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France Says D-Star Ham Radio Mode Is Illegal

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the centralized-decision-making dept.

Communications 282

gyrogeerloose writes "Citing 'national security concerns,' the French Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP, France's equivalent of the US's FCC) has ruled that D-Star, an amateur radio digital signal mode used world-wide, is illegal because it could allow operators to connect to the Internet.The ARCEP also cites alleged concerns regarding cryptography and national security as well as the use of a proprietary codec. While it's true that the D-Star codec is proprietary, its owner has openly licensed it (for a fee, of course) to any manufacturer who wants to build it into their equipment. Any licensed amateur radio operator who lives within the EU can sign an online petition protesting this decision."

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... and Winlink 2000? (5, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748908)

So how does Winlink 2000 [winlink.org] , a digital protocol (using a patented codec, too, I think) that supplies email service over the amateur shortwave bands, escape notice? It's a lot harder to communicate a significant distance at the VHF and UHF ranges typically used by D-Star than the HF bands used by Winlink systems.

The ways of bureaucracies are often mysterious.

Re:... and Winlink 2000? (3, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749206)

Follow the money. Anybody in power in France have a financial interest in not allowing this mode of communication?

Re:... and Winlink 2000? (1, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749424)

Follow the money. Anybody in power in France have a financial interest in not allowing this mode of communication?

Or, possibly follow the lack of money.

All the dstar equipment is made by icom inc, a Japanese multinational with an office in France:

http://www.icom-france.com/a-propos-d-icom.php [icom-france.com]

It's quite possible these guys didn't pay the proper bribes, protection money, "donations", etc, and the ban is the response.

Icom has been "big" in the field for decades. This would be like banning, say, mac computers, in comparison to merely blocking a tiny month old startup. Which certainly makes it newsworthy.

every modulation method can be 'net-connected (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748922)

What is the /real/ reason for this law, please, French hams?

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748950)

This is a good question.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748956)

The French are afraid their net-connected hams will offend Pakistan.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749004)

Not French, but my guess? Pissed they can't use their three-strikes laws to keep you from using this to p2p stuff.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749048)

Using it to connect to the internet requires someone providing an access point -- which can always be shut down. I don't see this as being any different than an unsecured WiFi router.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (4, Insightful)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749198)

But this unsecured link is legal everywhere but France, so the French could not shut down a link in Belgium, Spain, the UK, or anywhere else nearby that wants to host one.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749322)

So it's a threat to national security because it has greater range than WiFi? Where do you draw the line?

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749686)

Where do you draw the line?

Along the eastern border with Germany, but not extending all of the way to Belgium.

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749738)

Obviously, yes. And it's obvious where they want to draw the line.

If it was China or the USA my answer would be 'nowhere'...

Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (3, Funny)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749110)

They've got some serious beef with the hams

Wait, What? (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748928)

"illegal because it could allow operators to connect to the Internet."

Surfing the web is a crime in France?

Re:Wait, What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748972)

I get the idea that you don't understand the issue, yet you try to mock it anyway. I know, welcome to slashdot.

Re:Wait, What? (3, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749008)

He doesn't understand the issue, so he asked a question. Sorry that offends your sensibilities.

Re:Wait, What? (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749402)

He doesn't understand the issue, so he asked a question. Sorry that offends your sensibilities.

Clearly he doesn't understand the way we do things here. If you don't understand the issue, pretend that you do. If you do understand the issue, read the other comments, hold your head in your hands and rock back and forth hoping that the pain will stop.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749666)

Well, to be honest (and slightly offtopic), even french people can't tell if it's still legal to use internet...

Re:Wait, What? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749000)

As a ham in the U.S., I can tell you that here, there is a severe restriction on communication in that no commercial messages may be relayed. It took years for the FCC to grant an exemption to allow hams to autopatch to order pizza.

As far as I know, there's no exemption for ads (adsense or otherwise), which would severely restrict what traffic you could have over the session. IRC MOTDs that advertise the hosting service? AdSense web ads? Nope, nope.

Re:Wait, What? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749090)

I didn't think of those. I just thought of the issue of SSL across the radio.

Re:Wait, What? (4, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749158)

Be thankful it is how it is. If commercial interests got access to the amateur bands, they'd push individual "amateurs" out. Just imagine if the bands were crowded with business traffic, with powerful stations paid for by commercial interests. The regular Joe would never be able to get through the din.

