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FCC Reserves the Right To Search Your Home, Any Time

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the who-are-you-to-disagree dept.

Privacy 589

mikesd81 writes "Wired.com reports that you may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it. FCC spokesman David Fiske says 'Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference.' The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts. 'It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure,' says Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien. 'When it is a private home and when you are talking about an over-powered Wi-Fi antenna — the idea they could just go in is honestly quite bizarre.'"

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Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (2, Insightful)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051785)

The first place they'll try this will be at NewYorkCountryLawyer's house.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051797)

Your haircut is the worst I've ever seen.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051851)

If it was, I'd donate to a fund to pay his legal bills.

Taking on the FCC, he'd probably need it.

Disclaimer: I'm not from the US, I'm English, so I wouldn't directly benefit from this course of action. I just agree with the work the guy does, and hope he continues.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (3, Funny)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051935)

Uh, he's the one that gets paid legal bills.

He's a lawyer.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (3, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051991)

"He who represents himself has a fool for a client."
- Abraham Lincoln

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (0, Offtopic)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052037)

Don't waste mod-points on this, I don't need the karma, and it's been quoted hundreds of times on this site alone. I think I first saw it on a sig.

Mod someone else appropriately instead.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052257)

I've never heard that quote before, but I've always wondered why lawyers don't represent themselves.

Is it like insurance where the filthy rich still have insurance to protect their assets from a court case, because if you don't have insurance all of your finances are at risk.

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051933)

that retard only has any real status here among the fanbois who cry when they get caught being dirty little thieves. he's a nobody in the real world.

LOL Gitmo prisoners protected by Constitution... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052071)

but you're not! ROFLMAO!!! Hope!!! Change!!! OBONGO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052271)

Once again, I am writing in response to Akido37's asseverations, and once again, I merely wish to point out that there is no justification on any level whatsoever for Akido37's peevish metanarratives. I begin with critical semantic clarifications. First, Akido37 does not merely show us a gross miscarriage of common judgment. He does so consciously, deliberately, willfully, and methodically. As sure as you're born, our path is set. By this, I mean that in order to stop the Huns at the gate, we must go placidly amid the noise and haste. I consider that requirement a small price to pay because Akido37 says that newspapers should report only on items he agrees with. This is noxious falsehood. The truth is that the poisonous wine of revanchism had been distilled long before he entered the scene. Akido37 is merely the agent decanting the poisonous fluid from its bottle into the jug that is world humanity.
If we shelter initially unpopular truths from suppression, enabling them to ultimately win out through competition in the marketplace of ideas, then the sea of Chekism, on which Akido37 so heavily relies, will begin to dry up. I believe it was Hegel who said, "Duplicitous, inarticulate devious-types are intrigued and puzzled by his amalgam of unholy interdenominationalism and contemptuous nepotismâ"a tangled web of KKK, Freudian, encounter-therapy, populist, Ayn Rand-like, and Marxist notions". He has commented that the world can be happy only when his band is given full rein. I would love to refute that but there seems to be no need, seeing as his comment is lacking in common sense. What kind of loser wants to support those for whom hatred has become a way of life? A loser like Akido37.
According to Akido37's distortions, distractions, and outright deceptions, those who disagree with Akido37 should be cast into the outer darkness, should be shunned, should starve. Fortunately, most of the people who are seriously interested in preserving our civilization know that the reality is that Akido37 has two imperatives. The first is to perpetuate what we all know is a corrupt system. The second imperative is to generate alienation and withdrawal. To end on a more positive note: Akido37's fulminations serve only to safeguard his own power and privilege.

And I reserve the right... (5, Funny)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051801)

...to place bear traps around my router.

Re:And I reserve the right... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051853)

Osmium? Is that you?

Re:And I reserve the right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051865)

Dude, a moat filled with shark-mounted lasers is the way to go nowadays. Get with the times, man.

