SCANNER BILL HEADING TO CONGRESS
Please give this information the widest possible dissemination on all hobby forums. The author of this message grants permission to repost or reprint the information below unconditionally. Here is the latest legislative threat to the monitoring hobby. Folks this bill is pure poison to all branches of the radio hobby. In particular. I'm extremely concerned with section 3 of this bill amending the Communications Act of 1934. Every radio listener and ham needs to contact their elected officials in Washington and voice opposition to this bill. Unlike the Markey bill, HR 2369 does have cosponsors and given the timing in the legislative calendar, I feel it does have an excellent chance of getting through Congress this session. This bill has the same provisions in it as the Markey bill (HR 1964) plus the new language on scanner mods in section 1 and the new very restrictive language for the Comm Act of 34 in section 3. This effects every radio listener from shortwave right on up to the microwave regions. If your hobby is listening to something other than broadcast radio or television, ham or CB this bill could and probably will effect you. Bottom line: I will be posting additional info and analysis after we talk to the legal folks. On the surface, this doesn't look good at all. We are going to have a major fight on our hands here. Best Regards, Larry Van Horn Assistant Editor/Managing Editor Monitoring Times/Satellite Times P.O. Box 98 Brasstown, NC 28902 <<<
>>> HR 2369 IH 105th CONGRESS 1st Session To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to strengthen and clarify prohibitions on electronic eavesdropping, and for other purposes. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES July 31, 1997 Mr. TAUZIN (for himself, Mr. MARKEY, Mr. OXLEY, Mr. GILLMOR, Ms.ESHOO, and Ms. MCCARTHY of Missouri) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce A BILL To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to strengthen and clarify prohibitions on electronic eavesdropping, and for other purposes. [Italic->] Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, [<-Italic] SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the `Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1997'. SEC. 2. COMMERCE IN ELECTRONIC EAVESDROPPING DEVICES. (a) PROHIBITION ON MODIFICATION- Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 302(b)) is amended by inserting before the period at the end thereof the following: `, or to modify any such device, equipment, or system in any manner that causes such device, equipment, or system to fail to comply with such regulations'. (b) PROHIBITION ON COMMERCE IN SCANNING RECEIVERS- Section 302(d) of such Act (47 U.S.C. 302(d)) is amended to read as follows: `(d) The Commission shall prescribe regulations denying equipment authorization (under part 15 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any other part of that title) for any scanning receiver that is capable of-- `(1) receiving transmissions in the frequencies allocated to any commercial mobile service (as defined in section 332(d), `(2) readily being altered to receive transmissions in such frequencies, `(3) being equipped with decoders that convert digital commercial mobile service transmissions to analog voice audio, or `(4) being equipped with devices that otherwise decode encrypted radio transmissions for the purposes of unauthorized interception.'. (c) IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS- Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall prescribe amendments to its regulations for the purposes of implementing the amendments made by this section. In prescribing such amendments, and in response to subsequent changes in technology or behavior, the Commission shall review and revise its definition of the term `capable of readily being altered' as necessary to prevent commerce in devices that may be used unlawfully to intercept or divulge radio communication. SEC. 3. UNAUTHORIZED INTERCEPTION OR PUBLICATION OF COMMUNICATIONS. (a) AMENDMENTS- Section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 605) is amended-- (1) in the heading of such section, by inserting `interception or' after `unauthorized'; (2) in the second sentence of subsection (a), by striking `and divulge' and inserting `or divulge'; (3) in subsection (e)(1)-- (A) by striking `fined not more than $2,000 or'; and (B) by inserting `or fined under title 18, United States Code,' after `6 months,'; and (4) in subsection (e)(3), by striking `any violation' and inserting `any receipt, interception, divulgence, publication, or utilization of any communication in violation'; and (5) in subsection (e)(4), by striking `any other activity prohibited by subsection (a)' and inserting `any receipt, interception, divulgence, publication, or utilization of any communication in violation of subsection (a)'. (b) RESPONSIBILITY FOR ENFORCEMENT- Notwithstanding any other investigative or enforcement activities of any other Federal agency, the Federal Communications Commission shall investigate alleged violations of section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 605) and may proceed to initiate action under section 503 of such Act (47 U.S.C. 503) to impose forfeiture penalties with respect to such violation upon conclusion of the Commission's investigation.
