Re: Transparent society?: Feds raid hobby vendors

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 12:36:32 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Robert Bradbury <> wrote on Saturday, January 08,
> 2000 3:21 pm,
> > > Most ham radio operators don't need to hide miniature transmitters that
> are
> > > disguised as clocks or smoke detectors. And there is a fine line
> between
> > > selling an illegal devices and selling Radio Shack parts and
> instructions to
> > > make an illegal device.
> >
> > Harvey, I'm not sure you aren't stretching over the edge here. There is
> > a *big* difference between *telling* someone how to build a nuclear weapon
> > and committing an act of terrorism with one
> I agree. But in this case, the example is more like selling a disassembled
> nuclear bomb with instructions on how to put it together, and claiming it's
> not a nuclear bomb. They are not just selling information, they are selling
> complete devices with assembly instructions.
> This is why the example of the cable descrambler is right on target. The
> ads say that you can buy all the parts, put it together, but don't plug it
> in and use it. When they get in trouble for selling illegal cable
> descrambler, they claim that they had no way of knowing that someone might
> use it to descramble cable.

I made the original crack about cable descramblers, but on investigating
further, found this list of products that were seized from Ramsey

FM-1 FM Transmitter Kit
FM-2 FM Transmitter Kit
FM-4 Hi Power FM Transmitter Kit
FM-5 Micro FM Transmitter Kit
FM-6 Crystal Controlled FM Transmitter
PB-1 Telephone Transmitter
ME-2000 MicroEye Camera/Transmitter
MTV-7A Synthesized Transmitter
MTV-7AWT Synthesized Transmitter
MTV-7A4 Synthesized Transmitter
MTV-7A4WT Synthesized Transmitter
MTV-7A9 Synthesized Transmitter
MTV-A9WT Synthesized Transmitter
ATV-74 Downconverter
ATV-74WT Downconverter
ATV-79 Downconverter
ATV-79WT Downconverter
CLK-3000WT Disguised Clock w/audio
SMK-3000WT Disguised Smoke w/audio
SCN-1 800 MHz Converter Kit
SCN-1WT 800 MHz Converter Wired
C-3000 Video & Audio Cube
C-3001 Hi Power Video & Audio Cube

Most are innocuous, like the FM transmitters and the generic video cameras;
the disguised cameras are most likely to be used for home security (one
testimonial mentions a smoke alarm video set up to monitor the front porch
for grandma, another was used to find a person putting threatening notes
into a schoolgirl's locker); and the only items really close to bending the
law are the downconverters and 800 MHz receivers which could be used to
listen in on cell phone calls.

Since almost all cellphone service is digital and fairly well encrypted
these days (but not so much so the the NSA can't break it) the 800 MHz
restriction is rather pointless.

FM transmitters (all under 100 mw by the way) have a myriad legitimate uses
in addition to the occasional tapping at the State Department (which sounds
like an overenthusiatic freelance operation rather than a professional KGB

Hidden cameras in private hands have been used to detect many cases of
burglary, assault, child and elder abuse and the like (little brother is
watching you), and are unlikely to be used by drug kingpins unless they are
taping congressmen accepting bribes.

All in all, the raids appear to be attempting to quash political dissent
more than making any real crime fighting effort.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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