Re:And I reserve the right... (5, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051883)

Not in the UK. [securedhome.co.uk]

"The person in charge of a property has a legal duty to protect all its users from foreseeable harm, even if they are on the property illegally. If an intruder is hurt by a security measure - such as glass or barbed wire - that the householder knew to be dangerous then they could be sued for damages under the Occupier's Liability Act 1984."

Re:And I reserve the right... (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052149)

Good thing the FCC isn't in the UK? Remember, attempting to bypass or remove the DRM from his house would immediately be in violation of the DMCA and any illegal activity thereafter would be under the trespassers liability. He could probably also sue them for bypassing his DRM featured house.

Re:And I reserve the right... (1)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052215)

...bypassing his DRM featured house...

Wouldn't that be more like ARM-featured house, as in Analog Rights Management?

Re:And I reserve the right... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052289)

...but bypassing DRM is not illegal in the UK (We don't have the DMCA)

You can't injure burglars (except in self defence), but we can play DVD's on Linux ....

Re:And I reserve the right... (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052181)

That seems as though it would make livestock fences a legal nightmare.

Re:And I reserve the right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052317)

Not if you post a sign saying that it's dangerous. IANAL and all that...

And that's an important law (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052195)

I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if there were people out of their mind enough that they think "Hell, technically my plot extends half a meter outside my bush fence! And those people dare to sometimes step on it, have their dogs walk on it and god knows what!" and then hiding barbed wire, glass, etc. on the grass there.

That kind of activity is sick and twisted and should be illegal and no excuse "But that was on my property!" should be enough to get you out of having harmed someone like that.

I actually live in an apartment building in which lives an old woman who tried to nail sharp nails to the two feet high wooden fence around our plot. Why? School children sometimes take a shortcut by climbing past it and walking through out parking lot. Sure, they shouldn't do it but nailing sharp nails so that the unsuspecting children would hurt themselves is just evil.

If there really is an intruder who might have killed the homeowner (an armed burglar or such) and he gets hurt, it is unlikely that the homeowner could (in Europe, that is) be sued for very harsh punishments.

Re:And I reserve the right... (5, Funny)

Altreus (1492723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051939)

Granted, as long as you post a warning sign in advance.

Or display a EULA after they've been trapped.

Both are valid.

They better bring along the police... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051815)

...because if someone not in a uniform bursts into my home unannounced they're going to be leaving with a few more bullet holes in their body than they walked in with.

Re:They better bring along the police... (4, Insightful)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052011)

it doesn't matter if they are in a uniform or show up with badges you can get all that crap from some online surplus store if they don't have a warrant they need to get the F off my land

Re:They better bring along the police... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052213)

... and you would recognise a valid vs. counterfeit warrant how, exactly?

This is the right attitude to have though. NEVER talk to cops, NEVER permit them into your home without a warrant. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

I'd like to see em try it (5, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051817)

And the resulting court case. I'm pretty sure the 4th amendment would triumph over the FCC's bullshit rule they presumably wrote themselves.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (5, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051839)

In a time where every single home emits some sort of RF, the FCC's claim is outdated. Holding the 1934 law as constitutional would give the FCC the authority to inspect pretty much any house in the country, completely defeating the point of the 4th amendment. There is no way in hell they would win in court.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052137)

Don't forget, this is Obama's FCC now. How convenient for them to have some legal cover, however dubious, to enter someone's home without a warrant.

Heck, with Bush, you at least had to be taking calls from terrorists.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052345)

heh. Only the definition of terrorist has changed. Funny how that works.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052251)

The original intent of the FCC legislation was to protect the reception of TV/radio broadcasts and to prevent the safe functioning of electrical equipment. This was achieved by approving equipment that met limits in the amount of RF energy they emitted. This was extended to home computers, which seem to be built like tanks with layers and layers of metal shielding.