Here are the folks you wanna get. From the House Commerce Committee: (Starting with the co-sponsers of the bill..."Our heroes") W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, LA Michael G. Oxley, OH Paul E. Gillmor, OH Vice Chairman Anna G. Eshoo, CA Karen McCarthy, MO ------------------------------------- Tom Bliley, VA, CHAIRMAN Michael Bilirakis, FL Dan Schaefer, CO Joe Barton, TX J. Dennis Hastert, IL Fred Upton, MI Cliff Stearns, FL Bill Paxon, NY Scott L. Klug, WI James C. Greenwood, PA Michael D. Crapo, ID Christopher Cox, CA Nathan Deal, GA Steve Largent, OK Richard Burr, NC Brian P. Bilbray, CA Ed Whitfield, KY Greg Ganske, IA Charlie Norwood, GA Rick White, WA Tom Coburn, OK Rick Lazio, NY Barbara Cubin, WY James Rogan, CA John Shimkus, IL And the Democrats.... John D. Dingell, MI Henry A. Waxman, CA Edward J. Markey, MA Ralph M. Hall, TX Rick Boucher, VA Thomas J. Manton, NY Edolphus Towns, NY Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ1 Sherrod Brown, OH Bart Gordon, TN Elizabeth Furse, OR Peter Deutsch, FL Bobby L. Rush, IL Ron Klink, PA Bart Stupak, MI Eliot L. Engel, NY Thomas C. Sawyer, OH Albert R. Wynn, MD Gene Green, TX Ted Strickland, OH Diana DeGette, CO And if for some reason this bill makes it thru the House, these folks in the Senate sub-committee on Communications is where its at.. Republicans Conrad Burns, Montana Ted Stevens, Alaska Slade Gorton, Washington Trent Lott, Mississippi John Ashcroft, Missouri Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Spencer Abraham, Michigan Bill Frist, Tennessee Sam Brownback, Kansas Democrats Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Wendell H. Ford, Kentucky John F. Kerry, Massachusetts John B. Breaux, Louisiana John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Ron Wyden, Oregon
MARCH 17, 2004 - CONGRESS VOTES TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY
Criminals No Longer Able to Eavesdrop on Police
In a rare unanimous vote, both houses of Congress have approved the Public Safety Communications Privacy Act. The act, which makes it a federal crime to monitor any police, fire, medical, or ambulance radio transmission, is expected to be signed into law by the President before the en d of the week. In addition to the prohibition on monitoring, the act also makes it a crime to use, possess, or sell any radio receiver which is capable of directly or indirectly monitoring any public safety radio communication. Employees of public safety organizations and members of the news media are exempt from the provisions of the act.
Support for the act was tremendous. Average citizens, concerned for their safety, can rest assured that criminals will not be able to monitor police communications. Public safety workers, long concerned about the use of "police scanners", will no longer have to worry about eavesdroppers showing up at the scene of incidents. When told about the passage of the act, Mildred Jones of Dover, MD said, "I'm so glad those electronic stalkers and technocreeps won't know when I call the ambulance!"
During the weeks prior to the passage of the PSCPA, a few lobbyists and citizens attempted to claim that the airwaves are public property and should not be subject to such privacy regulations. They argued that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when a signal is transmitted using an unscrambled radio system and that citizens have a right to monitor the activities of public safety departments.
Based on the precedents set by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (which made it a crime to monitor cellular phone calls, live remote broadcast link-ups, scrambled communications, and certain other private radio communications), the Telephone Dispute and Disclosure Resolution Act of 1994 (which made it illegal to monitor cordless phone calls and also prohibited the manufacture or sale of radio scanners which could be easily modified to receive cellular phone frequencies), the Cellular Scanner Prohibition Act of 1999 (which made it a federal crime to use, sell, or possess any radio device capable of directly or indirectly monitoring cellular phone conversations), and the Unauthorized Receiver Confiscation Act of 2001 (which allowed authorities to execute random searches on the homes and vehicles of persons suspected of possessing an illegal radio receiver), the arguments against the passage of the act were found to carry no weight.