Historically, that's the reason the word "amateur" is in "amateur radio" -- to differentiate the service from "commercial radio", which is nearly everything else.

Re:Wait, What? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749470)

Be thankful it is how it is. If commercial interests got access to the amateur bands, they'd push individual "amateurs" out. Just imagine if the bands were crowded with business traffic, with powerful stations paid for by commercial interests. The regular Joe would never be able to get through the din.

Yeah, like winlink on 20M HF (ducks from the flames while running). Seriously funny how well your description matches winlink, which in my opinion spends most (all?) of its time dangerously close to breaking the law.

Also your quotes apply to the semi-professional affiliated emcomm types pretty well, too. Pretty much any emcomm involving "memorandum of understanding" and florescent orange safety vests.

Which is probably why those two groups are so ... strongly debated, in some circles. But dstar is not debated so much. Odd.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749676)

Come on now. We all know Joe is a plumber, not a HAM radio operator. ;)

Re:Wait, What? (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749070)

I think that is a mistake.
I believe the big problem is that they believe the proprietary codec counts as encryption.
HAM radio operators are not allowed to encrypt their data The reference may be to using it to to connect to the web using SSL which would also be illegal over an Armature radio link because it is encrypted.
What I wonder is how much bandwidth is this using and what else is involved. There is more than just a codec but also how the bits are transmitted across the link. Just from the Amateur radio people I know I doubt that it is as dumb of an objection as the story made it seem.

Re:Wait, What? (4, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749084)

France takes their mobile phones communications very seriously - you have to provide a photocopy of your ID just to get a Mobicarte (Pay-As-You-Go) SIM card. Even then it will be deactivated if you don't use it after three months.

I get the impression they really want to know the identity of anyone who surfs the web.

Re:Wait, What? (0, Offtopic)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749280)

Can foreigners (I'm a US citizen) get a phone/prepaid SIM? What ID do they take? (passport?)

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749350)

yes

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749432)

Last time I tried, they took passport + address (you need to have a valid address in France).
In some small shops you can get a prepaid card without giving any personal info at first, but you'll get a form asking for ID+address that you'll need to send in order not to get your line shut down a few weeks later.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749400)

France takes their mobile phones communications very seriously - you have to provide a photocopy of your ID just to get a Mobicarte (Pay-As-You-Go) SIM card. Even then it will be deactivated if you don't use it after three months.

I get the impression they really want to know the identity of anyone who surfs the web.

Isn't that the case everywhere? I only have experience in 3 countries (though, on 3 different continents) and they all wanted detailed information (passport/drivers licence/credit card). From what I've seen, getting an "anonymous phone" is basically impossible in every country I've ever lived in. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if an "anonymous phone" was illegal in most parts of the world.

As much as I enjoy ridiculing The French, I think in this case they are just following the status quo. I'm strong against the status quo in this case but, I don't think they are being any worse than anywhere else.

Re:Wait, What? (1, Informative)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749444)

You can buy a phone and pre-paid minutes in the US for cash.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749546)

Same in the UK.

You can also buy a stolen phone very easily. Any requirement to register pay-as-you-go phones would probably just increase phone theft, slightly. (People already steal cars -- or just the plates -- to commit crimes.)

Re:Wait, What? (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749574)

You can buy a phone and pre-paid minutes in the US for cash.

Without any ID whatsoever? When I've tried to do almost anything in the U.S., they've wanted ID, proof of "whatever" and have nearly insinuated at a rectal exam.

Yes, I exaggerate but, I don't even think I'm in the realm of Tinfoil Hat Paranoia here.

Re:Wait, What? (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749704)

You can buy a phone and pre-paid minutes in the US for cash.

Without any ID whatsoever?

Yes. Walk right into walmart / walgreens / target, pick up a prepaid phone, and a prepaid balance card, pay cash, walk out.

I have a prepaid phone, I could do this if I cared to. I use a CC online to "top up" but I am well aware of the marketplace and whats available.

Previous attempts to get rid of this have been blocked by our extremely large illegal alien community as being discriminatory against them. You see, if someone's here illegally either they won't be able to get a contract phone due to complete lack of records, or they'll steal someone elses credit info to get one.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

GraZZ (9716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749668)

Ditto Canada.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749780)

True, but only in a small (and shrinking) number of states.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749650)

My wife and I have just arrived in the Ukraine for two weeks. First thing we did was to buy prepaid sims 'over the counter' ready with credit so that we could keep in touch. No details required at all.

