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Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the turn-down-your-volume-before-clicking dept.

Security 180

concertina226 (2447056) writes "Online hacktivist collective Anonymous has announced that it is working on a new tool called Airchat which could allow people to communicate without the need for a phone or an internet connection — using radio waves instead. Anonymous, the amorphous group best known for attacking high profile targets like Sony and the CIA in recent years, said on the project's Github page: 'Airchat is a free communication tool [that] doesn't need internet infrastructure [or] a cell phone network. Instead it relies on any available radio link or device capable of transmitting audio.' Despite the Airchat system being highly involved and too complex for most people in its current form, Anonymous says it has so far used it to play interactive chess games with people at 180 miles away; share pictures and even established encrypted low bandwidth digital voice chats. In order to get Airchat to work, you will need to have a handheld radio transceiver, a laptop running either Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, and be able to install and run several pieces of complex software." And to cleanse yourself of the ads with autoplaying sound, you can visit the GitHub page itself.

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Best/worst part is (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832531)

They're anonymous, so they don't need to respect your frequency assignments.

Re:Best/worst part is (2)

n1ywb (555767) | about 8 months ago | (#46832783)

You've heard of radio direction finding, right? Just stay out of the ham bands.

Re:Best/worst part is (3, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46832891)

Because Uncle Charlie is a fearsome power that is easily angered?

I know of an idiot with 1000W linear hooked to an awful car CB that was previously modified to boost it's power (read: fuck up it's channel separation).

You can not only hear him on the neighbors land lines/radios/TVs but on the fucking microwave!

Less then 5 miles off the end of a military runway. Uncle Charlie doesn't care.

If it was my neighborhood, I'd drop his tower on his house at 2AM.

Re: Best/worst part is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833641)

How the fuck you hear him on the microwave? The microwave oven?! Please elaborate on that experience.

Re:Best/worst part is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832875)

From the github page:

(remember that when you are in the middle of a massive crisis you probably wouldn't care much about the stupid FCC)

They've got a point.

Truly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832537)

... revolutionary. sigh.

Illegal in some countries (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832547)

This is almost certainly illegal in the UK. Encrypyted comms over citizen/public radio bands is not allowed. Steganography would be required to carry an encrypted payload without being caught, but you'd still be breaking the law.

Re:Illegal in some countries (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832607)

Isn't virtually everything illegal in the fascist UK?

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832619)

This post isn't ;-)

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46832939)

Your post is legal in Airstrip One because it doesn't insult a famous person anywhere in the world.

Re:Illegal in some countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833235)

Yes it is. Please shut down your computer immediately and report to the nearest Ministry of Love office for re-indoctrination, citizen.

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46833093)

Yes, and most of us ignore it.

Re:Illegal in some countries (2)

pr100 (653298) | about 8 months ago | (#46833533)

At least the UK has enacted the Human Rights Act 1998, which gives protection where rights afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights are violated by the state.

Whilst I'm sure bad stuff happens in the UK, it does provide a framework that prevents overt abuses such as Guantanamo Bay...

Re:Illegal in some countries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833617)

trollolol, try harder britfag

Re:Illegal in some countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833879)

Overt abuses like the detention of a Brazilian citizen and reporter for carrying US classified documents through a UK airport?

Overt abuses like the GCHQ shutting down a news paper, and destroying its computer hardware because it suspects (without evidence, or trial) that the hardware contains US and/or British classified documents?

Overt abuses like a CCTV system over the whole nation; with facial recognition, license place recognition.... etc.

And about GITMO... you mean like this: http://world.time.com/2013/05/29/the-brit-gitmo-u-k-admits-holding-afghan-prisoners-on-british-base/

And on many bands.. (2)

ElectraFlarefire (698915) | about 8 months ago | (#46832621)

Try doing this on the HAM bands and you'll have a bunch of Radio Amateurs tracking your location and reporting you in to ACMA/FCC/Whatever the UK has.
Encryption is explicitly excluded in the regs. Doing so will actually have people tracking your location and gathering logs on what they find.

Re:And on many bands.. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46832911)

Will they actually do something though?