Owners of radio receivers which violate the PSCPA will have until April 5, 2004 to turn their scanners over to local authorities for destruction. After the grace period, local and federal authorities, in accord with the Unauthorized Receiver Confiscation Act of 2001, will begin searching homes of known scanner owners for illegal radio receivers. Persons found to be in possession of radio devices which violate the PSCPA will be subject to a fine of up to $500,000 and up to 10 years in prison for each unauthorized receiver.
If they ever decide to do this they better hope they have gotten all the guns first or else show up in an armored car !
If it sounds implausible, think again. I'm normally not one to be "paranoid", but I have seen the tremendous increase in anti-scanner sentiment, and I know that a "minority" hobby such as scanning is an easy target for legislation such as this.
Excellent piece. As I read it, it struck me that one could easily replace "scanner" with "firearm" thru-out, and be just as chilled.
I recommend not giving your name when you purchase scanners at Radio Shack. If our --------- government ever outlaws scanners, Radio Shack records will tell them where to find you.
RECENT LETTER ISSUED BY FCC
MANUFACTURING ILLEGAL SCANNERS INCLUDES SCANNER MODIFICATION
It has come to our attention that entities are offering to modify scanning receivers (scanners) in order to receive frequencies allocated to the Domestic Public Cellular Radio Telecommunications Service. Such modifications are not permitted under federal law and the Commission's rules.
Scanners are radio receivers that can automatically switch between four or more frequencies anywhere in the frequency range of 30-960 MHz. On April 19,1993, the Commission adopted a Report and Order in ET Docket 93-1 amending Parts 2 and 15 of the FCC Rules to prohibit the manufacture and importation of scanners capable of receiving, or readily being altered to receive, frequencies allocated to the Cellular Radio Service. The Commission adopted these rules to implement Section 302(d) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (47 USC 302 (d)).
Scanning receivers are required by Section 15.101(a) of the FCC Rules to be certificated by the Commission. Section 15.121 states that scanning receivers, and frequency converters designed or marketed for use with scanning receivers, must be incapable of operating (tuning), or readily being altered by the user to operate, within the frequency bands allocated to the Domestic Public Cellular Radio Telecommunications Service. Scanners that are capable of "readily being altered by the user" include, but are not limited to: those for which the ability to receive cellular telephone frequencies can be added by clipping the leads of, or installing, a simple component, such as a diode, resistor and/or jumper wire; replacing a plug-in semiconductor chip; or programming a semiconductor chip using special access codes or an external device. Scanners and frequency converters for use with scanners, must also be incapable of converting digital cellular frequencies to analog voice audio. Under Section 15.37(f), the manufacture or importation of scanning receivers, and frequency converters used with scanning receivers, that do not comply with Section 15.121 shall cease on or before April 26, 1994.
Manufacturing a scanner to receive cellular telephone frequencies is a violation of Section 302(d) of the Communications Act (47 USC. Section 302(d)) and Sections 15.37(f) and 15.121 of the Rules (47 CFR 15.37(f) and 15.121). The modification of scanners on a substantial scale to receive cellular frequencies will be considered to constitute manufacture of such equipment in violation of FCC Rules. Entities engaged in such activity are cautioned to cease advertising and/or performing any such activity immediately.
The Commission will vigorously take enforcement action against parties found to violate these rules. Willful or repeated violations may be subject to a monetary forfeiture of not more than $10,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $75,000. See 47 CFR 1.80(a). Further, pursuant to 47 U.S.C Section 510, such devices may be seized and forfeited to the United States.
Use of scanners by individuals to intercept and divulge or use beneficially wireless telephone conversations is subject to Section 705 of the Act. Other Federal and State statutes also apply in this area. For more information regarding the interception and divulgence of radio communications, see FCC FACT SHEET, "Interception and Divulgence of Radio Communications," dated January 1997, which can be obtained by calling the Public Service Division at 202-418-0200 or accessing it on the Commission Internet web site at http://www.fcc.gov/Consumer_Info.html/
By the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology Additional questions concerning this notice may be addressed to Art Wall at 301-725-1585 (ext. 205), fax: (301) 344 2050, email: email@example.com.