Episode 124: We Be Hammin’ Now

News:

  • The EFF becomes the first ever group in American history to challenge the FBI’s authority. (eff.org)

The Main Topic: Russ — K5TUX

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5 thoughts on “Episode 124: We Be Hammin’ Now

  1. First thing that popped into my head upon hearing that Linux and Ham-radio have a lot in common; “of course they’re going to have a lot in common – there’s not enough profit for Apple or Microsoft to make HamRad 2.0, or a good reason to upgrade to HamRad 3.0 when it comes out.”

    I’ve never had much interest in radio myself, but just from the limited amount learned during the podcast, it seems like you’re working with math, eletronics, and code (programming and the other type). Sounds exactly how many describe Open Source.

    Whichever discipline you look at, we all end up sounding like Star Trek Engineers annoyed that there aren’t any warp engines yet. Get on it, James! CERN has to churn out something useful soon…

  2. One of the main things that the ham radio and free software communities have in common is tinkering with stuff.

    If you tried to tell a ham radio operator that they couldn’t tinker or mod the innards of their radios they’d be furious!

    Yet increasingly computing devices like smartphones and tablets are locked up both hardware and software wise.

    This offends both my ham radio and free software soul.

    • This might be the wrong venue to get into a discussion like this, but since a Ham operator had to go through the FCC to get a licence, how “free” were you to make modifications thereafter to your kit? Could they revoke your licence if you went too far?

      I agree that you should be able to ‘root’ a smartphone to tablet to your heart’s content, but I also need my Android phone to be a phone, and if I annoy the carrier too much, it becomes a brick…

      • The answer to the modification question. Amateur Radio equipment can be modified as long as the modification doesn’t take it from a type accepted piece of equipment to a piece that is not type accepted. Meaning that you can modify a vhf radio to listen to Police and Fire frequencies but you are not allowed to modify it to transmit on those frequencies. That is the short answer.

  3. In regards to the EFF’s case against the FBI, the problems are a bit deeper than you guys covered. Essentially, NSL’s allow the FBI to circumvent the court system, but only in cases which show a credible threat to national security. So, an investigation of a suspected terrorist would qualify, but an investigation into a thief would not. The big issue is that there is no court oversight to ensure that the FBI does not overstep it’s bounds. In order to help with this, there are provisions in the national security statutes which allow people to challenge any invocation of the provisions of the NSL’s by the FBI.

    At issue in the EFF’s suit is a new interpretation by the FBI. The FBI is claiming that by using the legal provisions for challenging an invocation of the NSL’s an entity is impeding an investigation and are, therefore, breaking the law.

    This is problematic because it removes the only oversight over the FBI prior to charges being filled. There still exists the possibility of challenging the FBI after the investigation during a trial. But, by this time, a lot of damage could have been done to an individual or group of individuals both personally and professionally.

    This isn’t an assumption of guilt so much as an overreach of the government’s law enforcement arm. National security is increasingly being used as an excuse for circumventing the checks and balances built into our government. This is a huge problem and it needs to be brought before the courts in order to ensure that proper oversight by an unaffiliated third party can remain a party of out legal system.

    Our government has become very interested in increasing security since 9/11 and many Americans aren’t yet fully aware of how many freedoms they’ve already lost. My interpretations of this case may be somewhat inaccurate, but this what I took from the EFF’s article as well prior interest in the subject. It’s a good thing, however, that people are made aware of what’s going on and even more important that organizations like the EFF stand up for the rights of Americans and, hopefully, all people.

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