Re: Transparent society?: Feds raid hobby vendors

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 15:36:19 MST

Actually, if I had to choose something to shut down, the telephone
transmitter is my top choice. That is, I have an easy time imagining its
successful use to gain intelligence in a manner surreptitious & illegal.
>From a hypothetical-practical standpoint, most of the battery operated
units have such a crummy use profile they would be a poor choice for
doing actual surveillance.

But as with many such discussions about malum "in se" vs.
"prohibitorum", the world has people who think one way, and people who
think the other. This discussion has cleared up a few things for me in
that regard.



Doug Jones wrote:
> 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
> Electronics:
> 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
> job).
> 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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