An associate has a problem neighbor with a 1000W linear that Uncle Charlie has been ignoring for over a decade. We could stick some crytpo on him if necessary.

Re:And on many bands.. (1)

Roxoff (539071) | about 8 months ago | (#46833071)

I can see it now. A four or five middle aged or older, possibly bearded men (a generation of geek ahead of us) turning up to wag fingers and generally tut at hundreds of Anonymous protesters.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing to stop them reporting the Anonymous protesters to the authorities for this. Only two problems with this. 1. The 'perpetrators' are Anonymous, so you don't know who they are. 2. The perpetrators don't give a shit.

Re:And on many bands.. (3, Informative)

ElectraFlarefire (698915) | about 8 months ago | (#46833317)

Considering the current generation of geeks is developing all the software defined radios used by Amateurs and with digital modes becoming a whole new area to play with, there's a lot of younger people involved.
The older people have the contacts in government departments to get things done, the younger have the equipment to do a lot of the tracking all automatically.
I know this from helping a group deal with some people being abusive on some bands in my area. They now have no radio gear and a few thousand dollar fine that gets remarkably large if they ever do it again..

That being said, if they stay off the used areas and are courteous to other users of the spectrum.. THEN no-one will care enough.. You can get away with a lot, if your discrete and do it somewhere no-one cares.

Re:And on many bands.. (2)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46833257)

Encryption is explicitly excluded in the regs. Doing so will actually have people tracking your location and gathering logs on what they find.

Only if you do it on a band that's popular enough to have people notice your transgressions. If you either use a sparsely-used band or use a band that amateur radio is a secondary user of, and it's quite likely that you could operate or some time without anyone reporting you. If you were to use the 900MHz/33cm band it's likely that your usage would be chalked up to some proprietary part-15 device and wouldn't be given much priority.

Thing of it is, leaving the medium of the Internet and actually operating in meat-space is not where most l33t h4xx0r types want to be. They're not going to spend the money and go through the physical effort of setting up antennas, running cables, and dealing with things in the physical world when they don't really have to. It's a lot of work and probably won't result in anything more secure than using new methods on an existing medium.

After all, the boot-CD and the wireless ethernet PCMCIA card kept in a safe deposit box somewhere near a coffee shop with open wifi would probably work just fine for a long, long time.

Re:And on many bands.. (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 8 months ago | (#46833969)

Encryption is explicitly excluded in the regs.

Why?

Re:Illegal in some countries (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#46832689)

Do we really care about the law anymore? The singular universal rule these days is, *Don't get caught - Burn the tapes*

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832767)

People should follow the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law.

If a law is unjust it deserves to be broken, regardless of what it is.

sung to the tune of "Every Sperm is Sacred" (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#46832969)

and corporations are people, too, right?

Re:Illegal in some countries (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46833145)

It's a nice idea, and arguably has done a lot to bring down many repressive governments and end many great injustices. The problem is that everyone believes themselves to be righteously protesting - and one man's justified cause is another's anarchy. Take the current Bundy fiasco: Bundy feels that federal land ownership is unjust, therefore he refuses to pay his grazing license (ie, tax). He also feels that protection for endangered species is an unjust law, therefore he ignores repeated court orders to stop grazing his cattle upon land which has herd density restrictions. To some, he is a hero - a brave protester, risking his freedom to strike a symbolic blow against a government out of control. To others, he is a redneck dick who won't pay his taxes and has no respect for the rule of law. It's all subjective.

Re:Illegal in some countries (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46832965)

Encrypyted comms over citizen/public radio bands is not allowed.

Would that include Cockney rhyming slang?

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 8 months ago | (#46833245)

It's almost certainly illegal anyway - do you think they are all going to go to Ofcom and get a radio license? Therefore I don't think it's going to bother them if encryption is also illegal.

Re:Illegal in some countries (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 8 months ago | (#46833435)

Why not send clear text via Morse that has been encrypted or encoded?

You can't send over scrambled/encrypted links, you can send encrypted/compressed data.

Communicate without need for phone or internet... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832553)

Maybe he should call it "Talking".