MM

Re:Wait, What? (4, Informative)

Junior Samples (550792) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749106)

And why is connecting amateur radio equipment to the internet illegal?

Amateur radio operators have been using the internet as a transport and control link for many years. An example of this is Echolink: http://www.echolink.org/ [echolink.org]

Amateur radio connectivity to the internet is not illegal in most if not all of the remaining world. I don't know why France would be any different.

Re:Wait, What? (2, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749708)

Its not - there is a real risk that a dstar to wifi gateway (which setting up is trivial) being used by a non ham would be however - even here in the states.

I wouldn't say its a reason to ban the protocol though as it can be used for a great number of things other than internet stuff.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

falzer (224563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749840)

What you describe is indeed legal but that is not what is being discussed in the article.

Re:Wait, What? (2, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749146)

If it is like the US, ham radio is not supposed to supplant other services. For instance, last time I checked (several years ago, so I don't know if this changed) you could not do broadcasts over ham radio. That's for regular radio services. Ham was for person to person communication. I could see prohibiting connecting to the internet to fall under that kind of policy.

Re:Wait, What? (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749412)

Things forbidden over ham radio in the US:
1) Encryption (Spread spectrum is a bit of a grey area here, some consider it "encryption", also some radio systems use scrambling codes for "whitening" data patterns. In general, "whitening" scramblers were OK as long as they were fully documented, spread spectrum is a pain in the !*@#)!*$#@! regulation-wise)
2) Broadcast is forbidden with a few exceptions. (Repeater IDs, for example. APRS is also kosher. Broadcasting anything like a "radio show" is not. In the digital age it's a bit grey, but in general sustained transmissions are not kosher, but brief bursts (IDing, position reports) are OK.
3) Commercial usage is forbidden. It used to be that if there was ANYTHING commercial about a transmission it was illegal, however a decade or two ago the US changed rules so that it was OK as long as none of the radio operators involved were benefiting financially. The main effect of this difference is that it used to be illegal to order pizza through an autopatcher (Allows a ham to make phone calls from their radio via a gateway, usually located at a repeater site), now it is legal. I think it was primarily done so that hams supporting emergency/even communications could order food for emergency/volunteer event workers. In France they may still use the old-style rules.

Encryption... (2, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749710)

Encryption, per se, is not disallowed. What is prohibited is "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning." A group of hams setting up a high powered 802.11 AP (which would be illegal for a non-ham to access) might use encryption, not for the purpose of obscuring meaning (it's not being done to hide anything from anyone), but simply for the purpose of restricting access to licensed hams. Likewise, a control link might be encrypted to disallow unauthorized control, not to hide the control operations which are actually being done. That would be perfectly legal, by a plain reading of the regulations. The regulations specifically state that with regard to telecommand of model aircraft, "The control signals are not considered codes or ciphers intended to obscure the meaning of the communication."

Re:Wait, What? (2, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749794)

Ordering a pizza has always been legal to do over the radio - many people misinterpret the rule here. If the ham radio operator himself has a fiduciary interest in operating the radio (for example - dispatching pizza delivery people for his/her own company) that is a no no - however if there is no fiduciary interest (like a 3rd party person on the phone you have no relationship to) - nothing wrong with that since the ham making the phone call isn't making any money by operating his or her radio. Same rules would apply to accessing the net over the air using ham equipment.

The only ham radio operator allowed to make money while operating a radio is a school teacher :).

Also - its largely up to the repeater operator what kind of traffic they allow on their system - if a club has a rule - no pizza ordering they can enforce that, but the FCC doesn't care - and they never have as long as I've been a ham (since 91).

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749428)

I could see prohibiting connecting to the internet to fall under that kind of policy.

Last I heard when US ham radio operators provide internet connections they get praised by the press [msn.com] .

Re:Wait, What? (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749182)

I have some dstar gear. Note that there isn't "A" dstar mode. Its more of a family of related modulations and operations, kind of like ISDN was. I'd be interested in knowing which specific modes and types of operation are banned. Or perhaps they all are, under different rules/interpretations.

