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Author Topic: Once again whackers wanna screw up the hobby... Encryption  (Read 134691 times)
N3HFS
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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2013, 08:13:27 AM »

So what you're saying--in effect--is that ALL of those different comms are going to fail all at once but ham radio won't?
Yes, it seems to me that this is exactly what he is saying.
Quote
Sorry, 'FIB, but you're living in a dream world.  The only ones who really believe that are the advertizing people who write the ARRL's advertizing copy--and then only when they're working on that advertizing.
I'm sorry you feel that way.
Quote
And I did NOT say that it couldn't happen--I said that it was extraordinarily unlikely that ALL the other links would go down at once.
No one is saying this happens regularly.  Such an event is by its very nature extraordinary, else they would further layer their systems with added expense and complexity.  At some point, institutions such as hospitals and, yes, even governments must be economically reasonable and find an end to their layers of protection and redundancy.  It is at this point that external systems such as the highly distributed amateur radio resource may be brought into play.
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W9FIB
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« Reply #46 on: July 05, 2013, 09:45:05 AM »

LOL...See I told you it would happen!
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NK7Z
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« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2013, 11:33:19 AM »

ATTENTION:

ZZZZZ YBPIL AIAIG FMOPP CPAAA DGNGP GPGPA ADNJN ELJKO ELIMO
GEOHF KIFGP IFBCB PKCPI YJMHE PHBHP PPOBH NCOHD AKLLL AGHFP
DEGEF LKELC EAIJI ABAGP AHPPO IHHPH OHPDF YNFPB ALEPO KMPKP
NGCHI GFPBI CBDML PFGHL LIHPC BOOBB HOLDO FJNHP OLHLL OPNIL

MESSAGE ENDS
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Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
LA9XSA
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« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2013, 04:17:29 PM »

I made thread about a month ago, Failsafe systems can fail too, which addressed some of these "myths" about emcomm that are being brought up here. Just quoting those applicable to this thread:

"Digital systems can't fail, so emcomm volunteers need not bother with learning to pass official traffic."
(...)
"If the city's radio net is down, everything else is down too, so why bother"
(...)
"Maybe communications can fail out in the backwoods or in the third world, but not in my big city in the USA"
Sound familiar? Maybe we can use that thread to discuss those (mis)conceptions on a general level, and turn this thread back to the encryption issue?

What some people here might not realize, is that dispatchers and emergency responders already are obscuring the meaning of communications when using in-the-clear radio, by leaving information out or using codes. 10-codes are primarily a brevity tool, though it does offer a tiny bit of security from those who don't have a list of codes available, so it's not 10-codes I'm talking about here, but specific code words used with plain language. So if you let dispatchers use amateur frequencies in emergencies, obscuring of meaning has already been going on for years.

The introduction of digital encrypted radio systems in the public service band should help get everyone over to plain language, just like in the Incident Command System, since the 10-codes are confusing for the first responders themselves especially when working mutual aid. As encrypted radio systems and plain language become prevalent there, I think served agencies will come to expect some measure of communications security from their volunteer communicators as well.

Getting back to patient privacy - some patients will refrain from seeking treatment, or react in extreme ways, by the prospect of certain information about them becoming known. The reason for patient privacy rules isn't just a sort of moral imperative, it has a practical effect on public health by taking away barriers to medical treatment. In some cultural groups, certain medical circumstances getting known might even lead to violent acts like revenge or even punishment of the victim for the sake of "restoring family honor".

Patient privacy is one thing. The safety of responders is another: In man-made emergencies, the location of responders and supplies might not be a good idea to give to the "bad guys"; even in natural disasters there are people ready to exploit the situation. Also there might be unverified and inaccurate information coming in that might cause an unecessary panic if allowed to spread as rumors.

So confidentiality and expedience migth both be essential in an emergency, and if you can't have both you might end up with bad consequences. I still don't think you need to cause encrypted emissions during training though - why not use a simulated cleartext message that corresponds to encrypted data that's sent via the phone or internet, or for example turn down the power and use dummy loads so that the encrypted emissions don't leave the building?
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NK7Z
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« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2013, 10:26:03 PM »

I still don't think you need to cause encrypted emissions during training though - why not use a simulated cleartext message that corresponds to encrypted data that's sent via the phone or internet, or for example turn down the power and use dummy loads so that the encrypted emissions don't leave the building?

Training needs to be as real world as possible...  They should send an encrypted message, EXACTLY like the one they might send in the real world...

Look...  In an emergency, things change...  Encrypted transmissions ARE necessary for any number of reasons...  We all need to get used to that...
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Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
K1CJS
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« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2013, 06:21:51 AM »

Training needs to be as real world as possible...  They should send an encrypted message, EXACTLY like the one they might send in the real world...

Look...  In an emergency, things change...  Encrypted transmissions ARE necessary for any number of reasons...  We all need to get used to that...

There are numbers of 'official' channels to pass sensitive data.  Anything that has absolutely got to be encrypted to the point of this rule making petition simply DOES NOT belong on an amateur radio frequency.