Tricky thing is, most simple equipment like hairdryers and vacuum cleaners probably give off more RF than a mobile phone. Even a multisync CRT monitor could jam long-wave radio broadcasts in a radius of 10 metres.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052331)

This is nothing new. The international human rights conventions and the constitutions of many countries allow a goverment to limit the effect of a clause in a controlled manner for the "public good", say solving crimes. The requirements for these kinds of limitations are often manifold, for example: the exceptions are controlled by a law, they are precise and are having predictable conseqences, they are having "acceptable reasons" (pulic safety, protection of the rights of others, ..), they do not distort the essential core of the clause (the amendment), they are relative in measures to the desired goal and no wider in scope than necessary and no lesser law or regulation is sufficient to the achievement of the goal, they are met with the necessary protections of rights (fair trial, ...) and they are not conflicting with the acceptable bases of restriction agreed with the international conventions.
Legal slippery slope is everywhere, as one can see. Only thing to do is to write to your representative about your concerns.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051889)

Just like it does at the US border, huh?

Re:I'd like to see em try it (4, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051941)

That's a much more complex argument where things such as "national security" and the "drug war" would have to be taken into account (not that I agree with it, and i see where you're going). A private home, on the other hand, is a man's castle, and warrentless searches of a person's home are pretty clearly forbidden by the 4th amendment.

I have zero faith in politicians and government agencies to pass and enforce legislation that is constitutional, but the court system has for the most part kept them in check. Agree or not with which way they rule, the supreme court tends to make decent decisions in that regard.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052217)

You haven't seemed to notice how Roberts and Alito are hanging.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052369)

And some decisions I agree with, like overturning the gun ban in DC. Personally, i'm glad there is a balance even though I might not agree with everything (I'm a libertarian). I can thing of nothing nothing worse than a partisan supreme court.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052073)

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this... but I would think if they have "probable cause" they can do it. They cannot however just search your house to randomly check a perfectly functioning piece of equipment. However if they have valid reasons for suspecting that your router or other device is causing interference they may very well be legally able to enter your house. Just as the police may enter they witness a crime in action.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052125)

I'm pretty sure the FCC is not a law enforcement agency, but a regulatory agency.

Re:I'd like to see em try it (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052245)

Nope. Because it will not be used against anyone unless the Feds need a reason to enter and search that home and dont want to get a warrant.

Example? sure.. Psyborgue is a known anti goverment leader. They've been watching him for years now and just know that he is going to do something bad very soon. They cant get a warrant from the damned Liberal judges that hate america so they use the FCC ruling to bust in legally and search the home. BTW, if an officer spots something other than they are looking for, They can use that against you because of the changes they had put into the patriot act.

They can now go on legal fishing expeditions on anyone they really need to. It's a tool in the arsenal against T E R R O R I S M and that is what it was specifically created for. I dont care what bullshit they feed the public. It has a specific purpose.

This is it's use. the FCC has not done anything to fight interference for years. Hell most Pirate FM stations don't get taken down until they become big and obvious. They dont raid homes over Wifi violations. They do however make a good tool for other departments.

As any ham can attest to... (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051825)

They've had this power for decades. This is nothing new. Fire up a transmitter and start broadcasting overtop an FM radio station, and just see how fast the FCC sends out their goons.

For kicks (4, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051893)

I'll just leave this here.
http://www.fcc.gov/Reports/tcom1996.txt [fcc.gov]

Inspection of licensees - but we're not licesees (2, Interesting)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052013)

At a glance, the relevant laws regarding inspection seem to apply only to licensees and licensed (and presumably non-illegal) equipment. Thing is, routers etc. are unlicensed - ergo there is no legal basis for an inspection thereof (unless the equipment is operating in an illegal manner). Even if a law is being violated, a warrant is required.

Oh, BTW: anyone here notice that ammo sales are WAY up? probably not a good time to do an unannounced inspection of a lawfully unlicensed radio transmitter.

Re:Inspection of licensees - but we're not licesee (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052253)

Nope. Every device that emits a radio signal is licensed. Your wireless router has an FCC ID, does it not? Then it is a licensed piece of equipment.