Re:Communicate without need for phone or internet. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46832699)

Maybe he should call it "Talking".

Or waving flags if you can use signal flags. I hear smoke signals can work too..

Re:Communicate without need for phone or internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832865)

Pigeons?

Re:Communicate without need for phone or internet. (1)

Roxoff (539071) | about 8 months ago | (#46833025)

I love the idea of sending a jpeg by semaphore. Can't see it working for smoke signals, though.

Re:Communicate without need for phone or internet. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46833401)

I love the idea of sending a jpeg by semaphore. Can't see it working for smoke signals, though.

Why not? Long/short pulses of smoke could correspond to 0's and 1's, respectively.

Now granted, it might take 2 weeks and a helluva lot of timber to send the file header...

Licensing (2)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 8 months ago | (#46832605)

Use of this would (to my knowledge) require some sort of HAM licensing - and said regulations would have restrictions on things like frequencies (i.e. the whole "FM Pirate Radio" thing discussed on the README) or encrypted data.

So the NSA couldn't necessarily snoop your data - but the FCC could (and if you pissed the NSA or FBI off, probable WOULD) come after you for these types of violations. They couldn't get your by IP address - but if your were operating this from a fixed-base - they could find you.

Re:Licensing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832737)

Just an FYI - maybe for future use. But 'ham' is not an acronym like NSA or FBI - it's never written in all caps. Correct usage would be Ham, ham or even Amateur Radio. Also, you are correct on the radio location implications. Finding a fixed station is trivial. Even a low power station. Finding a moving station only slightly more difficult, but eminently doable even with minimal resources. Just takes equipment actually designed for that purpose and in this century instead of simplistically body nulling an HT as you'd attempt at a Hamfest fox hunt or Field Day exercise. But, to give credit - even that archaic method is surprisingly useful.

Re:Licensing (1)

pinkstuff (758732) | about 8 months ago | (#46832923)

Spies are already using shortwave radio [wikipedia.org] , albeit using mostly goverment owned frequencies. This would be a great tool for them.

Re: Licensing (1)

idshabbedign (3630079) | about 8 months ago | (#46832925)

What if you broadcasted an encrypted signal that was indistinguishable from random noise?

Re: Licensing (0)

Roxoff (539071) | about 8 months ago | (#46833051)

So... you take your broadcast and 'encrypt' it by replacing it with random (I'm presuming white) noise. How does this help?

Surely, if it's indistinguishable from random noise, then it really is random noise? Unless you -can- distinguish it because you know how the encryption algorithm works?

Re: Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833709)

Because is sounds like white noise and doesn't draw attention to itself. So no one cares to track and report it. You ignorant little faggot.

God damn nerds all lack basic intelligence and common sense.

Re: Licensing (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46833153)

They'd still pick up the carrier - they couldn't tell what you were saying, but they could track where it was coming from. If you want to evade tracking you could use something like very broadband, rapidly-hopping spread spectrum - that would certainly get in the way of any tracking efforts, but it would also need a lot more specialised equipment and skill.

Re:Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833061)

But that's a lot more work than tracking someone down by IP, so users would probably gamble that the government is unlikely to invest the resources to do it.

Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (4, Funny)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 8 months ago | (#46832635)

10-4, good buddy!

Hmmmm... might have to dig out my 150W linear amplifier I used to use to drown out obnoxious truckers with, when they needed a smackdown.

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (2, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46832739)

CB Radio === Total waste of a good ham band. Would/should have given them something above 6 meters where linears would have been of extremely limited value. But, as it stands we bid you a fond farewell 11 meters...

Oh really? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46833215)

You mean the ham bands where you're not allowed to discuss anything political, not allowed to swear or basically have an opinion on anything even slightly controversial except who's going to win best tomatoes at this years vegetable growers competition?

Yeah, who needs CB eh?

No offence , but the ham bands are for old men with nothing to talk about except their radios and gardens. CB back in the day was far more vibrant.