There's two types of "connect to internet" that dstar gear can do.

1) The numerous VHF/UHF radio repeaters Usually (but not always) are set up connected to the internet to carry voice. There are several competitors that do almost exactly the same thing. Echolink, IRLP, Yaesu's WIREs thing, probably others. If France has banned Echolink, IRLP, etc, then this is the reason. I have an IC-92AD and a IC-800.

2) There is ONE radio ID-1 operating on the 1296 MHz band that, in addition to doing voice, can additionally do a medium speed/medium range IP network. Again, usually connected to the internet at the repeater side, although certainly not always.

Re:Wait, What? (2, Interesting)

RandomJoe (814420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749808)

Well, you *could* also pass data while in the "digital voice" mode, even alongside a voice conversation. Just at an abysmally slow data rate (~960 bps). So in theory you could "access the net" even with a VHF/UHF rig if the other end was set up appropriately.

I did this once, set up a PPP link between two ID-800s attached to Linux machines. Just for giggles - the data rate is so horribly slow you almost have time to think between keypresses! :)

Normally the data "side channel" is only used for position reporting like APRS, but there are some apps available that let you do a sort of text-messaging with it. Perhaps that's what has them up in arms, don't want to lose any lucrative text-messaging money from the phone company... (Although then again I'm under the impression France / Europe didn't have insane pricing for texting like we do in the US.)

I'm waiting for a couple of ID-1s to show up right now, be interesting to see what sort of range I'll get from 1.2GHz. Never used that band before...

Re:Wait, What? (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749188)

I wonder if they're going to ban carrier pidgeons as well since they also allow connections to the net.
http://www.blug.linux.no/rfc1149/ [linux.no]

They seem to be claiming that it would allow somone to set up an unofficial ISP.

By that kind of logic just about anything at all could be used to connect to the internet.

If I was a big electronics geek I could theoretically set up a pair of toy laser pointers + some light sensors to allow me to relay internet traffic by line of sight (with crappy bandwidth) but that wouldn't be that much more complex than what they seem to be talking about.

Hell you could set up a piece of string with some motors and sensors to relay ip data IPOP (IP Over Pullies)

Re:Wait, What? (2, Interesting)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749696)

If I was a big electronics geek I could theoretically set up a pair of toy laser pointers + some light sensors to allow me to relay internet traffic by line of sight (with crappy bandwidth) but that wouldn't be that much more complex than what they seem to be talking about.

not exactly toy laser pointers, but it has already been done and it works reasonably well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA [wikipedia.org]

Lay off my radio (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748938)

Screw you ARCEP.

Good morning, cum guzzler (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32748980)

Just move to a better country. thanks.

simple solution (5, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32748974)

Tell them it is being used to fix their football program.

Re:simple solution (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749082)

Yeah, to my knowledge they have never made it to a Super Bowl.

Re:simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749244)

I am pretty sure sunking2 was talking about real football, not american football.

Re:simple solution (1)

Cryolithic (563545) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749310)

by american "football" I assume you mean handegg? [dailyhaha.com]

Re:simple solution (0, Offtopic)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749422)

Yeah, it's kinda like Rugby, only the players are so wimpy that they wear protective padding and follow rules. Most movement of the ball is done with the hands, but apparent those delusional chaps thought the name "handball" was already taken, whereas the name "football" wasn't. On the plus side, it has frequent pauses in action of just the right length to insert commercials, so it televises well.

Re:simple solution (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749554)

Yeah, it's kinda like Rugby, only the players are so wimpy that they wear protective padding and follow rules.

Isn't it interesting that those with brains that are protected desire to continue with that protection, while those that have been scrambled through insufficient protection don't understand the problem.

Re:simple solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749774)

Football was a term uses to describe any sport played on foot, as opposed to horses. When modern football (the English kind) was invented it was called soccer. This is why its called soccer in the US. English lower classes continued to call it football because at the time a general agreement on the rules didn't exist outside of the league. That is how the name changed from Soccer to Football in Europe. American Football should of chosen use a less ambiguous name but at the time no other sport was using the name in the new world. So Soccer has a name and chooses not to use it in favor of the generic Football (game with a ball played on foot). While American Football never had a less ambiguous name.

Re:simple solution (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749610)

They have a bowling team?