Re:As any ham can attest to... (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051925)

What the FCC is saying is completely different than someone operating an illegal radio station (such as the one mentioned in the article). The FCC is claiming that if you have a keyless entry device for your car, they can enter your house without a warrant.

Sorry, no way Jose. If you're trying to "stick it to the man" by having an illegal radio station, are deliberately jamming a radio signal, or anything else of similar nature, then yes, the FCC does have the authority to get on your case.

But to claim that just having an electronic device to remotely open my car that that somehow gives them the authority to search my place, not a chance.

Re:As any ham can attest to... (4, Funny)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051961)

Guess it's time to change the frequency on my 5 watt FM transmitter to something other than the local Christian station.

But I just KNOW they like listening to 24/7 Slayer. I just KNOW it.

Re:As any ham can attest to... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052265)

Or fire up any RF emitter in the Radio Quiet Zone. A guy in a truck will be out at your house right quick. And if you go all Castle doctrine on him, some MPs will be along a few minutes later.

Key's under the rug... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051831)

Whew good thing, I don't have either of those technologies in my cave or in my summer home (mother's basement).

Re:Key's under the rug... (1)

rockbottoms (1393173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052097)

Whew good thing, I don't have either of those technologies in my cave or in my summer home (mother's basement).

You wouldn't know this but there's a baby monitor hidden behind the dumbbells

Why even say this? (3, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051843)

Are they actually planning on home invasions? Unless they have inspectors lining up to look at my wireless setup then saying this which will clearly get a lot of people "us" all worked up, why say it at all?

Re:Why even say this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052051)

Are they actually planning on home invasions?

Only after other common things are outlawed. Uniformed police officers will be brought along as observers. If anyone observes some newly illegal thing (gun, book, ham radio, non-TPM computer), then arrests can be made sans warrant.

Re:Why even say this? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052135)

A bad law is a bad law, whether it's used or not.

Re:Why even say this? (1)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052199)

No, they're planning on knocking on your door and asking to see your transmitter if they have triangulated a signal that violates FCC regs to your house. If you say no, they are going to fine you. No home invasions. They simply assert the right to inspect any equipment covered by their mandate to inspect transmission equipment. If you decline to let them perform the inspection, they will charge you with violating the regulations.

Only after they speak with my lawyers... (5, Funny)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051869)

Only after they speak with my lawyers Smith & Wesson.

Re:Only after they speak with my lawyers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052283)

Hey! Those guys can speak for me too but on the whole I prefer to let Mr. Winchester open the proceedings. Mr. Winchester is a fine orator with a booming voice who blows holes in opposing arguments so thoroughly that if someone hears Mr. Winchester is about to begin speaking they may be so intimidated they'll just give up before he can get started.

I'm thankful I live in Canada (2, Interesting)

Raver32 (978821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051885)

The way Britain and the US are going, the only true bastion of freedom and human rights will be Canada soon . . . Time to close the borders? ;)

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051909)

This is the same Canada where freedom of speech is restricted based on vague "hate speech" grounds, right?

Fortunately the US hasn't quite picked up on that idea yet, though I don't doubt they'd like to try it. "Criticizing Obama? Sounds like hate speech to me. Lock 'em up!"

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051981)

Maybe, but canada's freedom of speech laws suck. Take defamation, for example. In the US, thanks to the 5th amendment, the onus is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant made a false statement (and if the plaintiff is a public figure they have to prove the false statement was made with knowledge of falsity, or "actual malice"). In Canada, a defendant has to prove a statement true, which is often much more difficult when it's one person's word against another's, for example. Opinion is also something that is given a lot more leeway in the United States.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052003)

Also, defamation can be criminal in Canada (and the UK), while in the states it's always a civil matter.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (3, Interesting)

Raver32 (978821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052087)