Re:Oh really? (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46833487)

Obscenity and talking in code is legally frowned upon, but almost everything else is fair game as long as it's not business related on the ham bands, at least between two US stations. International communications are usually limited to technical discussions or communications of a personal nature (how the kids are doing in school, the weather etc), but if you think about it, that makes good sense. Most hams do stick to noncontroversial topics, but that's not legally required. I've heard some pretty heated debates over religion and politics at times, but it's like standing on the street corner and yelling at people when you do that. You can start some lively debates, but nobody but the debaters will care. Not to mention, HF spectrum is a world wide resource, and using it to argue with somebody is a waste.

But all that aside, the issue is the band they used, not that they gave the CBers spectrum space. I'm complaining about the spectrum they selected. It should have been higher frequency, well above 6 meters, say where FRS is now would have been great. It would have avoided lots of the troubles we have with CB radios, allowed for smaller antennas and better overall usefulness because they could have easily increased the legal power output to make local communications much less difficult. As it stands, CB is a total wasteland, with little real purpose, that takes up valuable HF spectrum.

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833261)

CB is very useful on the road. I don't transmit much at all and usually don't even connect my mic, but it's great for traffic monitoring.

With the advent of cell phones most of the idiots moved off CB. Having a "public" frequency rather than yet another ham band used by a few gummers to chat
about each others piles is a handy thing during disasters etc. Keeps public comms and hamspace separate.

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46833595)

CB is very useful on the road. I don't transmit much at all and usually don't even connect my mic, but it's great for traffic monitoring.

With the advent of cell phones most of the idiots moved off CB. Having a "public" frequency rather than yet another ham band used by a few gummers to chat about each others piles is a handy thing during disasters etc. Keeps public comms and hamspace separate.

Historically, the CB spectrum used to be part of the Ham allocation. So it got taken from the gummers in the first place... But you missed my point.

I do not begrudge the creation of CB radio, I do however question the selection of the spectrum for CB. There was no need to put it in the HF spectrum and should have been moved up above 6 meters. There would have been a lot less trouble with CB because they would have been limited to spectrum that was a lot less subject to long distance propagation, making it more useful for what it was intended to be, local communications. Antennas would have been smaller, and the problem with linear amps would have been greatly reduced, mainly because nobody would need them.

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (2)

westlake (615356) | about 8 months ago | (#46833649)

CB Radio === Total waste of a good ham band.

CB radio at 27 MHz has been around since 1958. The radios were cheap --- remain cheap --- and have significant usable range without the use of repeaters.

CB radio survives because the cell phone isn't the answer to every problem.

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46833961)

CB Radio === Total waste of a good ham band.

CB radio at 27 MHz has been around since 1958. The radios were cheap --- remain cheap --- and have significant usable range without the use of repeaters.

CB radio survives because the cell phone isn't the answer to every problem.

Ham Radio: When all else fails, it works. I've never had an issue finding assistance on the ham bands. Even my unlicensed wife managed to get help by using my radio once. On the ham bands, it's about emergency communication and community service. They are there to help.

CB? Good luck finding somebody who 1. cares and 2. knows how to get you help when your cell phone dies. Last time I listened to CB it was a pile of mindless operators who where jawing all the time and never listening. Heaven help you if you needed help. Few cared to listen long enough to ever be helpful, and many where running so much power arguing with the guy next door that I doubt you would actually need a radio to hear them because the light bulbs would be making enough noise.

So I think it was a mistake to give 11 meters to the crazies on the CB band. Wasted some great HF spectrum space on what turned into a horrible mess. But, alas, it's done now and there is no going back.. Which is why I bid 11 meters a fond farewell...

Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833281)

Uncle Charlie, is that you?

Hey gubmint (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 8 months ago | (#46832659)

I'm here sending out propaganda with this supa sekrit radio transmitter. Betch'a can't find me .. nyah nyah nyah

The ARRL wants its technology back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832669)

Uh, amateur radio, anyone?

Re:The ARRL wants its technology back (4, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46832927)

Armature Extra here, how can I help you get licensed? It's not that hard and these days you don't even need to learn Morse code like I had too. Entry level license requires only basic understanding of Ohms Law and Power calculations, a little about RF safety and some basic things about the rules (like what privileges your license gives you, who the FCC and ITU are.)