D-Star sucks (3, Insightful)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749006)

I've got nothing good to say about D-Star until the voice CODEC is free-to-use. That's not amateur radio. As it stand now, D-STAR simply means "made by ICOM"...even the Kenwood-badged D-STAR radios are in fact manufactured by ICOM.

de K3XS

Re:D-Star sucks (1)

Paul Rose (771894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749452)

Agreed.

D-Star concept is fine, but using a patent encumbered codec definitely goes against the spirit of ham radio.

Home brew has always been one of the foundations of ham radio, and it should be possible (and legal) to homebrew a decoder for any modulation scheme (protocol) approved for ham radio use (at least in principle, even if it is difficult or rarely done in practice).

K0EET

 

Re:D-Star sucks (1)

Paul Rose (771894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749472)

That said, I don't think France dislikes D-Star for the same reason as me (and GP).

Re:D-Star sucks (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749598)

D-Star concept is fine, but using a patent encumbered codec definitely goes against the spirit of ham radio.

SSB US patent 1449382

Armstrongs Superregen RX patent 1342885

I was never totally clear if Armstrong patented the concept of FM.

Just saying that the "spirit of ham radio" certainly has never excluded patented modes or gear in the past.

Re:D-Star sucks (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749734)

Home brew has always been one of the foundations of ham radio, and it should be possible (and legal) to homebrew a decoder for any modulation scheme (protocol) approved for ham radio use (at least in principle, even if it is difficult or rarely done in practice).

I agree and don't own any D-Star equipment myself although, to be honest, that is due at least in part to the fact that the license fee adds quite a lot to the price of a radio. I've recently heard rumors stirring about a free and open alternative to D-Star in the early stages of development; while I wouldn't expect it to have any immediate impact, it could prove interesting over the long run.

In the mean time, I'll stick with PSK31 and my current favorite digital mode, ALE-400. Look for me on 20m, 14.074 MHz.

73,

K0EET de KJ6BSO

Re:D-Star sucks (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749830)

You don't need to license the patent to homebrew your own decoder. In fact, one of the purposes of the patent system is to allow non-commercial private citizens to use new technology. Any person can reproduce the technology in any patent without fear of lawsuit. It is only when you commercialize it or attempt to profit from it that patent protection kicks in.

Why now? (5, Interesting)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749040)

Did they just now figure out that IP, and thus the Internet, can be routed over ham radio? Have they never heard of AMPRnet [ampr.org] ? How about AX.25 [wikipedia.org] ? I was able to get (very very slow) Internet access back in 1997 with a KPC-3, an old Yaesu HT, and the Linux AX.25 stack.

Methinks some PHB at France Telecom just got wind of it and is throwing a hissy fit.

Re:Why now? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749266)

I think they're just a little unhappy because of the humiliation they just suffered in the world cup.

Where's the petition to support it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749128)

D-Star is a crock. I don't think HAM should allow anything that requires licensing like this (improved reception via patented technology seems ok, but you should be able to decode/encode without patented tech. The internet connection thing seems stupid (of course you can do this with almost anything). As for encryption that's somewhat silly too, you could encrypt other types of types too, and just make it illegal to do so. D-Star doesn't include built in encryption (it'd be illegal to use in the US with that.

Re:Where's the petition to support it? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749382)

I would sign a petition to support banning D-Star. Using a proprietary, closed codec in a radio system that is only available from one manufacturer is kind of against the whole ethos of amateur radio.

It's France... (0, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749132)

It's France, so what did you expect?

Re:It's France... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749388)

> ...what did you expect?

Politics and silly-buggers bureaucracy, just like everywhere else. It's just government at work.

Sacré bleu ! (3, Funny)

ImNotAtWork (1375933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749150)

Wait 'til they find about IP over pigeon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org] .

Honey get out the Gordon Ramsay recipes for pigeons shot out of the sky for internet connection violations.

Please can we sign a petition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749152)

...to make DStar illegal, just like all other copyright-covered protocols who have nothing to do with ham radio ? Or if you insist to use DStar, to transform Ham Radio into a commercial service ?

ham-to the internet=ampr.org (2, Insightful)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749192)

"connect to the internet"? jeeze hey France, ever hear of a Rose node or KISS? or any of the hundreds of available(since about 1994) packet radio bbs systems that connect and use the internet at will? How about xxx.ampr.org? For the non hams, that stands for AMateur Packet Radio and when used in AMPRNet it is AMateur Packet Radio Network. Thats ok France, I've been around for years and have well over 200 countries on my list of contacts, I can do without you. Just don't get in the way of my signals with your plea for help next time your in a jam....pun intended.

