eHam

eHam Forums => Elmers => Topic started by: W8BNL on February 06, 2013, 05:26:14 PM



Title: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: W8BNL on February 06, 2013, 05:26:14 PM
According to a website I just viewed (http://www.catastrophenetwork.org/?p=1027#comment-8562) - they claim to have "developed" a "Standardized Coded Matrix for Prepper Communications". Now as I read the FCC Rules - it states:

Sec. 97.113  Prohibited transmissions.

    (a) No amateur station shall transmit:
   
    (4) ... messages in codes or ciphers intended to obscure the
meaning thereof, except as otherwise provided herein; ....

But these guys have made available their "Secret" code matrix for PDF download on their website.

I posted a reply to their article on their page quoting the above FCC Rules but it is "Awaiting Moderation".

Any thoughts from you guys???

73 de W8BNL - Tom


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: AA4HA on February 06, 2013, 05:35:32 PM
I would say it is, their intention is to "obscure" the purpose, intent and content of their communications.

They really do not care about Joe Q Citizen listening in on them, they are afraid the 'govmnt will be listening in.

It would be really easy for them to modify this into becoming a "one time pad" type system. (cipher)


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KCJ9091 on February 06, 2013, 06:38:14 PM
VD is a good one. 


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: W6EM on February 06, 2013, 07:37:29 PM
Pactor 3 proprietary source code is not available.  Only one source for P3 modems.  I see little difference between this and P3, yet the FCC looks the other way.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KD4LLA on February 06, 2013, 08:33:45 PM
If "the sh*t hits the fan" are you really going to worry about what the FCC has to say?  Of course its illegal, along w/ speeding, smoking in a public bldg, and removing the tag from your pillow.  Why politicians keep enacting these laws for I don't know.  I guess it keeps some of **us** employed.  From my understanding the "average Joe" breaks three felony laws before leaving the house in the morning.  I don't have time to worry what someone does on 14.242 Mhz...

Mike


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KB4QAA on February 06, 2013, 09:23:53 PM
Pactor 3 proprietary source code is not available.  Only one source for P3 modems.  I see little difference between this and P3, yet the FCC looks the other way.
The FCC's interpretation is that anyone can purchase the TNC, therefore nothing is encrypted with the intention hiding its contents.

Nobody complained twenty years ago when Kantronics introduced G-tor.

That said, I personally feel that all protocols used on ham bands should be openly published and available for any individual or manufacturer to use.  This would eliminate Pactor II/III and D-Star unless they chose to be open.

-To the original question: Yes, the code matrix they propose is inappropriate and violates the FCC regs.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: K1CJS on February 07, 2013, 04:13:23 AM
If the code matrix is readily available for download at no cost, then they're not really trying to 'hide' anything, are they?  The question asked was just that.  Now, if the code was NOT available except to a select few that belonged to a group that it was next to impossible to join--THEN the intent of the code would be to hide their communications.

This question highlights a real grey area in the FCC regs, and as others have said, other freely available coded ways of communications are used on the ham bands--with no questions asked.  This code is simply another one of those.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KG4RUL on February 07, 2013, 06:07:23 AM
Pactor 3 proprietary source code is not available.  Only one source for P3 modems.  I see little difference between this and P3, yet the FCC looks the other way.

The Pactor 3 protocol description is readily available.  The SCS owned source code to implement Pactor 3 is intellectual property and is proprietary.  You are free to write your own program to implement Pactor 3 based on the published protocol.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: K7RBW on February 07, 2013, 06:39:44 AM
If the code matrix is published, how is it any different than Q-codes? Like Q-codes or NTS message numbers, it sounds like a way to reduce the bandwidth (or band-length, I suppose) of a message.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: AA4PB on February 07, 2013, 07:11:26 AM
However, there is an easy, low tech solution that allows you to safely communicate critical messages without worrying about them being intercepted. The answer is called a “coded matrix.”

It seems pretty clear that their intent is to "obscure the meaning".


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: VE9AAE on February 08, 2013, 07:56:51 PM
KCJ9091,
didn't quite know what to think of your "VD" reference until I looked at the PDF of the matrix.

Hilarious that someone would use the Coded Matrix code (which is VD) to ask "Do you use the Preppers Coded Matrix", I was wondering if someone were to reply "no" but that can't happen...
there isn't any "no" on the matrix.
There's two codes for "yes" though!


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: WX2S on February 08, 2013, 08:17:09 PM
SI is the code for "No/Not."

SI is also the first two letters of SILLY, which this thing certainly is. For a less silly example, see the A B C Telegraphic Code. (http://people.eku.edu/styere/Encrypt/ABC4/index.html)

73,
- WX2S


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KB4QAA on February 08, 2013, 11:14:13 PM
1. Despite the code matrix being on the net, it is not widely known nor accepted
2. They state the purpose is to prevent casual listeners from understanding the traffic being passed.
3. They state the message may be double encrypted with the code matrix, for "Added security".   There is no provision in the FCC regs for secure communications for amateur stations.

