Are the national governments pushing for more radio control? Is there some kind of crisis of radio abuse? Or is it an indirect way to give governments more punishment tools, by making radio modification a subversion of manufacturer controls, so you can be slapped with an additional charge if you ever use a custom radio device in a crime?
The regulations were written in the US to be compatible with open source and customization, only requiring that outside software not be able to set the radio to transmit outside the legal limits that applied to that type of device.
A router manufacturer does not have to lock down all the firmware to satisfy this. They can make it so that the "set radio parameters" part of the firmware is separate from the rest, with only the former being restricted. This is the approach the FCC encourages, rather than simply locking down the whole thing.
In fact, when TP-Link was making routers that could operate outside legal power levels, and the FCC went after them, the consent decree they agreed to required TP-Link to work with OpenWrt and the radio chipset manufacturers to ensure that they could build compliant routers without locking out third party firmware.
The usual excuses are given, electrical safety, emission on protected bands...
You shouldn't ban general purpose technology because of particular bad uses.
And in this case, the proposed regulation is:
“””[R]adio equipment [shall support] certain features in order to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and software has been demonstrated.”””
Now I don’t think that’s a well written rule, but my problem is the specifics rather than the general idea. I think that either all broadcasts should be digitally signed, or it should not be possible for hackers to remotely modify many other people’s radios to broadcast false signals. (One-on-one modifications I don’t care about so much, but how do you write/pass such rules, given the difficulty getting people to care about or believe the scale difference between automated and manual hacking?)
In general, current regulation makes the owner of the equipment responsible for the broadcast.
This new regulation will just stifle development on SDR technologies
What situation? What crisis is happening I'm completely missing?
Imagine how ridiculous it would be to have a regulation on wheels that they must try to prevent being installed on non-approved devices.
Neither do "most US residents".
More to the point, your focus on guns is missing the larger point. There is very real and immediate dissatisfaction with the EU regulatory landscape. See: Brexit.
I'm not as familiar with EU law, but similar changes in the US were prompted by "Import hardware configured legally, but manufacturer winks / doesn't care about flashes to illegal specifications" scenarios (indeed, it may be a way to boost sales).
The correct legislative solution seems to mandate locked RF firmware... while also mandating customer access to tinker with the remainder of functionality.
This addresses the tendency for manufacturers to simply lock down everything as the cheapest path to legal compliance.
TBH, if you want a right to tinker with RF firmware, a ham (or equivalent) license seems a low (probably too low) but necessary and fair burden.
Looking at this rule from another angle, I think the objective is to have a single entity to blame if interfering device is found. In this context this may seem rational -- all the firmware released that is mangling with intentional radiators needs to be tested to prove it is compliant. However, the method creates extra complexity for the device manufacturers and as time has shown -- does not really improve the matters in the long term, you will just get a fleet of devices running old firmware with unfixed bugs. Manufacturers often do not like it either, specially in the management.
I think it may be a classical example of "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" or Hanlon's razor*
Is there evidence that the devices prohibited by the proposal lead to widescale breaking of these regulations? And if so, is there evidence that this causes harm?
It's harsh to assume that people can not be trusted with SDRs and therefore we should ban them outright. I'd like these sorts of blanket bans to come with a strong evidence backed reason.
I am currently in the process of a obtaining a ham radio license specifically so I can experiment and innovate with SDRs and IOTs and be confident that I do so in compliance with the regulations. This proposal will make it much harder for ham radio enthusiasts and innovators to experiment and learn in a compliant way.
^ Above submitted as feedback
Yes there is. A lot of people now import devices from countries with different frequencies causing a mess. This is especially a problem if frequencies are used for other purposes.
If they are already using devices that are not compliant with EU regulations, then I don't see how stricter regulations would solve this. This sounds like an enforcement issue. What prevents people from importing the very same non-compliant devices under the proposed regulations?
In fact, I can see more of this import happening as the domestic devices will now be more expensive and crippled.
As for "how do you define bad laws?". We know it's possible because we have constitutions. We know they can be expanded. We know it's possible to get people jailed if they violate rules, and legislators are people even if they tend to forget this little detail.
As for "but what about evil corporation that will not be stopped by the law?". Well, even corporation is the one that usually wants more laws and even discuss the laws that should stop them.