Re:ham-to the internet=ampr.org (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749314)

Just don't get in the way of my signals with your plea for help next time your in a jam....pun intended.

White Flag over IP?

Re:ham-to the internet=ampr.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749442)

WTS French Internet packets.
Never used, dropped once.

Digital Ham is non-Kosher? (0, Redundant)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749200)

Just saying...

Packet Radio is ALREADY on the Internet (3, Insightful)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749220)

AMPRnet has been around for 20 years. There are hundreds (maybe thousands now?) of TCP/IP nodes worldwide that provide a gateway between AMPRnet (44.0.0.0/24) and the Internet. The two nearest to me are at Cal Tech and UCSD. The TRW ARC used to have one too. I'm not sure if it is still operating.

The French have basically outlawed something because of interoperability. The D-Star stuff can be networked. They could have simply said "Don't connect it to the Internet" instead of making it illegal to use.

Re:Packet Radio is ALREADY on the Internet (2, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749296)

Shouldn't that be 44.0.0.0/8 ?

Re:Packet Radio is ALREADY on the Internet (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749536)

As somebody has reasonably pointed out, any sort of modulation can be used to transceive data, and as such connect to the Net (or be used P2P with directional antenna's and whoever monitors frequencies in France would almost probably never know). There are a number of well established schemes to send data and/or voice over ham, which are supported by a multitude of equipment manufacturers.

EchoLink, for instance (as supported by my Yaesu VX6 :), is one out of several schemes to enable a ham operator to communicate with anyone on another side of the globe (not to mention another province or state) via the use of VOIP. which is supported by many an equipment manufacturers (such as my Yaesu VX6 ;), but there are many others - eQSO and IRLP to name the popular ones with open source software readily available for a number of platforms.

Somehow it seems France's lack of RIAA's radio modulatory equivalent is pushing them to come up with novel ways to knock off cash out of people who have not only used, but invented these technologies in the first place (EchoLink and IRLP were created by radiomateurs).

key word being french (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749242)

I'm not surprised about any bureaucracy coming out of france. There's plenty of political idiots here that look up to that red-tape bullshit here too. Screw those cheese eating surrender monkeys. Their citizens will let their government push them around and the government knows this. Its not like they are known for standing up for what they believe in.

Where's the petition for to praise the decision? (4, Interesting)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749286)

Some of us licensed hams think that allowing a proprietary protocol/codec on the amateur bands is a crock of shit. Where's the petition to praise the decision? (I'm licensed, but I'm not in the EU.)

In the US, I would argue that using D-Star on amateur radio is already illegal, under Title 47 part 97(a)(4). Since the codec is proprietary, and documentation on the encoded format is not available, the use of the code is clearly an attempt to obscure the meaning of the communication from anyone that doesn't buy D-Star equipment that contains the proprietary codec.

Eric Smith
N2ES

Re:Where's the petition for to praise the decision (4, Informative)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749302)

Sorry, that's Part 97.113(a)(4).

Re:Where's the petition for to praise the decision (2, Insightful)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749728)

97.113 Prohibited transmissions. (a) No amateur station shall transmit: (4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act; messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification."

I don't see how this applies to DSTAR. There is nothing implied or explicit in the language above, about encoding communications using proprietary or patented protocols.The language focuses on intent "purpose of obscuring". I interpret this as the difference between compressing and encrypting. If I use G729 to compress voice transmission, it doesn't mean my intent is to obfuscate, but merely improve the efficiency of my communication.

Re:Where's the petition for to praise the decision (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749460)

I am an outside observer, but I think you have a pretty good point there. It's arguably "messages in codes or ciphers intended to obscure the meaning thereof,". It's a cipher of sorts, the only argument is whether or not it is intended to obscure the meaning. It could be argued that there is no intent to obscure the meaning, only that its a coincidental side effect.

        Brett

Re:Where's the petition for to praise the decision (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749654)

Using PSK-31 is an attempt to obscure the meaning of the communication from anyone that doesn't buy a computer sound card interface?