Great hobby with lots of interesting things to look at. We do community service like weather spotting for the NWS, event and emergency communications. Don't like talking on the radio? There are lots of computer based things to play with, Digital modes like PSK, packet or HSMM stuff. We have software defined radios you can build and program too. I'll bet we can find something of interest for you to play with.

Don't like taking tests? Well, what if I told you all the questions and the correct answers are published in advance and the test is multiple choice. 35 questions are asked and you only need 26 right. You can practice online (usually for free) and know almost for sure if you will pass or not before taking the test. Tests are likely given regularly and very close to you, no matter where you live and cost $15 for as many as you can take and pass. Pass all three to get your Extra and enjoy the full set of Armature privileges available. If you pass, your license will be good for life as long as you keep requesting renewal every 10 years (renewals are currently free if you file yourself online).

Go ahead.. Take a look!

http://www.arrl.org

Re:The ARRL wants its technology back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833583)

But if you take the test,
If you get a license,
Then they know who you (claim to) be,
And where (you said) they could find you.

oh yeah..... (1)

Kevin McGough (3630053) | about 8 months ago | (#46832679)

We call it Ham radio. If you communicate, do so with a name.

Re:oh yeah..... (2)

Michael Williamson (3630059) | about 8 months ago | (#46832715)

I was active with ax.25 packet radio 20 years ago. What is actually useful is the ability to do this on HF radio. Here in South Texas I can connect to a gateway node somewhere in the country practically at any time and get a message out. Since the gateways are sometimes several hundred miles away, it would be impervious to any local disaster, provided I can get 12v at a few amps to run my gear.

Re:oh yeah..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832807)

I prefer Beef Radio, myself.

Re:oh yeah..... (1)

rezme (1677208) | about 8 months ago | (#46832893)

Bacon Radio FTW...

Congratulations. You've just invented packet radio (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46832681)

Packet radio is done every single day on HF on up. With APRS, you can get messages from one coast to the other and back again without any internet or phone connection.

If you DO have an Internet connection, http://www.aprs.fi/ [www.aprs.fi] even shows you where all of the beacons, digipeaters, and stations are at a given time, and allows you to see all of the packets that are sent.

Re:Congratulations. You've just invented packet ra (1)

madshot (621087) | about 8 months ago | (#46832731)

Yup, i was thinking the same thing as well as "I hope they are not using HAM frequencies". Go pick someone elses band to screw with like GMRS or FRS :)

Re:Congratulations. You've just invented packet ra (3, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46832899)

I'm sure they're probably using Baofengs like everyone else who likes to freeband.

The problem with Anonymous is... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46833377)

... that they seem to be painfully unaware of any technology from before they were born. Which for most of them was probably the year 2000.

System requirements (1)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 8 months ago | (#46832691)

"...a laptop running either Windows, Mac OS X or Linux" Aw crap, I guess my DOSbook is out :(

Re:System requirements (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | about 8 months ago | (#46833207)

People are comparing this to packet radio. Well, the first software I used for internet access was ka9q, originally for HAM use. And it ran on DOS. So there's no need to feel left out.

Elizabeth Warren Is Rewriting History (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832695)

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/brian-walsh/2014/04/22/elizabeth-warren-glosses-over-native-american-controversy-in-new-book

"“Everyone on our mother’s side — aunts, uncles, and grandparents — talked openly about their Native American ancestry. My brothers and I grew up on stories about our grandfather building one-room schoolhouses and about our grandparents’ courtship and their early lives together in Indian Territory.”

This is ironic because, until the Boston Herald first broke the news in April 2012 that Harvard Law School had repeatedly promoted Warren as a Native American faculty member, Warren never once mentioned these stories of her upbringing in a single press interview, speech, class lecture or testimony at any point, ever, in her decades-long career. What's more, Warren was not listed as a minority on her transcript from George Washington University where she began her undergraduate education, nor did she list herself as a minority when applying to Rutgers University Law School in 1973.

