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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the from-my-cold-dead-hands dept.

Hackaday sounds the alarm and along with ThinkPenguin, the EFF, FSF, Software Freedom Law Center, Software Freedom Conservancy, OpenWRT, LibreCMC, Qualcomm, and others have created the SaveWiFi campaign (archive.is capture, real link is at this overloaded server) , providing instructions on how to submit a formal complaint to the FCC regarding this proposed rule. The comment period is closing on September 8, 2015.

From Hackaday:

Under the rule proposed by the FCC, devices with radios may be required to prevent modifications to firmware. All devices operating in the 5GHz WiFi spectrum will be forced to implement security features to ensure the radios cannot be modified. While prohibiting the modification of transmitters has been a mainstay of FCC regulation for 80 years, the law of unintended consequences will inevitably show up in full force: because of the incredible integration of electronic devices, this proposed regulation may apply to everything from WiFi routers to cell phones. The proposed regulation would specifically ban router firmwares such as DD-WRT, and may go so far as to include custom firmware on your Android smartphone.

A lot is on the line. The freedom to modify devices you own is a concern, but the proposed rules prohibiting new device firmware would do much more damage. The economic impact would be dire, the security implications would be extreme, and emergency preparedness would be greatly hindered by the proposed restrictions on router firmware. The FCC is taking complaints and suggestions until September 8th.

Leave a comment for the FCC via this link to the Federal Register


Original Submission

Related Stories

TP-LINK Won't Sell Reprogrammable Routers in U.S., Blames FCC Firmware Rules 20 comments

The Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) rules on Wi-Fi router firmware are having an effect on the market:

Network gear maker TP-Link will no longer allow people to install customized firmware on its Wi-Fi routers in the US – and the FCC is to blame. In a brief statement and FAQ posted this week, TP-Link – which is based in Shenzhen, China – said the FCC's revised rules on radio-based equipment makes user reprogrammable firmware illegal in America, and therefore it cannot sell in the US routers that can be re-flashed by their owners.

"Devices sold in the United States will have firmware and wireless settings that ensure compliance with local laws and regulations related to transmission power," TP-Link said. "As a result of these necessary changes, users are not able to flash the current generation of open-source, third-party firmware."

[...] The FCC earlier backed off a bit on the matter, but maintains it will not allow devices that can be re-flashed to operate outside authorized radio frequency bands. TP-Link, however, said that the FCC rules as they stand will not allow it to offer people the ability to reprogram their router firmware.

"The FCC requires all manufacturers to prevent users from having any direct ability to change RF [radio frequency] parameters (frequency limits, output power, country codes, etc)," TP-Link stated. "In order to keep our products compliant with these implemented regulations, TP-LINK is distributing devices that feature country-specific firmware."

Previously: New FCC Rules Could Ban WiFi Router Firmware Modification
FCC Clarifies Position on WiFi Routers: Okay to Modify OS but Not Radio Firmware


Original Submission

OpenWrt Gets Update in Face of FCC's Anti-Flashing Push 16 comments

El Reg reports

The open router Linux disto OpenWrt, 15.05 "Chaos Calmer" [named after a cocktail], has hit the intertubes.

One highlight of the release is an update to Version 3.18 of the Linux kernel, and security has been upgraded with ed25519 package signing support, and support for jails and hardened builds.

[The big news, however]--at least according to the project's announcement [permalink]--is a "fully writable filesystem with package management".

This, OpenWrt explains, gives users different options for installation and customisation. Instead of having to use a vendor's application and selection framework, OpenWrt can now be configured using developer-supplied applications.

"OpenWrt is the framework to build an application without having to build a complete firmware", the announcement says, while users get "full customisation [to] ... use the device in ways never envisioned".

That almost sounds like a challenge to America's Federal Communications Commission, which late in August issued a proposed rule-making that would demand Wi-Fi "lock down".

[...] [The device support for Chaos Calmer] has now passed 950 products from 159 vendors, with new devices added from Mediatek, Marvell, Broadcom, Freescale, AllWinner, and Raspberry Pi.

