It was revealed that the device the father had been using to block the Internet was affecting not only the commune of Messanges but was also impacting other nearby residential areas as well.
The scrambler the dad was using was reportedly capable of blocking both Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals.
But the father allegedly did not know that these devices are illegal in France, with the ANFR explaining that their range is usually considerably greater than anticipated.
The father is now reportedly being prosecuted and faces up to six months in prison and a EUR-30,000 (GBP-25,100) fine, as well as a EUR-450 (GBP-376) fee for the ANFR’s investigation.