In fact, it was not until she was in her 30s and focused on climbing the highly competitive ladder of law school academia that Warren apparently rediscovered her Native American heritage. It’s important to note that entrance and advancement in the law school profession is governed by the Association of American Law Schools, which requires registrants interested in teaching at law schools to fill out a questionnaire detailing their education, experience, bar passage and, yes, ethnicity. This information is then disseminated to law schools around the country that, as Warren surely knew, are always on the lookout to add to the diversity of their faculty.

A copy of Warren's questionnaire currently resides in the Association of American Law Schools archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, only Warren herself has the authority to release the complete copy of her questionnaire and to date, she has refused to do so. "

Ditrty detestable lying democrat scumbag politician.

But I repeat myself.

I don't understand the point (1)

GlennC (96879) | about 8 months ago | (#46832751)

Why use this when I can get some cheap ham radio gear, or even a CB radio setup?

It looks like a solution in search of a problem.

Re:I don't understand the point (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46832967)

Well, TFA says they've been able to set up encrypted voice chats in low bandwidth,

My guess, if Anonymous is using this, and it's intended to get around surveillance, it's explicitly *not* sending stuff in the clear.

Which makes it different from a CB radio.

Here is some information you may want to know (4, Informative)

MindPrison (864299) | about 8 months ago | (#46832813)

It's a great idea, I'll accept that, it's also not new - this has existed in some commercial form one way or the other (various calculators could communicate images & chat freely via the airwaves, Nintendo DS could also seek players within a certain range to do some picto-chatting or game with each other). Radio Amateurs have done this since the 80s, me too... I did it with a Commodore 64 + a home made 1-transistor modem and a walkie talkie, worked like a charm, but hey...it's good to see the kids of today doing something else than chatting on the internet.

1). You may want to check with the laws of your country, transmitting on most bands are illegal and could potentially disturb or disrupt ambulance communication, police or other important communications. Becoming a licensed Radio Amateur the legal way, is a good step in the right direction.

2). There are existing options you can use to chat & send files via radio today, Ham Radio enthusiasts knows all about this, visit your local (ARRL or equal ham-radio club in your neck of the woods).

3). If you want to chat worldwide, you could get a shortwave radio - or satellite antenna with the appropriate transceiver and a packet modem, with this - you can chat digitally, send pictures, send files as long as you have a radio amateur license to do so. Basically you need this to operate on the bands, in most countries you can listen in on radio amateurs communicating via packet-radio without a license, but you DO NEED A LICENSE TO TRANSMIT.

There are many more things you can do, there are a lot of commercially available radios, digital radios and much more. And none of them require the internet.

Re:Here is some information you may want to know (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46833373)

On 1, how honest is the "it will interfere with emergency services" reason? I've heard police in particular have unofficially switched to cell phones for sensitive information. And I'd imagine that there are always people willing to sell the government new and improved technology to "protect" against nefarious "terrorists" who might theoretically stage an attack and then mess with ambulances (and the lobbyists would of course assure everyone that this was 800% likely to happen.)

I'm just wondering if that's actually a nonsense argument the FCC uses to hold onto every bit of power they have. But I know nothing about it, which is why I'm asking.

Re:Here is some information you may want to know (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 8 months ago | (#46833501)

On 1, how honest is the "it will interfere with emergency services" reason? I've heard police in particular have unofficially switched to cell phones for sensitive information. And I'd imagine that there are always people willing to sell the government new and improved technology to "protect" against nefarious "terrorists" who might theoretically stage an attack and then mess with ambulances (and the lobbyists would of course assure everyone that this was 800% likely to happen.) I'm just wondering if that's actually a nonsense argument the FCC uses to hold onto every bit of power they have. But I know nothing about it, which is why I'm asking.

It depends on what frequency you are transmitting on. If you're on the same frequency, you may be interfering. I think a lot of larger cities are using the same type of radio technology - radios that support frequency hopping. They hop channels so fast that they are very difficult to jam without blanketing a huge swath of the available spectrum. More than likely any switch to cell phones would be to prevent the "sensitive" conversation from being recorded by their government agency. You wouldn't want to talk about your big drug deal, even in code, over the department radio channel if you can just call a cell phone.