Previous: New FCC Rules Could Ban WiFi Router Firmware Modification


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ikanreed on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:32PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:32PM (#231796) Journal

    But it's still shitty for those of us who don't want to abuse the spectrum.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM (#231830) Journal

      That's the problem with the new trend toward software defined radios.

      The FCC is mandated to regulate spectrum usage, both in wifi devices and cell phones.

      But because hardware developers are so figgin lazy and cheap they increasingly will not separate radio management from packet handling. So the programmer can control frequencies, transmitter power, transmitter mode, etc, of a licensed device.

      Most people just want to fix the bugs in the manufacturer's software, or add new software protocols or security. But there are those that realize they can get a stronger signal by just boosting the power a little bit. Surely the FCC will never find out.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:34PM (#231841)

        I own the hardware. Any 'restrictions' will prove useless and will be removed, even if I don't necessarily take advantage of the added functionality.

        • (Score: 1) by Francis on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:36PM

          by Francis (5544) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:36PM (#231843)

          Which is fine unless somebody complains and you wind up with a massive fine. Even with devices that are operating within the FCC's regulations are a problem due to congestion. There's probably a dozen or more WAP within range here and I shudder to think how bad it is for people who live in apartments or condos.

          I don't object to them restricting modifications, but they should draft the rule so that firmware that doesn't change the wireless component is OK.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:48PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:48PM (#231960)

            I do object to them restricting modifications. It's my property. If I don't control it, it cannot be trusted.

            • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Francis on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:22PM

              by Francis (5544) on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:22PM (#232030)

              But, you don't own the spectrum and for that you require a certified piece of equipment.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @11:25AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @11:25AM (#232196)

                for that you require a certified piece of equipment

                screw the feds' certification! Also, fed hunting drones require custom firmware!

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @04:41PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @04:41PM (#232328)

                I own the property, so it's mine. They can't force restrictions on my private property merely because it could potentially be abused. Fuck you.

                No one owns the spectrum. Where in the US constitution does it say the government has the power to take control of the spectrum? Nowhere. Therefore, the federal government simply has no such power.

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday September 04 2015, @06:24PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday September 04 2015, @06:24PM (#232367) Journal

          You own the hardware, but you don't own the frequency space it emits into.

          It's like owning the gun, but not owning the target you fire it at. You cannot shoot at anything you like just because you own the gun. Similarly, you cannot emit any radio waves you like just because you own the emitter.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @07:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @07:34PM (#232394)

            See this [soylentnews.org] post. Where in the constitution does it specifically give the federal government the power to regulate the airwaves? That would require a constitutional amendment. No, despite some nonsensical interpretations of the constitution, the commerce clause does not (and was not meant to) apply to everything in existence. You would need to prove that these radio waves are necessarily always interstate and related to commerce. Otherwise, the federal can only regulate what is actual interstate commerce. State governments might be able to do something, depending on their laws and constitutions.

            The same nonsensical reasoning was used to justify the federal drug war. Drugs sometimes cross state borders. Therefore, they always will. Therefore, the federal government can regulate them no matter whether they do or not. This is simply not how the commerce clause is supposed to work.

            But really, the fundamental point here is that banning something merely because it could be abused is almost always inherently unethical and unjust.

      • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:43PM

        by opinionated_science (4031) on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:43PM (#231893)

        I wish I could mod-up more. This is spot on.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:30PM (#231839)

      It's shitty for those who care the slightest about software freedom or freedom in general. Instead of punishing abuses when they happen, they've chosen to ban something entirely merely because abuses could happen. Basically, what you said.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:33PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:33PM (#231980) Homepage

        CTRL+F NSA

        It would ensure that somebody always had the master key to your router, and is another NSA end-run around that annoying privacy and warrant thing.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:47PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:47PM (#231848)

      That's the thing. This is like banning cars that can exceed the speed limit rather than ticketing people who speed. it's lazy government over-reach.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday September 05 2015, @03:12AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 05 2015, @03:12AM (#232496) Journal

        Actually its mostly a misunderstanding, according to a new story at ArsTechnica [arstechnica.com].