Its going to be an uphill battle, like trying to use 97.113(f) as a stick to get rid of packet radio digipeaters/nodes.

Acronyms (4, Funny)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749336)

...the French Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes...

They had to add in the regular mail, you see, else the acronym could have been "FARCE"...

Re:Acronyms (2, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749458)

I know you're aiming for funny, but they don't put the word French at the start, so it would be ARCE - which (for us Brits at least) is still potentially mildly amusing.

Terrorists and Pedophiles! (1, Troll)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749338)

We can't allow you to have free speech, because free speech helps terrorists and pedophiles!

Using That Logic PACTOR Should Be Illegal Too... (4, Interesting)

xquercus (801916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749346)

Using PACTOR III it is possible to (1) connect to the Internet. It is (2) unencrypted and not only (3) proprietary -- it's sole source is SCS. Applying the same logic which prohibits the use of D-Star, PAC III stations should be prohibited too.

France is a laughing stock for the whole world (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749414)

- They where the first to introduce "3-strikes-and-out" Internet connection. Meaning if you download something from piratebay, 3 times - then you lose your internet connection by law.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8436745.stm [bbc.co.uk]

- They where imposing restrictions on content on personal homepages
http://www.cdt.org/pr_statement/french-court-imposes-speech-restrictions-beyond-its-borders-0 [cdt.org]
(and much more)

- They always stand in way of internet innovation, if something isn't checked with them, it's illegal:
http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=22103516 [informationweek.com]

Needless to say, this NEW restriction doesn't come as a huge surprise when it's from France. It's the same country that wanted the entire world to speak French instead of English, remember EuroDisney in the beginning, where you were nearly chased out of the country if you couldn't speak French (it's not like that anymore...experience dawns on them eventually) ...but come ON FRANCE...

Uhm, who?! (1)

RLU486983 (1792220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749540)

Who is this "France" in reference again...?

Bruse Parens even thinks D*Start is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749542)

He is proposing a non-proprietary codec be developed by hams for hams (for everyone really!).

    http://codec2.org/

Kill D*Star now, it isn't the right answer.

no encryption in France (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749604)

Don't you know? In France it is illegal to encrypt your mail. Repeat, mail, not e-mail. Do you want to have the same legislation in USA? If you are not careful, it will happen soon than later.

The Writing is On the Wall (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32749626)

Ham radio is obsolete and outmoded, and this is just a poor attempt at proving otherwise. The French (of all people!) saw through it and put a stop to it.
DStar radios are just commercial radios in a different skin. There is nothing new or revolutionary about them, or ham radio in general really. It's a vast analog waste of space and the sooner we put and end to it, the better. Every time I hear a ham whining about the internet or broadband over powerlines or some other new technology I picture in my mind a rich southern landowner protesting that the gubmint is taking his blacks away... It's no different. The hams are holding vast expanses of prime spectrum as slaves. Just think of what all that space could do for us if it were only freed...

The Writing is On the Wall. The facts are plain for all to see. Ham radio must end, for the betterment of all of society. Only the close-minded do not see this.

Re:The Writing is On the Wall (1)

ulbador (541826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749816)

Ha. The phone system in my community of 300,000 people went down for 4 days a few months back. Guess who provided all emergency communications...

lol dstar (1)

mackinaw_apx (1444371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749646)

DSTAR = Dumb Sh#t Technology for Amateur Radio. Apco/P25 is where it's at.

Some explanation (3, Informative)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749688)

French here giving some explanation (all obtained from the document sent by ARCEP. I have no special knowledge on the subject)

In france, you need an authorization from ARCEP to broadcast radio amateur signals.
The article does not says that D-Star is illegal, just that they are not authorizing it on radio amateur.
The reason why they are not authorizing it is that radio amateur can not be connected to any other communication network (By law), except for some temporary pedagical explanation.

In fact radio amateur are design to learn and study about radio signals. Therefore communication over a radio amateur is not permitted.

The bottom line is that this prohibition is only radio amateur signals. If you are licensed, you are not amateur an can do it. If it is not on radio amateur frequencies (such as IP-over-pidgeon or IP-over-yelling as suggested by other slashdotters) then this decision does not apply.

PORN! (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749836)

It never occurred to me before: Digital PORN over shortwave! Of course we'll have to pass "Think Of The Children" laws now!
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