If you want any semblance of freedom under a State you need a way to make legislators think very long before legislating.
"They only have to win once, you have to be vigilant and win every single time"
I also suspect that the current patent mess is a result of failing to win the continual defensive battle.
I'd be interested to hear from any law or political theorists regarding this seemingly deep flaw in the system. What could be done to mitigate it? How do we stop the same bad laws being proposed in slightly different forms again and again when vested interests combine with a poorly informed legislature?
The law is not a blockchain ledger. If bad law gets in, it can also get removed later.
Any objection to government surveillance is met with "Well you must be a member of or support the activities of" one or more members of the aforementioned groups. It's better to never let a bad law in than remove it later because people are irrational and bring these emotional arguments into play.
Also why do we think constitutions are perfect, don't countries have to update them periodically to fix them?
If passed into law, it might make a test-case for sales of rogue drones but it won't be able to stop Baofeng handsets flooding a market. The EU needs reminding that restricting freedom in this way is a terrible idea.
If this is approved, I expect a few other similar laws to protect the "common good". Car manufacturers should verify and approve all possible combinations of modifications. You shouldn't be able to increase your horsepower (and possibly kill more people), surely the car manufacturer should take the blame and responsiblity for whatever you do with your car ;-)
As a matter of fact our good EU government (overlords) should regulate and ban whatever is not safe for us, they know better.
Being in EU, I'm going to add my comment to the official link provided in the OP blog post and I encourage everyone in the EU to do the same.
This shouldn't affect OpenWRT if it uses a standard driver, unless I'm mistaken (or "radio equipment" means the whole thing and not just the radio module - but that's up to debate)
Which is better IMHO.
You can sue the FCC if you think they overstepped their bounds as opposed to getting a bunch of politicians behind the repeal of a bad law (which otherwise can only be overturned if it violates the constitution).
Or, as sometimes happens, the FCC realizes they made a mistake and/or "conditions on the ground" change and they decide to change the requirements -- also without involving the lawmakers.
> Yet another reason why I'm glad for Brexit.
If you think that Brexit will stop this, I hope you are right – but I very much fear you are massively underestimating the UK government's appetite for bad laws and bad process.
What about the rest of recent terrible regulations and laws?
//edit: also even the proposed regulation would not prevent custom firmwares. You just meed to lock down the radio.
Stupid ideas coming out of EU are more and more frequent.
I don't want to give feedback. I want accountable and professional political representation that will not dare to come up with such ideas in the first place.
Asking for feedback on complex legislature proposals is surely preferable to exclusively taking notes from meetings with lobby groups behind closed doors. Besides, national governments often ask for feedback on proposed laws too!
I have to ask why should such piece of legislation exist in the first place? What problems of today does it aim to solve? What is the quantified impact of these problems that we need to adopt new regulation? I have read related documents and there is no such reasoning, just vague boilerplate.
With the Brexit looming over the United Kingdom, already the effects of leaving the influence of the EU bloc behind are becoming clear, with the US attempting to dictate the terms of their post-EU trade deal.
Regulation such as this is necessary to harmonize the various national laws on this subject so manufacturers can target the single market of the EU without having to certify their gear in each member state. This is mentioned in the documents about this law as well (I've closed my browser tabs after submitting my feedback, but it's there). I'm not too well versed in this matter, but the net-benefit seems to be economic.
The EU and it democratic institutions can be vastly improved, but we are better of with them than without them — especially now.
TTIP would have been a good step forward to harmonize US-EU-Japan regulations on a lot of things.
I'm not saying there were no problematic parts of trade agreements (US' strong intellectual protection and sort of lax food safety regulations are always a big worry for example).
This is the kind of law that's only pushed by wealthy countries like Germany or the UK. I live in a shithole which would never get a law like this. Getting rubbish like this, net neutrality, copyright reforms, etc. would never happen here on its own because we have much bigger fish to fry.
"The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 44 specifying which categories or classes of radio equipment are concerned by each of the requirements set out in points (a) to (i) of the first subparagraph of this paragraph."
So it says that the Commission has a way to decide which categories/classes of radios fall under e.g. point (i). This does not mean ALL radio devices would automatically be subject to the point (i).
Or am I missing something?