        The FCC is now claiming the never intended to prevent third party or open source software, but only intended to block the access to the radio frequencies and power.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 1) by redneckmother on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:43PM

    by redneckmother (3597) on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:43PM (#231803)

    So, who "crafted" this cruft? Was(were) the author(s) ignorant, or (shudder) devious?

    --
    Mas cerveza por favor.
  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:57PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @03:57PM (#231813) Homepage Journal

    Like, I really give a damn about something like this? I got the hardware. It's pretty much a proven fact that the guy who has his hands on the hardware not only "owns" it, but he "pwns" it as well. Oh - the manufacturer put in a "security feature" to prevent me diddling with it? Whoop-ti-do. That "feature" will be cracked within days.

    Alright, I guess this took more than mere "days", but who remembers it?

    https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/decss-haiku.txt [cmu.edu]

    --
    "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Zz9zZ on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM

      by Zz9zZ (1348) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM (#231831)

      I'm not too worried about this and figure it won't go Orwellian, however I would like to address your point. You should give a damn, it adds another item to a list of possible crimes you could be charged with. Just because it would be near impossible to enforce doesn't mean we should let it slide.

      --
      ~Tilting at windmills~
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jdavidb on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:26PM

        by jdavidb (5690) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:26PM (#231835) Homepage Journal

        Just because it would be near impossible to enforce doesn't mean we should let it slide.

        Right; I am all for laws becoming unenforceable, but I'm also strongly in favor of people learning to quit supporting the power to make unjust laws in the first place.

        --
        ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
    • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:25PM

      by jdavidb (5690) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:25PM (#231834) Homepage Journal

      Alright, I guess this took more than mere "days", but who remembers it? https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/decss-haiku.txt [cmu.edu] [cmu.edu]

      I still remember it, and I can still sing the song! And in fact I was singing part of it to myself a couple of days ago.

      --
      ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Phoenix666 on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:37PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:37PM (#231891) Journal

        I have the t-shirt

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:30PM (#231838)

      You might be eating your words one day. Most devices these days are single SoCs, there's not much you can diddle with. If they introduce a SecureBoot like mechanism with signed firmware, tied to a hard-wired CPU key, you'll be boned.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:50PM (#231926)

      > That "feature" will be cracked within days.

      Yeah? Is that why it took nearly half a decade for the PS3 to be permanently cracked and after nearly two years neither the xbone nor the ps4 have been cracked?

      And those are devices with tons of demand for cracking, orders of magnitude more demand than any router will ever have.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by joshuajon on Friday September 04 2015, @04:25PM

      by joshuajon (807) on Friday September 04 2015, @04:25PM (#232315)

      I published a copy of DeCSS protected by a ROT13 cypher. Circumventing my copy protection would have been a violation of the DMCA. Pot meet kettle.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:08PM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@soylentnews.org> on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:08PM (#231822) Homepage Journal

    More info that should take some of the worry away here:
    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/wireless/articles/20150831/07164532118/no-fcc-is-not-intentionally-trying-to-kill-third-party-wi-fi-router-firmware.shtml [techdirt.com]

    Yes, some of it is just analysis but there is new information as well.

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Jiro on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:11PM

      by Jiro (3176) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:11PM (#231824)

      "Not intentionally killing firmware" is not the same thing as "not doing something that will have the effect of killing firmware". Manufacturers aren't going to respond to this by allowing firmware changes and just preventing the radio part from being modified, because it's more efficient for the manufacturer to control the radio part using the general purpose device that is used for everything else, and lock down the general purpose device.

    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:18PM (#231832)

      Yep. The problem is that the manufacturers don't differentiate the firmware that controls the radio from the rest of the router. This is why you can do things with open firmware like enable foreign channels or increase power output for the radio beyond what the FCC allows. It's easier for them to just do it all in one package. Since they have no reason to care about allowing third party firmware to run on their devices I can't see them changing they way they do this anytime soon.

