Carrying around and being close to transmitting radios makes me nervous.

They may be programmed to harm their owner from the outset, or reprogrammed by private hackers or government forces.

They are the means through which ubiquitous surveillance is maintained, alongside agreements and clandestine action against fixed-line phone and internet providers. Perhaps the most important rule for understanding computer, internet, and network security today is that your government is attacking you.

So… when I walk around with radios it stresses me out. That includes the cell network, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios in the ragged old iPhone4 which I sometimes carry. It includes the capable and sophisticated antennas in my laser-etched Macbook.

To an extent, it includes the increasingly inescapable RFID tags built into passports, credit cards, and bank cards.

I distrust the state.

I think the unprecedented ability of the state to track and permanently archive our conversations, movements, and financial transactions alters how we should feel about democracy, governance, and technology.

If you are evil, or curious, or a nationalistic defender of state authority, you need to start studying software defined radio.

In contrast, I find radios which can only receive comforting and anachronistic. “Radio” still means to a lot of people, a machine to receive and interpret data sent by radio frequencies. GPS receivers and radio clocks are good examples.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

. October 31, 2016 at 4:42 pm

La Presse says Montreal police tracked journalist’s iPhone for months

A Montreal journalist says he was furious when he learned that city police monitored his iPhone for months in order to find out who he was speaking with.

“I was living in the fiction that police officers wouldn’t dare do that, and in the fiction that judges were protecting journalists — and hence the public — against this type of police intrusion,” La Presse columnist Patrick Lagace said in an interview Monday.

“Clearly, I was naive.”

The French-language newspaper reported it has learned at least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for Lagace’s phone this year at the request of the police’s special investigations unit. That section is responsible for looking into crime within the police force.

. September 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Ask Not for Whom the 60 kHz Bell Tolls

The Trump administration proposes, in its Fiscal 2019 budget to Congress, cutting $26.6 million and 136 jobs from NIST’s fundamental measurements, quantum science and measurement dissemination activities. That includes the closure of shortwave stations WWV, WWVB (Fort Collins, Colorado) and WWVH (Kekaha, Hawaii) which have provided a free audio and digital time signal to the Northern Hemisphere for over 50 years.

The closure of the two facilities would save US taxpayers 6.3 million dollars a year. While other over-the-air sources of time exist, such as GPS, shortwave signals use less power and can reach areas that the GPS signal cannot.

The removal of the time signal will also mean millions of clocks and other devices around the northern hemisphere would begin to lose time and fall silent. WWV/WWVH also broadcasts additional information such as marine storm warnings, GPS satellite health reports, and specific information about solar activity and radio propagation conditions.

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