By their own statements the purpose of this code is to obscure their communications.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 11:01:52 AM
If they have posted the codes and meanings on a website, then I do not think they are trying to intentionally obscure communications.  They're just trying to save time, which is allowable.

QSL?

- k


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: W6EM on February 09, 2013, 06:53:07 PM
Pactor 3 proprietary source code is not available.  Only one source for P3 modems.  I see little difference between this and P3, yet the FCC looks the other way.

The Pactor 3 protocol description is readily available. 
Sure, protocols are things like levels, time durations, etc.  A protocol isn't at issue here.

Quote
The SCS owned source code to implement Pactor 3 is intellectual property and is proprietary. 
It is precisely the source code to produce a pactor 3 interchange that is at issue, and makes it an intentionally exclusive mode.  A mode only available to those willing to "pay SCS' price."  Fine for commerical, encoded exchanges, but not fine for amateur radio.

 
Quote
You are free to write your own program to implement Pactor 3 based on the published protocol.
And, just how would I do that?  Buy an SCS black box, then try x to the nth combinations of the protocol data to determine ASCI characters and punctuation?

Because SCS chooses not to release the code even via a license agreement pretty much makes it something intentionally kept esoteric.  Not at all different than the code in question here.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: M0HCN on February 10, 2013, 05:56:36 AM
Sure, protocols are things like levels, time durations, etc.  A protocol isn't at issue here.

Actually iff the protocol documentation is complete it is sufficient to implement Pactor 3, you do not need their source code (Just a C compiler, the protocol and some time to pen your own implementation).

Pactor 3 is documented in ITU-R 1798, which may be more useful then the SCS technical description.
Quote
It is precisely the source code to produce a pactor 3 interchange that is at issue, and makes it an intentionally exclusive mode.  A mode only available to those willing to "pay SCS' price."
Not really, it is also available to any ham willing to turn the protocol documentation into either software or hardware. Of course if the documentation is incomplete or if the real signals do not follow the documentation (quite possible, writing correct documentation is hard) then you are into the field known as 'reversing' and that really needs access to the hardware to generate known signals.

You do not need to have code identical to SCSs to have interoperability, you jut need to produce something on air that follows the protocol, after all we have probably got a dozen or so implementations of the TCP/IP protocols out there and they all talk to each other just fine.
Having a reference implementation is very helpful, no doubt, but it is not required.
Quote
And, just how would I do that?  Buy an SCS black box, then try x to the nth combinations of the protocol data to determine ASCI characters and punctuation?
Well you could do that, but it sounds a little painful, I would start with the ITU documentation and something like gnuradio (Provides convenient building blocks), and actually the interleaving and coding is described in the protocol, as is the higher level packetisation, so once you have the output from the viterbi decoder working the rest looks fairly straightforward.

73 Dan.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KG4RUL on February 10, 2013, 06:15:13 AM
Sure, protocols are things like levels, time durations, etc.  A protocol isn't at issue here.

Actually iff the protocol documentation is complete it is sufficient to implement Pactor 3, you do not need their source code (Just a C compiler, the protocol and some time to pen your own implementation).

Pactor 3 is documented in ITU-R 1798, which may be more useful then the SCS technical description.
Quote
It is precisely the source code to produce a pactor 3 interchange that is at issue, and makes it an intentionally exclusive mode.  A mode only available to those willing to "pay SCS' price."
Not really, it is also available to any ham willing to turn the protocol documentation into either software or hardware. Of course if the documentation is incomplete or if the real signals do not follow the documentation (quite possible, writing correct documentation is hard) then you are into the field known as 'reversing' and that really needs access to the hardware to generate known signals.

You do not need to have code identical to SCSs to have interoperability, you jut need to produce something on air that follows the protocol, after all we have probably got a dozen or so implementations of the TCP/IP protocols out there and they all talk to each other just fine.
Having a reference implementation is very helpful, no doubt, but it is not required.
Quote
And, just how would I do that?  Buy an SCS black box, then try x to the nth combinations of the protocol data to determine ASCI characters and punctuation?
Well you could do that, but it sounds a little painful, I would start with the ITU documentation and something like gnuradio (Provides convenient building blocks), and actually the interleaving and coding is described in the protocol, as is the higher level packetisation, so once you have the output from the viterbi decoder working the rest looks fairly straightforward.

73 Dan.

Having been a developer of embedded software systems, I totally concur with Dan's comments.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: W6EM on February 10, 2013, 07:03:46 AM
Sure, protocols are things like levels, time durations, etc.  A protocol isn't at issue here.

Actually iff the protocol documentation is complete it is sufficient to implement Pactor 3, you do not need their source code (Just a C compiler, the protocol and some time to pen your own implementation).