      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:07PM

        by edIII (791) on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:07PM (#232025)

        They're may be good damn reason why the manufacturers would either complain, or differentiate the firmware into two separate sections.

        Anything commercial in origin *requires* the ability to modify it, just to use it.

        In other words, major commercial manufacturers of radios will completely fuck themselves proper with their paying clients, should shell access be removed. Not just that, but should root access to the shell be removed. Unless you have a separate firmware for the radio (like I remember with my first smartphone) how can we possibly use the device for our business purposes?

        Ohhhh, you mean that we are now completely limited to whatever the manufacturer put into an API or web based GUI we can somehow keep the status quo?

        Nope. Businesses either will have access to that firmware to modify it, or they will engage in contracts to obtain hardware they can properly develop and manage. I can't possibly see a manufacturer enjoying a $20 million procurement contract for radios in which the corporation paying the $20 million suffers such ridiculous restrictions.

        DD-WRT may be a quite popular modification in the consumer market for firmware, but in the commercial markets access to firmware and the ability to modify it is crucial. I have to laugh as I know of a dozen engineers designing custom firmware for radios for WISPs. Guess they're all out of jobs?

        Speaking of that, I'm currently working on some management features for a few radios. Guess I'm shit-out-of-luck too.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2) by Rich on Friday September 04 2015, @11:24AM

      by Rich (945) on Friday September 04 2015, @11:24AM (#232195) Journal

      First, the requirements go much farther than "er, like DD-WRT, and stuff". They present a link to the DD-WRT site, explicitly demand that this be excluded, and then further suggest that the securing people work within the context of RFC2828 to implement X.800. Then they lower themselves to laymans terms and explain that so called "flashing" must be inhibited. That definitely is not "slopply engineer wording" as the techdirt blog says.

      The FCC reply seems already illogical within two sentences: 1.) Our rules .. permit radios ... where the ... secure software ... cannot be modified. 2.) versions of ... software can be used as long as they do not add the functionality to modify ... RF .. .

      The only way this logic resolves is entirely contrary to how the second sentence sounds. The weather radar issue is a complete strawman excuse they prepared for the expected shitstorm. These modifications are already illegal and someone who wants to stay illegal will get their outlaw gear from ebay. On the other hand, someone who goes to mentioned detail in describing how to lock out free software, knows what he is doing.

      This also goes together with a nice european directive ("2014/53/EU") that has nothing to do with the FAA and their happy weather forecast and was put in place so silently that it slipped neatly under the radar of anyone concerned with the topic.

  • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:14PM

    by jdavidb (5690) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:14PM (#231827) Homepage Journal

    Just another reason why we ought to be permitted to end our marriage to this abusive institution.

    If you think giving comments to the state in a link is effective, I know a whole hoard of abused women you'd fit in well with. You're fooling yourself same as then. Your rulers will take your input, but in the end they will have the final say.

    --
    ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:41PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:41PM (#231924)

      If you split into a separate nation you would not have overlords that have final say over your opinions?

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:58PM

        by jdavidb (5690) on Thursday September 03 2015, @07:58PM (#231928) Homepage Journal
        They'd be easier to handle. What I'd like is competition: pick who you want to follow, regardless of where you live.
        --
        ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
        • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday September 28 2015, @12:58AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 28 2015, @12:58AM (#242423) Journal

          That is an interesting idea, you might know this already but just in case you don't it's often called panarchism [wikipedia.org] (the p is not a typo).

          I don't know a lot about it/haven't delved into it (and I'm not too keen on pigeonholing ideas or following ideologies so there's that too). Only found out about it after thinking/speculating about having a (real) democracy where (within a nation in my thought experiment) the votes cast fund multiple overlapping governments partly doing their own thing and partly cooperating and where anything “universal” would have to be 100% consensual. Probably a nightmare to figure out how to actually implement and might not work at all, plenty of things that could go (horribly) wrong.

