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Thread: Petition for ham radio encryption?

  1. #1

    Question Petition for ham radio encryption?

    From an e-mail that was sent to me from a fellow ham:




    Please forward this message to other hams. The most current version of this message is at http://hams.com/encryption/ Please use that version. FCC is currently processing a request for rule-making, RM-11699, that would allow the use of Amateur frequencies in the U.S. for private, digitally-encrypted messages. Encryption is a potential disaster for us because it defeats the self-policing nature of ham radio. If hams can't decode messages, we can't identify if the communication is appropriate for ham radio or not. A potentially worse problem is that encryption destroys the harmless nature of Amateur radio. For governments around the world to continue to allow Amateur Radio, it must be percieved as harmless. There's no reason for anyone to believe that encrypted communications are harmless. Foreign governments, and maybe even our own, will start to see hams as more of a threat. This is likely to have a chilling effect upon DXpeditions, which are already often viewed suspiciously by the host nations, and perhaps will even lead some countries to take Amateur Radio off of the air or limit our privileges in some way. The last day for you to submit a comment opposing this is JULY 7, so it's important for you to act now! Please make a short comment in opposition to the proposal at this link, or use this link to upload longer documents. We have no way of telling if the content of encrypted messages are appropriate for ham radio. While their senders will identify them as emergency communications drills, they could be used for crime, operating a business, downloading pornography, etc. WiFi-like cards are already available for Amateur frequencies, and while hams can build legitimate networks with them, none of their vendors check for a license before selling them to anyone. Legalizing encryption on the air will make abuse of Amateur frequencies provable only after difficult and potentially illegal code-breaking. A small group has almost succeeded in sneaking this change past the entire ham community. As I write this, they are almost unopposed, with only one comment against their proposal submitted to FCC. We have less than two weeks to turn that around! Unfortunately, ARRL isn't helping. On March 9, the ARRL board of directors moved to explore whether they should ask for rule-changes authorizing encryption, see their meeting minutes at paragraph 4.1.3. Before ARRL was scheduled to consider a report on the issue, an individual ham filed a request for rule-making with FCC. ARRL obviously tracks FCC rule-making and the notices of it in the Federal Register, and yet waited until two weeks before the end of the commenting period to announce on their web site that this was going on. What could be a plausible excuse for using encryption on the Amateur bands? It's HIPAA, a 1996 law that requires that doctors, hospitals and other medical services providers keep patient data secret. And thus, hospitals have become reluctant to use ham communications in emergencies. We effectively broadcast all of the information we communicate, and they're afraid that we'll get them sued by doing so. Emergency communications are a critical component of the mission of Amateur Radio, and are one of only four purposes that FCC uses to justify the existence of the Amateur Service. It may be that encryption does become critical to support Amateur emergency services. But that time has not yet come. If we are to allow encryption on the air, that should come only after the entire ham community has discussed it throughly and explored all of the options. And yet, nobody's brought this issue before you, before attempting to change the rules behind your back. The folks who support the encryption proposal are, as far as I can tell, well-meaning. Many of them are involved in emergency communications. But their methods are inappropriate. If they want this change, they must discuss the issue throughly at ham conferences and in our publications. They must allow hams to become educated about the alternatives before we decide as a community if a rule change is necessary. What are the alternatives? One is changing HIPAA to remove liability from the doctors and hospitals for disclosure of information in an amateur emergency transmission. Changing laws is not impossible for Amateurs. Through lobbying congress, we have recently been able to cause changes in ITAR 121, a Department of Defense restriction that made it difficult for us to collaborate with other nations in building microsats. That's changing now as a result of lobbying by ham organizations. If hams can get that done, we can reform HIPAA as well. Another alternative is to leave the rules as they are today. Many emergency organizations have been able to operate without encryption despite any reservations by the served organizations regarding HIPAA, which has existed since 1996. And many services other than Amateur Radio, including MARS, Land Mobile, and Part 15 can provide encryption without a rule-change, and might be more appropriate venues for this traffic. If we end up deciding to have encryption on the Amateur bands, we must do so only after developing a system of controls that prevent its abuse. There is no anti-abuse method sugested in the current request for rule making, but I propose this one: Encryption would only be allowed in tests and drills that would be authorized and publicly announced by accredited ARES or RACES organizations, and or actual emergency communications for a served agency that is subject to patient privacy regulations such as HIPAA. Logging of encrypted transmissions, including the encryption key, would be mandatory. Stations would be required to disclose their keys to amateur volunteers who would check recorded transmissions for rule-violation, but those volunteers would be required to keep any HIPAA-protected patient data within the transmission private. Stations that repeatedly failed to cooperate in allowing their messages to be decrypted and checked by third parties would be subject to penalties. But we haven't decided any of this yet. And we shouldn't without your participation. Thus, please comment now in opposition of the proposal. Again, the last day for you to submit a comment opposing this is JULY 7, so it's important for you to act now! Please make a short comment in opposition to the proposal at this link, or use this link to upload longer documents. About the Author: Bruce Perens K6BP is one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software. He is also the founder of No-Code International, the organization that successfully lobbied for the global elimination of code testing. More recently, Perens has been a pioneer of digital communications over Ham Radio. He started and evangelized the Codec2 (http://codec2.org/) project, which has developed a fully open and patent-free digital voice codec for Radio Amateurs. That codec is now in use in FreeDV (http://freedv.org/), which provides clear digital voice communications on HF in half the bandwidth of SSB. You can reach Bruce Perens K6BP at +1 510-4PERENS (US Pacific time), or email to bruce at perens dot com. Please forward this message to other hams. The most current version is at http://hams.com/encryption/ Please use that version.