Pactor 3 is documented in ITU-R 1798, which may be more useful then the SCS technical description.
Quote
It is precisely the source code to produce a pactor 3 interchange that is at issue, and makes it an intentionally exclusive mode.  A mode only available to those willing to "pay SCS' price."
Not really, it is also available to any ham willing to turn the protocol documentation into either software or hardware. Of course if the documentation is incomplete or if the real signals do not follow the documentation (quite possible, writing correct documentation is hard) then you are into the field known as 'reversing' and that really needs access to the hardware to generate known signals.

You do not need to have code identical to SCSs to have interoperability, you jut need to produce something on air that follows the protocol, after all we have probably got a dozen or so implementations of the TCP/IP protocols out there and they all talk to each other just fine.
Having a reference implementation is very helpful, no doubt, but it is not required.
Quote
And, just how would I do that?  Buy an SCS black box, then try x to the nth combinations of the protocol data to determine ASCI characters and punctuation?
Well you could do that, but it sounds a little painful, I would start with the ITU documentation and something like gnuradio (Provides convenient building blocks), and actually the interleaving and coding is described in the protocol, as is the higher level packetisation, so once you have the output from the viterbi decoder working the rest looks fairly straightforward.

73 Dan.

Thanks, Dan, for the lesson.  Apparently, what is necessary to effect it is too difficult for anyone else to do, thus far.  Then again, maybe there isn't such a big market for it.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: M0HCN on February 10, 2013, 08:17:57 AM
Small market, and those who do this stuff for fun usually have half a dozen or so projects of more interest to them on the go.
Fact is, that license is probably cheap enough to make doing a clean implementation as a commercial effort a waste of time and that just leaves the open source crowd who all have projects of their own on the go.

None the less the spec is out there if you chose to implement it.

This differs from something like say adding an AES3 layer to a PSK mode and only distributing the key to your friends (Which would definitely be illegal on the ham bands, even if I published the source code), or using something like the OPs lookup table with a private one that was not available on the web, same for one time pads and such. 

Regards, Dan.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: N4ZAW on February 11, 2013, 10:40:38 AM
At the point that it would be actually TRANSMITTED, yes. Until then, the FCC you,me the pope can do nothing to prevent them.
At the point that they would use this "code", the point of legality becomes moot because anarchy would be the government du jour, or a government which would go against the constitutional and God-given freedoms to do intervene. And yes, I realize we are already there with the current regime. But that wasn't the question. You could try to get your operatives on the inside to learn the code first anyhow. Is it against the law to formulate a code? No. It's against the law to use it in communications.
I think I'm going to check into this further. I might want to learn it now while I have the chance.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KU7PDX on February 11, 2013, 02:07:56 PM
According to a website I just viewed (http://www.catastrophenetwork.org/?p=1027#comment-8562) - they claim to have "developed" a "Standardized Coded Matrix for Prepper Communications". Now as I read the FCC Rules - it states:

Sec. 97.113  Prohibited transmissions.

    (a) No amateur station shall transmit:
   
    (4) ... messages in codes or ciphers intended to obscure the
meaning thereof, except as otherwise provided herein; ....

But these guys have made available their "Secret" code matrix for PDF download on their website.

I posted a reply to their article on their page quoting the above FCC Rules but it is "Awaiting Moderation".

Any thoughts from you guys???

73 de W8BNL - Tom
No reason why this wouldn't be allowed. They've developed and published a phone communications protocol that the public has access to. The document even states "©2012 Catastrophe Network, Please Distribute Freely."

Nothing secret, and since it isn't secret, it doesn't obscure any meaning.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: W6EM on February 12, 2013, 04:17:13 PM
......., or a government which would go against the constitutional and God-given freedoms to do intervene. And yes, I realize we are already there with the current regime. .........

  Domestic spying/evesdropping (the Patriot Act) was implemented during the Bush Administration.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KB2WIG on February 12, 2013, 04:37:19 PM

[/quote]  Domestic spying/evesdropping (the Patriot Act) was implemented during the Bush Administration.
[/quote]


Its been around a lot longer than the Bush Administration. Check out the following....

Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928 ) and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

WTA,

klc


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: KB4QAA on February 12, 2013, 05:40:44 PM
At the point that it would be actually TRANSMITTED, yes. Until then, the FCC you,me the pope can do nothing to prevent them.
At the point that they would use this "code", the point of legality becomes moot because anarchy would be the government du jour, or a government which would go against the constitutional and God-given freedoms to do intervene. And yes, I realize we are already there with the current regime. But that wasn't the question. You could try to get your operatives on the inside to learn the code first anyhow. Is it against the law to formulate a code? No. It's against the law to use it in communications.
I think I'm going to check into this further. I might want to learn it now while I have the chance.

How about coming back to earth and keeping the discussion on real life terms and not dooms day fantasies, fellows?   Jeez.


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: BUFFOON on February 15, 2013, 06:41:40 PM
Domestic spying/evesdropping (the Patriot Act) was implemented during the Bush Administration.

And much of it was "re-upped" during the Obama administration.

So what?


Title: RE: Isn't this illegal???
Post by: N7KFD on February 20, 2013, 05:20:28 AM

Why not use pig latin?