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
          • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Monday September 28 2015, @01:19AM

            by jdavidb (5690) on Monday September 28 2015, @01:19AM (#242430) Homepage Journal
            Yep, I'm basically a panarchist, or could be described as such. One writer who I think uses that term in a way I agree with is Michael Rozeff.
            --
            ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:13PM (#231936)

      > If you think giving comments to the state in a link is effective, I know a whole hoard of abused women you'd fit in well with.

      Every single abused woman in the country is benefiting from the FCC's embrace of net neutrality after a massive petition response.
      Are those the women you are talking about?

      • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:33PM

        by jdavidb (5690) on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:33PM (#231948) Homepage Journal

        Every single abused woman in the country is benefiting from the FCC's embrace of net neutrality after a massive petition response. Are those the women you are talking about?

        ,I actually work with abused women, and I have yet to hear any of them express an opinion about net neutrality.

        --
        ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:33PM

    by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:33PM (#231840) Journal

    Wild speculation here, IANAL.

    The firmware contains gpl stuff?
    then one cannot distribute it if you cannot assure freedom is preserved, right?

    And what about an OS? if the firmware does not allow to meddle with the OS and the OS contains GPL stuff, you cannot redistribute things on such a closed system.

    If what I said makes sense, then the contest about who's more free between the GPL and the various BSD, MIT licenses has found a winner.

    --
    Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:40PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:40PM (#231844)

      Sure you can. You can openly distribute the firmware source but still require the router to only accept trusted, cryptographically signed firmware bins. The firmware is open source, it does not mean that the hardware has to accept ANY firmware. This is already done all over the place with phones, network gear, etc.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by jummama on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:48PM

      by jummama (3969) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:48PM (#231849)

      GPL3 was introduced with specific verbiage to mandate that the user is allowed to make changes, and actually use them on the device that it is inteded for because of a loophole that Tivo was taking advantage of. I don't remember if it was a simple checksum or a cryptographic signature, but they had a Linux kernel and filesystem in their EEPROM, with a boot loader checking for this signature/checksum. If this signature/checksum didn't match the official retail EEPROM, then it would refuse to boot. They had stuck to the letter of GPL2 by releasing the source, but violated the spirit of it by disallowing anyone from actually making changes to it on the device. Unfortunately, the Linux kernel licensing was/is specifically under GPL2, not "GPL2 or later", and there are too many contributors to contact, so it was never upgraded to GPL3. With the kernel being the most likely used GPL component in these types of devices, a locked device that disallows firmware changes can still be compliant, unfortunately.

      • (Score: 2) by Rich on Friday September 04 2015, @10:15AM

        by Rich (945) on Friday September 04 2015, @10:15AM (#232188) Journal

        I've been arguing for a while that a key derived from a GPL work is a derived work, and that a key included in a GPL work is "preferred source", because it's obviously needed to build the final image. This would obviously break repo-style package signing, too, but it's closer to the wording of the GPL than the assumption that the built image can magically be transmogrified during distribution without honouring the licence.

        I wonder why no one picked that up yet and followed through with a precedent setting case.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @02:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @02:34PM (#232255)

        Linus' unwillingness to adopt GPL3 was mosy likely the primary reason.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by miljo on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:46PM

    by miljo (5757) on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:46PM (#231847) Journal

    Unless my Google-fu is weak, Here's where I was able to find mention of this campaign by the organizations named in the unquoted paste from Hackaday.

    ThinkPenguin [thinkpenguin.com]: https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/save-wifi-fcc-attempting-criminalize-freedom-new-regulations [thinkpenguin.com]
    EFF [eff.org]: Nothing found
    FSF [fsf.org]: Nothing found
    Software Freedom Law Center [softwarefreedom.org]: Nothing found
    Software Freedom Conservancy [sfconservancy.org]: Nothing found
    OpenWRT [openwrt.org]: https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=59365 [openwrt.org]
    LibreCMC [librecmc.org]: https://librecmc.org/librecmc/wiki?name=Save_WiFi [librecmc.org]
    Qualcomm [qualcomm.com]: Nothing found

    I'm not suggesting that this isn't a potential issue and shouldn't be brought to folk's attention. Rather I'm suggesting that the alarm hasn't been as loudly sound as advertised.