You say this like its a bad thing . . . My phones aren't tapped regardless of the law My government doesn't torture prisoners My laptop or PDA can't be seized upon entering Canada without just cause The police state that the US became under Bush is an embarrassment to all your founding fathers stood for. Thankfully you seem to have a new President that has intelligence and morals, and can go a long way towards fixing your broken system.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (2, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052235)

In Canada, a defendant has to prove a statement true,

You say this like its a bad thing . . . My phones aren't tapped regardless of the law

What does that have to do with the fact that, in Canada, at least, you are guilty until proven innocent in 'hate speech' cases? Sure, some things may be better up in the Great White North, but defending against one accusation by bringing up completely unrelated points isn't very effective debating.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052249)

Restrictions on the freedom of speech *are* a bad thing... always and without exception. "Defamation" has a chilling effect on free speech as it's rarely used for it's intended purpose, and thankfully, in many US states, there are anti-SLAPP statues on the book to protect people from malicious prosecution for exercising their first amendment rights. Canada has very few protections in this area.

real world example: let's take "AARC" or "Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre" in Canada (see the CBC report). The kids abused in that program often (but not always) cannot objectively prove their statements about abuse true if it was not witnessed or the witness is afraid to testify (which is not to say it did not happen.). Canada's defamation laws make it difficult for them to speak out against AARC. They live in fear that if they speak out they can be financially ruined and thrown in jail... just because they have no proof to back up what they experienced. I manage a forum where victims of AARC are threatened on a frequent daily basis for speaking out.

Yes, bush was a disaster, but if you expect Obama to be any better, you're fooling yourself.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052293)

Agreed, however we don't torture prisoners per say, it's more foreign enemies of the state. We also still have decent firearms unlike you Canadians. As for Obama, he's just a statist like the rest of the politicians he just has a different method and sounds a lot better while doing it.

Re:I'm thankful I live in Canada (1)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052247)

Not sure where you are in Canada, but you know that an Ontario fire marshal can enter any building where he believes there to be a fire hazard, right? (Interesting summary here [fsacalberta.ca] .)

I have never heard of this power being abused, and I don't have any problem with it; but if you think the problem is a willingness to let public officials use personal judgement in entering private property, then Canada isn't the solution.

The example from the article was in searching private property that was operating a pirate radio station. If they needed warrants, do you think they would have had any difficulty getting them?

bizzare indeed (2, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051901)

How would they get in? Do they have badges of some kind? Is there an FCC trained police force to execute these entries?

To really revisit the Communications Act of 1934 to will take someone getting hurt or killed during one of these entries.

Or due to the Supreme Court ruling in '67, FCC spokesman David Fiske will have to be educated on Federal Law the hard way.

Re:bizzare indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052147)

Look at the videos of their raids on pirate radio transmitters. They have badges, they have uniforms, they have AR-15s. It looks like a fully fledged SWAT team.

Re:bizzare indeed (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052223)

I was wondering the same thing. What if you refuse them entry? Can you be restrained and/or arrested? If so, what for? What if you refuse to open the door? Can they force entry? What if you're not home, are they going to kick your door in? The only way I could see this being instituted would be if someone mods their wireless access point to transmit at a high enough power level to interfere with their neighbors. Or perhaps if someone is intentionally jamming frequencies. Otherwise they might as well change the name of the FCC to the KGB.

Hmmm... Castle Docterine (3, Insightful)

joelmax (1445613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051903)

I know the Castle Docterine exists for some states (Or used to), I wonder if (Assuming one is in that state) could use that as a valid defense for shooting an FCC goon on your property...

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051967)

No, you can't. You can't use the Castle Doctrine as a defense unless the person you shot is acting illegally. Therefore, if (and it's a big if), the FCC have the legal right to enter your home, you do not have the right to shot them.

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052023)

Yeah, but are were you supposed to know they were from the FCC?

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052077)

If you think you'll win with that defense, then good luck to you. On the other hand, IANAL.

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052159)

Yeah, but are were you supposed to know they were from the FCC?

They would announce it and show indentification. They won't come bursting through the windows, wearing all black and with guns blazing. The FCC is a bit more civilized than that.