Re:Here is some information you may want to know (1)

CrAlt (3208) | about 8 months ago | (#46833801)

On 1, how honest is the "it will interfere with emergency services" reason? I've heard police in particular have unofficially switched to cell phones for sensitive information.

It is honest. Public safety is all up in VHF,UHF, and the 700/800mhz bands. Other then going to digital voice (P25 mostly) there hasn't been much change in the tech. Its just radio.

Cops may use cellphones for sensitive stuff but dispatch and calls for help still use radio. Ambulances still use normal radios and "MED" channels in the clear to talk to doctors on the way to hospitals. FD's use normal low power portables while on site working a fire. If they get stuck that is how they call for help.
If a boater needs help he is still going to call the coastguard on VHF.

There are digital trunking systems that hop around on a SET number of channels but they can still be interfered with if something is operating on their band like anything else.

There are bands like FRS,GMRS,CB,etc that you can mess around on and no one will care. The 27mhz CB band is a total free for all with guys running messy 2KW stations. Since they are contained down there the FCC doesn't care. This would be the best place to play around in IMO.. right in the middle of all the other chaos.

No good will come of messing around on public safety bands. It will get you noticed very quickly and may actually interfere with an emergency call.

You can look up what your area uses on sites like http://www.radioreference.com/... [radioreference.com]
Its all public info and licensed by the FCC.

CIA beat Anonymous to it (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 8 months ago | (#46832825)

Spooks have been using radio waves 'forever'. Still, consumer progress moves onward. In effect, though, anyone with WiFi is using a shortrange version RF comm.

Re:CIA beat Anonymous to it (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 8 months ago | (#46832857)

Long range WiFi >10 miles using highly directional Yagi antennas (& of course microwave transmission) is already possible and sometimes for really low cost, though primarily line of sight.

Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46832831)

Even more so than anonymous's LOIC which didn't even bounce the attacks, this will give your position away. It is trivial to triangulate a radio signal like this, and if you interrupt legally protected radio frequencies they will hunt you down. Please be careful if you intend on using this.

anon vs hams for title of lamest (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#46833267)

I'm sure this proposal was floated by some FBI agent provocateur.
Nerd rage is the funniest rage. And hams can be quite nerdly.

Re:Be careful (1)

ClayDowling (629804) | about 8 months ago | (#46833371)

Don't be giving it away man. Anonymous has always been a good way to identify the anarchists who aren't fit to continue being anarchists. LOIC was great for pinpointing the gullible and getting them off the internet.

So Be It. (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 8 months ago | (#46833839)

"Hi folks! It seems we have a new listener tonight: Mr Watts of the F.C.C! Hi Arthur, thanks for coming out."

Military already does this (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 8 months ago | (#46832841)

US Army vehicles pass IP traffic over 2 way radios to provide tactical situational awareness and status reporting

Uh, we've had this for long time. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46832907)

We've had it for a long time, it's called Ham Radio. [arrl.org] Sure you have to get a license but it's trivial nowadays.

You're doing it wrong ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46832929)

And to cleanse yourself of the ads with autoplaying sound

If you have to worry about crap like this, you need to install better ad blockers and script blockers.

You invented ham radio without the oxygen tanks (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46832959)

And with encryption allowed.

The reason the ham service cannot innovate like this is that to be a worldwide service it has to operate by rules that are a lowest common denominator of all the rule sets imposed by all the countries in which it operates.

but... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46832999)

Anonymous, the amorphous group best known for attacking high profile targets like Sony and the CIA in recent years

I thought they were best known for making grandiose claims that never came to fruition? Remember how they were going to destroy facebook?

Re:but... (4, Funny)

Roxoff (539071) | about 8 months ago | (#46833139)

I thought they were best known for making grandiose claims that never came to fruition? Remember how they were going to destroy facebook?

I thought they'd done that? They logged on to Facebook, decided it was already rubbish and left it as-is. Job done.