    Even the prpl ("Purple") foundation, where the the discussion about this is being hosted, has nothing in their news section, http://prplfoundation.org/news/ [prplfoundation.org]

    What's more, the list for said discussion? It's only 2 months old.http://lists.prplfoundation.org/pipermail/fcc/

    Finally, the server that's being hammered so hard that a proper link couldn't be provided? It seems to be working just fine. https://libreplanet.org/wiki/Save_WiFi/Individual_Comments [libreplanet.org]

    I know I'm picking knits, feel free to mod as you see fit.

    --
    One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @09:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @09:55AM (#232186)

      indeed, I went to fsf.org and searched the frontpage for fcc. nada. This doesn't sound like a real issue. Of course if a year from now I'm not legally allowed to operate a raspberri pi as an AP with a usb wifi dongle, then I might shed a tear. But I don't anticipate that situation coming to pass.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by guizzy on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:01PM

    by guizzy (5021) on Thursday September 03 2015, @06:01PM (#231878)

    Is there even a widespread issue with people polluting the spectrum with modified routers, or is this just another politically convenient fix for a non-existant problem?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:27PM (#231976)

      I think its called "we're the government, and we're getting in, and we're not allowing 3rd party vendors to lock us out of all those people that refused windows 10 and run a terror OS called linux"

      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday September 28 2015, @01:03AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 28 2015, @01:03AM (#242426) Journal

        Exactly.

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @10:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @10:27PM (#232001)

      Well, if comcast, Verizon, et al. start doing LTS-over-Wifi, and gobbling up 2.4Ghz and 5 GHz bandwidth, they have an interest in limiting how consumer-grade equipment being locked down for a variety of reasons.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Gravis on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:34PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Thursday September 03 2015, @08:34PM (#231949)

    one of the thing that's pretty obvious here is the issue is that the CPU in a router is directly integrated with the radio. this seems like a situation where some funds could be raised to actually get a RISC V chip made for the CPU of the router. add a simple radio chip that is independently configured or has fixed parameters and some other bits and you could flash the CPU while the radio functionality remained immutable. it could be a nice stepping stone toward getting high-end RISC V chips made that could be used in an open hardware laptop.

    • (Score: 2) by soylentsandor on Saturday September 05 2015, @08:23AM

      by soylentsandor (309) on Saturday September 05 2015, @08:23AM (#232550)

      I like the basic idea, except I wonder how the licensing would work. Could you get a license for the design and then have anyone build it? Who's to say the thing is identical, especially if it has software radio? Or would every builder need have their device FCC-approved separately?

      Another thought: even if the transmitter were not clamped down, as long as the signals it produces are within regulations, would the FCC really feel any need to pay you a visit? They wouldn't know and neither should they care, unless maybe you were to be publicly beating your chest about it.

      So that must mean you could have an open-hardware router running DD-WRT or whatever and not run into trouble, even if this rule were passed.

      • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Saturday September 05 2015, @09:44AM

        by Gravis (4596) on Saturday September 05 2015, @09:44AM (#232560)

        So that must mean you could have an open-hardware router running DD-WRT or whatever and not run into trouble, even if this rule were passed.

        the problem is that they are going to make it so that you cannot run your own firmware like DD-WRT. it's not a hard thing to do, you just sign the binary and only the person with the key can load new firmware.

        • (Score: 2) by soylentsandor on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:10AM

          by soylentsandor (309) on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:10AM (#232570)

          Open hardware, dude.

          • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:21AM

            by Gravis (4596) on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:21AM (#232573)

            Open hardware, dude.

            yes, you would be to legally prohibited from selling hardware that didn't the listed safeguards. now if you think everyone should just build their own... well, you're retarded.