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052075)

I'd say a warrantless search of my house, due to having a lawfully unlicensed device would be a good enough reason to shoot them. I'm pretty sure the courts will agree & I'm willing to take my chances on that.

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052171)

I'm pretty sure the courts will agree & I'm willing to take my chances on that.

I'm pretty sure they won't.

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052177)

Castle doctrine applies to using lethal force to protect yourself or another against great bodily harm or rape. You can only use equal force when it comes to a think like this, so if they use lethal force (pointing a gun at you) you may shoot them (blah blah blah clause goes here). If they bust in, with castle doctrine applying, and do not announce they are FCC whatever...it applies and their entry is considered cause to use lethal force... do some research

Re:Hmmm... Castle Docterine (2, Informative)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052303)

No, because the FCC is always going to 1) identify themselves, 2) knock on the door and ask to see specific equipment or a specific transmission source, and 3) walk away and issue you a fine by mail if you say no. These Castle scenarios where 'FCC goons' bust into your house, RF detectors blazing, is pure fantasy. Furthermore, the Castle doctrine applies to a situation where you could reasonably believe you are in danger of physical harm in your own home. When is the FCC ever going to make you think you are at risk of physical harm? A guy with a clipboard knocking on your door and asking to see your HAM transmitter or CB radio is not justification for homicide.

And under... (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051913)

... Florida's "Castle" doctrine, I reserve the right to shoot them as they walk thru the door.

Re:And under... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052021)

Need a bit of that castle doctrine in the UK.

Re:And under... (1)

CyberK (1191465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052065)

But if they do have the backing of the Communications Act of 1934, that means they're acing lawfully. Something which renders castle doctrines invalid.

Re:And under... (3, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052139)

Umm...no you don't. There's no state law anywhere that gives you the right to shoot a federal law enforcement officer who properly identifies himself/herself as such.

It's people like you that make people like us have to fight every inch for our rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Re:And under... (5, Interesting)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052169)

Why is everyone equating equating the right to inspect with no-knock raids? The FCC isn't going to kick in your door while you're trying to flush your transmitter. They're going to knock, ask to see the transmitter, and then go back to their office and issue you a fine by mail if you say no. The FCC has no interest in putting their agent's lives at risk in order to get someone to switch off their CB. All of this ranting about government goons and guns is just melodramatic bullshit. If the government wants to infringe on your rights, they'll do it through the legal system, not by kicking in doors. It's much more effective and much lower risk.

Whether or not this is infringement on your 4th Amendment rights actually depends greatly on how the law is applied. If the FCC is asserting the right to enter any house because there is a phone or a wireless device inside, it's obviously infringement. The FCC has lawyers, and knows this, so there's little chance they would adopt such a tactic. All of the cases mentioned in the article related to fairly powerful transmitters that were being used in a way such that the violation of FCC regs could be detected by someone miles from the source. That means that 1) by the time the FCC directionalizes the signal and shows up at your door, they already have probably cause and could get a warrant if they needed it, and 2) the FCC could reasonably assert in court that the device is not something that most people have in their house, and is a sophisticated enough device that the fairly uncontroversial right of administrative inspection to have a look at that particular piece of equipment.

Re:And under... (0, Flamebait)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052185)

...Texas' "Castle" doctrine, I reserve the right to shoot them as they walk up the footpath.

Completely misleading article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051969)

Note that AT NO TIME, does the FCC guy interviewed actually say they can search your home without a warrant.

He says the FCC has total authority to inspect RF devices. Which they do, the article even cites the specific law that gives the FCC that authority. They can ask to see your router at home but they still don't have the authority to just bust into your house without a warrant.

Re:Completely misleading article (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052045)

Hey, this is slashdot...there has to be misleading/misquoted summaries to drum up fake outrage!

Re:Completely misleading article (3, Insightful)

tiggertaebo (1480739) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052187)

as if there isn't enough outrage from the genuine stuff!

