brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

10Jul/133

My comments re: RM-11699, a propsal to allow encryption on amateur radio frequencies…

This is probably boring to a great number of you, but a recent FCC proposed notice of rule making has been getting a lot of play lately. RM-11699 is a proposal to allow encryption of traffic in amateur radio so that we can handle information of a sensitive nature in times of emergency, especially information that is covered in the U.S. under HIPAA. The vast majority of the comments on this proposal have been against it, as are my own. If you'd like to read what I have to say, you can read my own comments, complete with an embarrassing number of typos (I drew them up somewhat hastily) at this link at the FCC website. If you'd like to read some more well thought out (if more formal and legalistic) you can check out these comments by Bruce Perens.

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  1. I agree. This is similar to the issue of states wanting to require ID when voting…A rule to address a non-issue. There needs to be discussion about the alleged events that triggered this proposal.

  2. I’m not a ham, but I do have some education about electronics and radio communications. As the “non-ham” I see one thing. Wasted radio spectrum. Your government would like to sell it. The idea that amateurs are gonna really carry “emergency traffic”, at least domestically, is dated.

    Any use of the spectrum now occupying the amateur bands, by the public, for little or nothing, is a positive in my book. I think in an office someplace, someone is drooling and wanting your spectral space.

    Use it or lose it?

  3. “Waste” is a matter of perspective, though. Many years ago, when the radio spectrum was first becoming regulated it was well understood by both political parties that it all belonged to the public and that we should never forget that.

    Corporate interests will always foam at the mouth at taking something that belongs to the public. Not using it should not equate to waste, nor should it equate to losing it. Nobody would sanely argue that libraries or parks be torn down if they aren’t used enough.

    And it’s not that the government would like to sell it, but rather that corporate interests are pressuring them to sell it. If nobody was interested in buying it the government wouldn’t be peddling it.

    I have no problem with parts of the spectrum (and, similarly, large plots of land) going unused.


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