            • (Score: 1, Troll) by soylentsandor on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:37AM

              by soylentsandor (309) on Saturday September 05 2015, @10:37AM (#232577)

              you're retarded

              If that's the argument, I have no more to say. Have a nice day.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VortexCortex on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:55PM

    by VortexCortex (4067) on Thursday September 03 2015, @11:55PM (#232037)

    I don't have a problem with this in the least bit whatsoever, as long as they also allow me to build and operate my own wifi router within the frequency specs allowed. So long as I'm prohibited from doing so, I oppose such moronic laws. Hint: Anyone wanting to futz with the airwaves can do so with $5 worth of parts soldered to a battery and coat hanger. Any malware modifying firmware is already in breech of the CFAA.

    This is a law that doesn't need to exist and won't stop the people who would "pirate" the airwaves that belong to us all are not granted us license to use.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by stormwyrm on Friday September 04 2015, @06:59AM

    by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 04 2015, @06:59AM (#232151) Journal
    You don't need to hack a software-defined radio in a phone or Wi-Fi router to pollute the airwaves. It just takes a few electronic components, some solder, and know-how, the latter being easier to obtain than today than ever, not that it was ever hard. All of that was possible since the first radios were invented. If there's a device out there that's causing undue radio interference because it's been hacked by someone too clever for their own good, then they need to be prosecuted as though they built and operated an unlicensed radio transmitter, which arguably they actually have. Laws that allow that have existed since the government decided it would be in everyone's interest to have the radio spectrum licensed. I don't know why it's necessary to make yet another law stating that it is illegal to hack devices with software-defined radios, and that manufacturers of such devices should work against their customers to prevent it. What's stopping me from hardware hacking a fully analogue hand-held transistor radio? I could, you know, make that thing transmit in unlicensed ways!
    --
    Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @03:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @03:13PM (#232278)

      > It just takes a few electronic components, some solder, and know-how, the latter being easier to obtain than today than ever, not that it was ever hard.

      Really? It should be obvious to you that flashing firmware is 100x more convenient than re-soldering a circuit board. That is, after all, the reason they make it flashable in the first place. There are lots of valid reasons to argue against this requirement, but equivalence to a manual process with equipment that most people don't have is not one of them.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @08:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04 2015, @08:24AM (#232171)

    I should create an account for this, but it's probably too late for anyone to read this anyway; still, I'm gonna post it because it's the truth.

    The reason this is being done is because of interference to the C-band radars, particularly FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) operating between 5600-5650 MHz. Because of the Congressional mandates for MOAR SPECTRUM, this wi-fi band was originally opened up to unlicensed devices, then closed again due to interference from assholes who thought they owned the spectrum. Since (almost?) all Wi-Fi radios made now are software-defined, they can be made, though programming, to transmit at any frequency within the passband of the output filter, thus, they want things locked down like CBs and cell phone baseband chips. The flip side is that that creates problems with those who aren't assholes including hams (who have an allocation staring around 5790 MHz, if I remember right) and those who just don't want to get pwned.

    In other words, some assholes have made certain that we can't have nice things. Lather, rinse, repeat...

    More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-NII [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/routers/3200-series-rugged-integrated-services-routers-isr/data_sheet_c78-647116.html [cisco.com]
    http://www.telecommediatechlaw.com/broadband/fcc-fines-broadband-operator-for-causing-interference-to-tdwr-operations-readies-rulemaking-proceedi/ [telecommediatechlaw.com]

    And for you Canadians: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10971.html#s6.4 [ic.gc.ca]

    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday September 04 2015, @05:33PM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday September 04 2015, @05:33PM (#232348)

      In other words, some assholes have made certain that we can't have nice things.

      Stop right there. You seem to be giving credence to the notion that we should ban things entirely merely because they could be abused. That is a notion that would result in just about everything being banned, if we were even slightly consistent. You are in opposition to freedom. I would rather risk 'abuses' than take everyone's freedoms away.

      The people who are responsible for rules like these are the ones making them. The blame falls squarely on them. This is also true of the Unpatriotic Act and other post-9/11 violations of our liberties; it was not the fault of the terrorists, but of our government.