Re:Completely misleading article (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052109)

Whoa as I read that my first instinct was to check my kdawson bullshit filter but turns out this one was Timothy. I expect misleading BS to get posted by kdawson but looks like he might have a protege in Timothy now for the fine art of misleading bullshit. Timmy learn from kdawsons idiotic BS, don't post FUD and bullshit, we're tired of it.

Re:Completely misleading article (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052161)

The article is misleading, or is the FCC mislead? I agree that they should not have this power, I hope that they don't, but I wouldn't put it past a government agency of any sort to claim it has more authority than it really does. These people are scope creep aficionados... how else do you make sure your budget justifications never show shrinkage?

If you are running an illegal transmitter, they can track you down and arrest you? Are you sure they can't enter a home with "probable cause"? And, would not a triangulated signal, currently still being transmitted (the potential crime is in progress!) inside the house be that probable cause?

Again, I don't think so, and I could make a case for why not, but... its been said that its very difficult for people to understand things that are at odds with their salary. (Kind of like why I don't try to explain to the RMV that driver retraining isn't needed for a person for whome 3 of their 5 offences were, essentially, paperwork errors.... forgot to renew a registration twice, and license once. Much less when the other 2 offenses were the same event)

All in all, I hope you are right that its the article not the FCC that have it wrong. Else we are going to have to put our faith in the courts, and thats a scary thought.

-Steve

Other sources of radio frequencies (1, Funny)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051989)

So does this also mean they can search my home if I'm connected to the AC grid, have a microwave or have somehow acquired a quasar?

Re:Other sources of radio frequencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052033)

Under their interpretation? Yes.
According to the courts? Depends on the judge you get, probably. I imagine, "But it /does/ emit RF energy, yes?" being an important quotation in such a hypothetical case.

To add some content (and a pseudo-car analogy) -- this is doing the exact same thing /not/ raising the speed limit on roads; it makes everyone a criminal. Once the government has the right to stop you, search you and seize everything you own because of arcane laws unknown and incapable of being understood they have entirely eroded our 4th amendment.

Re:Other sources of radio frequencies (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052239)

Well aside from the fact that it's not difficult to drive under the speed limit. But you'd really have to do without essentially all modern technology (including driving that car you aren't speeding in) to not be in control of a device emitting RF.

But the point is correct anyway, there are so many laws that there's a 0% chance you haven't broken one in the last week.

Re:Other sources of radio frequencies (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052093)

So does this also mean they can search my home if I'm connected to the AC grid, have a microwave or have somehow acquired a quasar?

Where the hell would you keep it [wikipedia.org] ?

Good workaround... stick and move (2, Interesting)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052025)

In the meantime, pirate radio stations are adapting to the FCC's warrantless search power by dividing up a station's operations. For instance, Boulder Free Radio consists of an online radio station operated by DJs from a remote studio. Miles away, a small computer streams the online station and feeds it to the transmitter. Once the FCC comes and leaves a notice on the door, the transmitter is moved to another location before the agent returns.

Fscking awesome. Absolutely fscking awesome.

Rather than "testing this in court.." (1)

pig-power (1069288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052067)

How 'bout we just get rid of the FCC?
Oh wait! All those important *cough* alphabet agencies...
how can we manage without them? *cough*
Stand back, sarcasm alert!

FCC Compliance Sticker (1)

riboch (1551783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052089)

If I am not mistaken, in the U.S. there are these little stickers on almost every device that says FCC compliant, so they have already "inspected" the device and have no legal bearing for re-inspection without a warrant. Now in cases presented in the article it makes sense because chances are the rig is either non-certified or set-up improperly. Any individual that has ever operated a radio should understand the importance.

Re:FCC Compliance Sticker (1)

QAPete (717838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052179)

This is correct. BTW, by definition, Part 15 of the FCC rules state that consumer electronic devices DO produce interference, and CAN BE interfered with:

"This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) this device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation."

specifically what's their power? (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052095)

Is their power to search the PROPERTY, or to inspect the DEVICE?

