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Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Emergency Communications:

from The ARRL Letter on June 20, 2013
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Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Sensitive Emergency Communications:

The FCC is inviting public comments on a proposal from a Massachusetts ham to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to permit the encryption of certain amateur communications during emergency operations or related training exercises. On June 7 the FCC accepted for filing a Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11699) from Don Rolph, AB1PH, and put it on public notice. It will remain open for comment until July 8. Rolph petitioned the Commission in March to suggest an additional exception to 97.113, which currently prohibits "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning."

"As such, encryption cannot be effectively supported by the Amateur Service," Rolph told the FCC in his PRM, "and this restriction has impacted the relationship of Amateur Radio volunteers and served agencies and significantly limited the effectiveness of amateurs in supporting emergency communications." He pointed out that Part 97 already relaxes its encryption prohibitions with respect to satellite control link communications and model craft radio control.

In his petition Rolph suggested excepting "intercommunications when participating in emergency services operations or related training exercises which may involve information covered by HIPAA [medical privacy requirements -- Ed] or other sensitive data, such as logistical information concerning medical supplies, personnel movement, other relief supplies or any other data designated by Federal authorities managing relief or training efforts."

Commenters may use the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS to comment on RM-11699 online.


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Emergency Commun  
by VR2BG on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
From current version of ITU Radio Regulations:

"25.2A 1A) Transmissions between amateur stations of different countries shall not be encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except for control signals exchanged between earth command stations and space stations in the amateur-satellite service. (WRC-03)"

Sorry, but grant this request & USA fails to abide by something it agreed to abide by in order to participate in ITU.

RE: Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Emergency Co  
by N3HFS on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not thrilled by this proposal, but if a restriction applies that such encrypted transmissions remain between U.S. amateur stations only, I don't see any conflict with the part of the ITU agreement cited above.
RE: Rules Change Sought to Permit Encryption of Emergency Co  
by KG4RUL on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is the slipperiest of slippery slopes. Who controls the crypto materials? You know the Government will feel duty bound to step in and take over.
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