The ARRL has done the entire amateur radio community a disservice by pushing their emergency communication priorities to the point that they have, and it has got to be stopped somewhere.  This is one of the better subjects to attempt to draw the line at.  Amateur radio does not belong doing the job of public service/safety radio systems--and that is exactly what this petition is pressing for.  
THAT  HAS  GOT  TO  BE  STOPPED  IN  ITS  TRACKS!
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NK7Z
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« Reply #51 on: July 06, 2013, 06:42:31 AM »

Training needs to be as real world as possible...  They should send an encrypted message, EXACTLY like the one they might send in the real world...

Look...  In an emergency, things change...  Encrypted transmissions ARE necessary for any number of reasons...  We all need to get used to that...

There are numbers of 'official' channels to pass sensitive data.  Anything that has absolutely got to be encrypted to the point of this rule making petition simply DOES NOT belong on an amateur radio frequency.

Lets say there is a major Earthquake in the LA area...  Lets say that many people are hurt, and many are buried in the rubble...  Lets say that police coverage is very limited...  None of this is a stretch if a major EQ were to happen.

Lets not give a list of trapped people out on the radio, in the clear, (you know to let their families know they are missing and to check if they are home or not, so as to better use the limited resources which will be available), so someone listening can create his/her list of homes to rob, or cars to steel, etc. 

You and K5LXP both came up with the correct solution...  Move it off the ham bands, much like MARS...  But...  Until that is done, the training needs to be real world... 
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Dave
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K1CJS
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« Reply #52 on: July 06, 2013, 09:08:18 AM »

...Lets not give a list of trapped people out on the radio, in the clear, (you know to let their families know they are missing and to check if they are home or not, so as to better use the limited resources which will be available), so someone listening can create his/her list of homes to rob, or cars to steel, etc.

There is no need for the hams who respond to give out detailed lists in the first place.  It's sufficient to say 'There are many victims...'  In any event, how in the world would a ham who has just arrived on scene and set up have such a list, unless the authorities have it compiled already--and if that is the case, there would have been plenty of time to have a secure public service radio in use at that location.

Quote
You and K5LXP both came up with the correct solution...  Move it off the ham bands, much like MARS...  But...  Until that is done, the training needs to be real world... 

The real world, as you call it, doesn't need any such verbatim information passed by ham radio.  Period.  In an emergency, cell phone hubs can and will be moved into position quickly.  Public service bands have been augmented and made more interoperable.  Ham radio isn't as fast (quickly set up) or as indispensable as the ARRL and the ARES people would have you think.

There are hand held radios that have been made available BY FEDERAL GRANTS to areas that have such statewide systems in place.  In Massachusetts, each municipality has a 'bank' of handheld radios that are capable of using the state trunked radio system for secure communication, and those handheld radios can be passed out even quicker than a ham can set up an emergency station.

The 'real world' as you state isn't at all as the ham radio emcomm fanatics would have you think.  The arguments for this ill conceived 'securely encrypted' rule making application--when closely looked at--are nothing more than ARRL propaganda that the fanatics who came up with this proposal have tried to massage into real, legitimate reasons to get it railroaded past the FCC.  I doubt if it's going to work.   
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K1CJS
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« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2013, 09:18:30 AM »

So far, one person has come up with one instance where ham radio proved to be actually needed--but he did not prove that encryption was necessary simply since HIPPA allows for the passing of clear text messages with sensitive information during a time of emergency.  That one time he sited was certainly a time of emergency.

Encryption on the ham radio bands simply is not needed, and will prove to be an added level of complexity that would only serve to complicate matters during an emergency--complexity that may well cause unneeded problems and actually negate the advantages that ham radio could provide in such situations.

One last example.  Say such a life and death message WAS encrypted and had to be passed quickly, and the receiving stations (or the transmitting one, for that matter) didn't have the correct key selected.  Someone could well die because of an extra layer of complexity that shouldn't have been used on the ham bands in the first place!
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AF6WL
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« Reply #54 on: July 06, 2013, 09:44:17 AM »


There are hand held radios that have been made available BY FEDERAL GRANTS to areas that have such statewide systems in place.  In Massachusetts, each municipality has a 'bank' of handheld radios that are capable of using the state trunked radio system for secure communication, and those handheld radios can be passed out even quicker than a ham can set up an emergency station.


Most trunked architectures route connections through a switch node for that region with trunk connections to the central switch.
If a switch or backhaul fails, how practiced would the emergency staff be at bridging the gap with an ad-hoc relay network ?

If I was given an encrypted or obfuscated message to pass between federal or emergency organisations etc. that was a matter of life or death, I would pass it regardless of any license restrictions.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #55 on: July 06, 2013, 10:02:32 AM »

Most trunked architectures route connections through a switch node for that region with trunk connections to the central switch.
If a switch or backhaul fails, how practiced would the emergency staff be at bridging the gap with an ad-hoc relay network ?

