Friday, September 20, 2013

FCC Dismisses Encryption Petition

Concluding that current rules prohibiting encryption on most amateur radio transmissions are not "impairing the ability of the Amateur Radio community to provide effective support to public safety agencies during emergencies," the FCC in mid-September dismissed a petition that sought approval for encrypting certain personal information in emergencies or emergency drills. Don Rolph, AB1PH, had submitted the petition, claiming that the ban on encryption prevented hams from transmitting individuals' medical data on behalf of served agencies, thus reducing the effectiveness of amateur radio emergency communications. 
The FCC said it received over 300 comments on the petition and that they were against the proposal by a 2-1 margin. The commission concluded that "while the proposal could advance one purpose of the Amateur Radio Service - (emergency communications) - it would undermine other characteristics and purposes of the service."