If it's the latter (which would make sense), ask them specifically what they're looking for, and bring it to them at the front door.

Just like with the police - if they ask if they can come in, just say no. :)

"Reserve the right" (4, Informative)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052107)

In the US, our government has no rights. It only has powers delegated to it by We the People. It has no rights, not prerogative to reserve them.

There are some special constructs like "sovereign immunity" but those are not right, they are juris prudence constructs. The FCC can't just say "we're reserving the right to rape your children". Congress has to vote to give them that power. And with congress voting, due process is upheld.

"If you aren't doing anything wrong..." (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052145)

Does anyone still say this?

Re:"If you aren't doing anything wrong..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052375)

All the time. Sigh.

Keep FCC off your back. Live in a Faraday's Cage (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052191)

All that talk about warrantless search and unconstitutionality etc are bogus. If you don't emit any detectable radiation then you can claim FCC can't enter your premises. But if you have a device that emits radiation beyond your home, FCC has the right to inspect, if necessary disable that device. It is just common sense.

You could argue this power is limited, and any evidence of any other illegal activity uncovered by FCC during this process of disabling non-compliant radiation emitter is not admissable in cases etc etc. That is all fine and good. But it is a stretch to claim the right to pollute the EM spectrum just because the device is inside a private property perimeter.

It is very easy to give FCC this power to enter premises in a constitutional way. The ability to detect RF emissions coming from the property itself is probably cause.

Dont like that? You dont want FCC to ever enter your home? Just build a Faraday's Cage around your home and you will be fine. Or may be upgrade your tin-foil hat to a tin-foil home.

What is unreasonable? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052295)

'It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure,' says Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien

What is so unreasonable in locating a device that is interfering with Air traffic control or FM radio broadcasts or GPS recievers? FCC does not have the right to go on fishing expedition in private homes, I agree. But if it has a quadrifiler antenna beeping away and pointing to a home that has RF emitter out of compliance, why should it not enter the property and disable it?

What about a private property from which you see diesel draining away? Or you smell catavarine around it indicating a leaking propane tank? You think the fire department needs a warrant to enter the property and plug the leak?

CAR ANALOGY: Can the fire department break the window and extract the injured accident victim from a car? Or do they have to file for a warrant and wait for a judge to grant it?

Its called a loophole (1)

bedammit (678849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052355)

Im sure they will keep this one around. It could prove to be useful like tax evasion laws. Using the FCC the government could enter your house because they suspect a device inside is in violation of the law. Brilliant. I'm going back to the Stone Ages right after this post. You can reach me by courier pigeon.

FCC doesn't invade homes (3, Informative)

stevew (4845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052379)

I have a little bit of real-life experience dealing with an FCC engineer while he was hunting a suspected illegal transmitter. I was helping him locate it.

Basic story - someone had set up a cross-band repeater with it's output on 2m running about 100W. The main purpose of this thing was to act as a remote phone. The output was right in the middle of the 2m Satellite downlink band. The system would turn on intermittently, and he would talk to his girlfriend about Olive oil parties and such.

We found his input frequency and figured out how he turned the thing on and off.

FCC came down to track it - they asked us to turn it on for 30 seconds at a time. They took three readings to find the guy! The last reading was "which antenna!" They are VERY good at what they do. Turns out the guy DID have a license, and he was sited for no ID (which was pretty minimal..) He was later confronted about his activities personally and embarrassed into ceasing same. The fact that he was screwing up satellite operations AND a near by repeater he didn't know existed helped in that cause.

Anyway - to make this relevant. The FCC never went into his house. However, they DID confront him at his place of work to site him. (not sure how this occurred..)

As a Ham - they DO have the right to demand to enter my premises to inspect the radio gear. If I deny them access - they can take away the license. So it's a balancing act. If I want to keep the license I let them in. They won't be bringing cops to the door.

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