The individual repeater stations of the statewide trunk automatically switch to whatever mode or connection that is needed to keep the network even partially in operation, and there are more than one or two ways for it to do so.  These systems have been engineered and constructed to be as nearly failure proofed as it is possible for them to be.  As it's been said before, if things were to get so bad as to knock out ALL the system interconnections, the ham operators would have a lot more to be concerned with than sitting and playing about being important and indispensable--like simply surviving.   
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K7RBW
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« Reply #56 on: July 06, 2013, 10:51:42 AM »

If you want to just "stick to the facts," just looking at the report quoted and not reading anything into it, it sounds like the regular radios went out and someone started their ham radio station. It doesn't say anything about how effective or useful this station was. (e.g. how many lives were saved, how much traffic was passed, etc.-- something to consider when preparing such reports in the future, perhaps?)

This isn't to say that amateur radio hasn't ever helped in the past and won't come in handy in the future, but the quoted report and other such "press" reports often come from the ARRL or other amateur-radio source much more often than they come from a more independent source, let alone one that could be used to corroborate the impact of their contribution.

Someone from outside of ham radio (and even some from inside) might wonder why such press is hard to come by.

You mean to tell me that they didn't have VHF or UHF MEDCOM channels in the ER to talk to the outside world? How was cell out of service?  Multiple carriers across the US with the larger carriers now utilizing point to point microwave and not depending on land based connectivity.

Sure sounds like typical ARRL propaganda.


Yes...all can fail! Ask the folks in northern Minnesota!

ARRL ARES E-Letter July 11, 2012

Lake County Emergency Coordinator Jeff Nast, KCØMKS, reported that Northland SKYWARN was activated from 1800Z on June 19 until 0145Z on the next day. Lake County RACES/ARES was also activated on June 20 to provide emergency communications for a fiber cable failure at the Knife River expressway bridge.

Cook County officials requested disaster response communications for the hospital in Grand Marais. All communications were severed during the storm, and the hospital was without contact with the hospitals in Duluth. Pat Scully, NØWSI, made the request and a communications response resulted. "We were without phone, cell, Internet, and 911 service for approximately 12 hours," reported Jayne Fingerman-Johnson, NØUYQ, of the Cook County ARES Response Team (CCART). "We set up our Amateur Radio station at the Cook County Northshore Hospital to provide communications to the outside world."


So understand a post instead of reading into it. Ham radio can improvise where hardened systems can not. That makes ham radio less prone to failure! Please speak with facts and not emotions because someone disagrees with you.

And no, that incident was not in a dream world.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2013, 07:45:42 AM »

K7RBW, You raise an extremely interesting--and valid--point.  However, in the real world, ham radio is considered an anachronism that usually merits little to no interest to the average man.  Mentions of ham radio simply will not draw most readers.  For example, most of the news pieces that are referred to in the 'News' section of this site are pointers to filler pieces, not major news stories.  73.

Added--I haven't tried it, but maybe a search emphasizing the incident itself--without the mention of ham radio--would yield results.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 07:47:56 AM by K1CJS » Logged
N3HFS
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« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2013, 08:42:29 AM »

Curious. Research into the event leads to a very similar outage in or near the same location in February of 2010.  The hospital apparently did rely on a ham radio operation for essential communications.  

Here's a reference to the different event from 2010:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/02/04/boyd

...and another (again, the 2010 incident):

http://m.cookcountynews-herald.com/news/2010-02-13/Front_Page/Citizens_share_concerns_after_regional_communicati.html

So far, I haven't found any similar media references to ham radio being used in such an event in 2012 as reported by the ARRL ARES e-Letter cited earlier.  
OK, here's one (see the very end of the article):

http://m.mprnews.org/11821/show/31a0769dcc8bfa96b79b52642f52e37e&t=he2u1t3eghqfgj8v375bcv5sk1

I would say this does bolster the argument that ham radio can and does serve as a vital backup in civil emergency situations, possibly even twice in the same place.

Here's a reference to the 2012 event that doesn't mention ham radio but describes the scene:

http://www.cookcountynews-herald.com/news/2012-06-23/Front_Page/Flooding_causes_minor_road_damage_major_communicat.html
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 09:17:54 AM by N3HFS » Logged
W9FIB
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« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2013, 09:40:12 AM »

Looking at the difference in dates and type of events, leads me to believe it happened to them 2 different times. Once from a steam pipe leak that damaged the fiber optic in 2010, and the one I referred to was the fiber optic being cut by a storm that damaged a bridge that the fiber optic was attached and ended up damaging the cable in 2012.

The second link from N3HFS even mentions the ham radio station being set up at the hospital. Smiley

Here is the link to the flooding report.

http://www.cookcountynews-herald.com/news/2012-06-23/Front_Page/Flooding_causes_minor_road_damage_major_communicat.html

So unless there is a discrepancy I missed, sounds like it happened 2 times. Not really a once in a lifetime event, unless you were born after the first event, or died between the 2 dates.
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