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Forget the Patriot Act and overactive spooks. It's your TV that could have the Feds knocking at your door.

Chris van Rossman earlier this month learned this lesson when Air Force staffers, a policeman and a search and rescue officer stopped by his apartment in Corvallis, Oregon. The officials were hunting down an international distress signal picked up by a satellite. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia received the message, and the rescuers sprung into action.

What they found was a man watching his Toshiba flat-screen TV equipped with a built-in VCR, DVD and CD player. It seems the TV was sending out the 121.5 MHz distress signal.

Van Rossman was ordered to keep his TV turned off - or face a $10,000 fine for emitting a false distress alert.

Toshiba has not received word of similar incidents and has pledged to give van Rossman a new set. ®

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