    Discussion about this is here:
    http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php...light=RM-11699

    and

    http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php...light=RM-11699
    Last edited by Matt Collins; 06-26-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst



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  3. #2

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    Wall 'o text.

    Once quantum computing becomes more common, the encryption methods that are commonly available to you and I will be obsolete. It's better than nothing, though.

  4. #3

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    Saw this today in another news thread. I was just complaining about this in another ham radio thread here a couple of weeks ago. Didn't know that someone was already working on proposing changes to allow encryption. Interesting. Looks like many of the ham operators are having a fit about it. This is why I just can't get too excited about ham radio. Too many restrictions and rules. Takes all the fun out of it.

  5. #4

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    Why not just say FU to the FCC like so many people in NH do? The FCC has never come after any of them and I doubt it will. As long as ham radios sell for $45 on Amazon.com, the people will be partly free, as long as they act it.
    Lifetime member of more than 1 national gun organization and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Part of Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty. Free State Project participant and multi-year Free Talk Live AMPlifier.

  6. #5

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    Every boater and his brother has a VHF radio.You are required to have a license to operate a VHF radio.I doubt one in fifty has a license.You can also buy scramblers for them,built in or aftermarket.
    Last edited by mad cow; 06-26-2013 at 07:27 PM.
    Inspired by US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, this site is dedicated to facilitating grassroots initiatives that aim to restore a sovereign limited constitutional Republic based on the rule of law, states' rights and individual rights. We seek to enshrine the original intent of our Founders to foster respect for private property, seek justice, provide opportunity, and to secure individual liberty for ourselves and our posterity.


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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by youngbuck View Post
    Wall 'o text.
    I can't help that, and unfortunately the Forums did that because when I pasted it there was proper formatting
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  8. #7

    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by liberty2897 View Post
    Too many restrictions and rules. Takes all the fun out of it.
    Or on the reverse, it makes it challenging.
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad cow View Post
    Every boater and his brother has a VHF radio.You are required to have a license to operate a VHF radio.I doubt one in fifty has a license.You can also buy scramblers for them,built in or aftermarket.
    Actually, that's not true anymore, at least for non commercial recreational and fishing vessels in US waters.

    An FCC ship station radio license is no longer required for any vessel travelling in U.S. waters which uses a VHF marine radio, radar or EPIRB, and which is not required to carry radio equipment
    http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtBoater

    The Telecommunications Act of 1996 permits recreational boaters to have and use a VHF marine radio, EPIRB, and marine radar without having an FCC ship station license. Boaters traveling on international voyages, having an HF single sideband radiotelephone or marine satellite terminal, or required to carry a marine radio under any other regulation must still carry an FCC ship station license.
    http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/radio.htm

    Here's a little gizmo that could used to send packet 4 digit keycodes around the world on HF.

    http://www.necode.com/productinfo.htm

    The scrambled VHF is pretty good, especially if one used short "burst" transmissions in code.

    The ICOM units are what USCG uses IIRC, and they are pretty "hack proof".
    Last edited by Anti Federalist; 06-28-2013 at 07:41 PM.

  10. #9

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    "Please forward this message to other hams. The most current version of this message is at http://hams.com/encryption/ Please use that version. FCC is currently processing a request for rule-making, RM-11699, that would allow the use of Amateur frequencies in the U.S. for private, digitally-encrypted messages. Encryption is a potential disaster for us because it defeats the self-policing nature of ham radio. If hams can't decode messages, we can't identify if the communication is appropriate for ham radio or not."

    I think whomever this is just lost their own argument.



    Then again a bunch of coded crap could interfere with honest peoples transmissions. Accidentally on purpose?

  11. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith and stuff
    Why not just say FU to the FCC like so many people in NH do? The FCC has never come after any of them and I doubt it will. As long as ham radios sell for $45 on Amazon.com, the people will be partly free, as long as they act it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    Or on the reverse, it makes it challenging.
    Good points.
    Last edited by liberty2897; 06-30-2013 at 06:20 AM.

  12. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Actually, that's not true anymore, at least for non commercial recreational and fishing vessels in US waters.



    http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtBoater



    http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/radio.htm

    Here's a little gizmo that could used to send packet 4 digit keycodes around the world on HF.

    http://www.necode.com/productinfo.htm

    The scrambled VHF is pretty good, especially if one used short "burst" transmissions in code.

    The ICOM units are what USCG uses IIRC, and they are pretty "hack proof".
    Shows you how up to date I am on this.I am further behind in my clothing and taste in music.

    I did know it was required for commercial vessels,it was one of the 50 or so things that the USCG demanded I show them every time one of their heavily armed swat teams boarded my boat without a search warrant or permission.
    Inspired by US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, this site is dedicated to facilitating grassroots initiatives that aim to restore a sovereign limited constitutional Republic based on the rule of law, states' rights and individual rights. We seek to enshrine the original intent of our Founders to foster respect for private property, seek justice, provide opportunity, and to secure individual liberty for ourselves and our posterity.


    A police state is a small price to pay for living in the freest country on earth.

  13. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mad cow View Post
    I did know it was required for commercial vessels,it was one of the 50 or so things that the USCG demanded I show them every time one of their heavily armed swat teams boarded my boat without a search warrant or permission.
    Argh...tell me about it.

  14. #13

    Default

    There is always the difference between ciphers and code.
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    Business licenses aren't even a thing nor are capital gains taxes
    Constitutional right to refuse any type of medical care

  15. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Collins View Post
    I can't help that, and unfortunately the Forums did that because when I pasted it there was proper formatting
    Or, on the reverse, it makes it challenging to fix.
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