goTenna is a Part 15 (unlicensed) device, like a Wi-Fi router or Bluetooth device. It does not transmit on Amateur Radio frequencies. Unless I missed something, there is no connection with ham radio here.
The article also mentions how Elaine Ou sent a Lightning payment over the 40 meter amateur radio band. This may have been a violation of the Part 97 Amateur Radio regulations, as noted by other commenters.
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis.
It appears that the exception is limitied to notifying other amateurs of equipment for sale or trade, not making the actual payment over the air. For example, if I got a one-time virtual credit card number and read it over the air to another amateur to pay for equipment, I don't believe that would fall under this exception, so it would be prohibited.
> §97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
> (b) An amateur station shall not engage in any form of broadcasting, nor may an amateur station transmit one-way communications except as specifically provided in these rules; nor shall an amateur station engage in any activity related to program production or news gathering for broadcasting purposes, except that communications directly related to the immediate safety of human life or the protection of property may be provided by amateur stations to broadcasters for dissemination to the public where no other means of communication is reasonably available before or at the time of the event.
Any time I see someone doing something neat and legally grey on radio, some ham operator has to come in, quote their understanding of the law, and chastise everyone. What's the point? Do they get to feel some sense of authority and privilege that the rest of the nerd world don't for a few minutes?
Just let people do cool stuff and don't snitch.
So it’s not viewed in the ham community as tattling, but rather self policing. Because if they don’t do it themselves then papa FCC is just going to take away everyone’s toys. Responsible and lawful use of radios is the name of the game.
Source: I’m a general class licensed ham.
You know what will make ham radio lose its spectrum? Have zero constituency, which will happen once we have run off anyone who wants to experiment on the edge of what is possible with ham radio.
I have zero interest in unencrypted over-the-air communications. The Internet can already trivially reach stations all the way out to the antipode of the planet, at any time of day or night, with my choice of public or private messaging. I can't wait until the spectrum-protectionist people die off and yield the bandwidth to the SDR robot builders that can use it for a digital transport layer.
Once the technical capabilities surpass the administrative permissions, the fun of hacking anything dies, for exactly the reason mentioned. Rather than the hardware saying "you can't do that", it's some old-guard buttinsky, and when the hacker says "wanna bet?", rather than slowly yielding to relentless experimentation, they make a call or two and then the hacker gets fined or their equipment is seized.
When every interesting application I can think of for ham radio has a regulation explicitly saying "no, that's not allowed", people just find another hobby to get into.
Be thankful you only have to deal with irritated hams and not a team of Verizon lawyers.
What little space we do have allocated to us is constantly under attack, because there's always money to be made from selling RF spectrum. If VHF/UHF becomes just a place for computers sending cryptocurrency to each other, eventually the FCC is going to step in and decide "hey, we could be selling this!" Then it's gone forever, and the age of radio experimentation is over.
If you want to go interfere with licensed transmissions to protest the FCC, go for it! I hope you enjoy the inside of federal courtrooms, though.
Some of it is people being cranky, sure, but breaking the rules and regulations of a federal agency is generally not the best idea even if you don't mean any harm by it.
The title says _cypher_punk not _cyber_punk. But I'd misread it myself on the first glance.
> Why do they do it though?
Power tripping, primarily.
> I suppose if someone is really broadcasting garbage and disrupting communications then I can see the issue.
Standard disruption or otherwise will usually get you caught. But sending 200 bytes that happens to be cryptocurrency isn't likely to be found, or caught... Unless you're dumb enough to do it on a repeater (that probably records and streams online).
> (b) In addition to one-way transmissions specifically authorized elsewhere in this part, an amateur station may transmit the following types of one-way communications:
> (1) Brief transmissions necessary to make adjustments to the station;
> (2) Brief transmissions necessary to establishing two-way communications with other stations;
> (3) Telecommand;
> (4) Transmissions necessary to providing emergency communications;
> (5) Transmissions necessary to assisting persons learning, or improving proficiency in, the international Morse code; and
> (6) Transmissions necessary to disseminate information bulletins.
> (7) Transmissions of telemetry.
It may fall under "Transmissions necessary to disseminate information bulletins."
Are transactions or "coins" property? Wouldn't this exception cover the case where you've lost internet "no other means of communication" and are protecting your transactions?
What you're looking at here are licensed commercial radio services.
That's not against the rules. The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) gets it's name for doing this. It's illegal to hide these messages or to use them for a commercial purpose. Original HAMs used to do radio telegrams (radiograms) for the public .
 - http://www.ncarrl.org/nets/mes_form.html
HAMs still do this. Messages from people isolated in Puerto Rico by hurricane Maria were relayed to the US mainland via HAM radio operators on the island. For some time that was the only thing available.
For the US, see https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=1a361a6eb3d1594e6a...
> (b) An amateur station shall not engage in any form of broadcasting, nor may an amateur station transmit one-way communications except as specifically provided in these rules;
> Broadcasts are also prohibited in ham radio.
Wait what? Isn't any message either broadcast or private?
> (10) Broadcasting. Transmissions intended for reception by the general public, either direct or relayed.
Edit: quote is take from "Definitions" section of sciurus link.
Must be others too
https://twitter.com/nvk/status/1101518677910810624 (and this one precedes that one https://twitter.com/nvk/status/1095354354289135617)
2. The spirit of the law is in regards to actual financial interest, this were meaningless amounts and also testnet.
3. Transactions were not actually done over Ham, the transaction data was relayed over ham and broadcasted via internet. (long history of HAM 3rd party message relay).
4. No encrypted messages were transmitted. (and encryption is allowed as long as the cypher is public)
5. The spirit of ham is technical experimentation.
6. These tests were intended for use in countries where the laws don't matter and or in emergencies. In case of emergency it would be allowed to make financial transactions and/or send encrypted messages.
I feel like most rhetoric around that is usual internet-lawyering. If Wired care to contact for comment there would have been some context added.
Race-to-the-bottom thinking, poor ethical reasoning, and just an excuse to engage in behavior frowned upon by the community.
> "In case of emergency it would be allowed to make financial transactions and/or send encrypted messages."
HAHAH no. "Emergency" is clearly defined and doesn't mean "can't reach my ATM". Executing your bitcoin transaction does not save life or limb.
>messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning
... which can be read here:
So ultimate intent is what matters. A test bitcoin transaction is probably legal even if it were somehow incidentally encrypted.
Individual countries implement decisions taken at the ITU through laws and policy. Individual countries take care of enforcement. For instance, in the USA, that would be the FCC.
I suggest searching greener pastures.
Spent about 15 minutes listening to a repeater.
"Jesus, these people are abrasive as best, all they are doing is saying their call over and over and complaining"
Stopped studying, couple weeks later was at a friend's house and near a different repeater, same stuff different people. Now I just keep the battery maintained and it tuned to a weather broadcast in the event I lose power during a storm.
I mean, in the event of a natural disaster it's pretty cool and you can help replay information and be of use to your community but ehhhh it's an awfully expensive hobby for that unless you want to just buy a cheap handheld and have no range whatsoever since you have an antenna the size of a drinking straw a few inches away from your body.
And then build this. https://hackaday.com/2019/06/05/mobile-sigint-hacking-on-a-c...
Companies have been putting radio transceivers in all sorts of devices, and almost all of them are insecure piles of rubbish. Yet because the tools to analyze them have been nearly non-existent, I designed and built the RadioInstigator.
We're just now seeing radio-fuzzing and other attacks. And I'd expect that this area is going to explode in the coming year. SigInt is now in the hands of the average joe and jane. Devices that relied on security as 'cant easily get the gear' are no longer secure. It's now just a matter of time.