Funny, mod parent up (1)

JigJag (2046772) | about 8 months ago | (#46833759)

n/t

Everyone, go to Toys R US and buy walkie talkies!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833021)

Let's get on this while it's "hot Hot HOT!!!" Be sure to sell them on CL and eBay as a "radio frequency modulating device that does not require a common infrastructure" or something amazing like that. GO! GO! GO!

My project involves (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 8 months ago | (#46833205)

encrypted smoke signals. the hard part is keeping the decoy fires going

Kids These Days (2)

ClayDowling (629804) | about 8 months ago | (#46833277)

See, when I was a kid, we had this thing called the postal service. It was great. If you had a piece of paper, a writing implement, and a stamp, you could communicate without even needing a computer, let alone a phone or internet. It was even possible to encrypt your communication using a variety of methods so that even if intercepted it wouldn't be obvious that it was some form of secure communication, let alone actually be read by the man in the middle. There were even good methods of detecting if communication had been intercepted, which this new-fangled method lacks. And yeah, there were even people who played chess via this method.

If these kids are gonna reinvent the wheel, they should at least make it work as well as the old wheel.

Re:Kids These Days (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | about 8 months ago | (#46833413)

The bandwidth was apparently pretty good but grandpa says the latency sucked.

Huh? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 months ago | (#46833771)

See, when I was a kid, we had this thing called the postal service. It was great. If you had a piece of paper.

What is this "paper" of which you speak?

Implying Slashdot isn't guilty of the same charges (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about 8 months ago | (#46833323)

And to cleanse yourself of the ads with autoplaying sound, you can visit the GitHub page itself.

Implying Slashdot isn't equally guilty of the same damn charge. About a week ago, while indulging myself in my daily fix while on my cellphone, I'll be damned if an ad on this very site (Slashdot) not only showed a video ad but the damn thing even autoplayed. I was not logged in at that moment so I can't confirm if it would have affected me while logged in.

This kind of behaviour is not only damn annoying but also use my precious (expensive and limited) 3G limit.

Damn Slashdot, for sure that's not the way to monetize the site. Mobile users surely get abused these days, and then when someone figures how to make an effective and pervasise ad blocker for all mobile OS the industry will come crying "we have no way to monetize the site now".

Behave now or suffer later.

SLashdot is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833531)

FYI, It probably doesn't appear if logged in. If you use the disable ads button it removes ALL the right hand sidebar (ads or not) which seems to include the noisy ones. HOWEVER it still left 2 animated ads and a damn popup....not my idea of disabled.

Looking up ad blockers now. I hadn't even used the disable ads button before that autoplay crap. You are NOT gaining much ground.

Re:Implying Slashdot isn't guilty of the same char (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833601)

Worse, I've seen intermittent pop-up-like ads starting to show up at the bottom of the main slashdot page. Slashdot has been one of the few sites where I enable the display of ads because I want to support the site, and until recently the ads haven't been too obnoxious, but I draw the line at pop-up ads. They're blocked in the browser, but slashdot is obviously using some other rendering trick to make it display anyway. In most cases they aren't even different ads from the ones that I do see embedded in the page at top and sides. They're redundant and annoying.

And this would be... (1)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | about 8 months ago | (#46833331)

the downside of SDR. Just wait until BladeRF [nuand.com] and HackRF [greatscottgadgets.com] and others really get spun up. No frequency will be safe.

In an actual "Sh*t Hits the Fan" emergency, technology like this isn't a bad thing to have on tap. The fun part is managing it day-to-day.

Dial-up over CB, nice. (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 8 months ago | (#46833491)

...I mean, good luck with that. That's pretty old-school, not sure it'll catch on, even in places where in really should. But hey, friends have iphones that need more charging than my startac did, and that was in the days when phone chargers could charge a phone and a second battery concurrently. So what do I know?

Re:Dial-up over CB, nice. (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 8 months ago | (#46833867)

Breaker, breaker, one nine two dot two four eight dot ...

Re:Dial-up over CB, nice. (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 8 months ago | (#46833937)

Ha!

AirChat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833499)

So,,,Sounds that travel over the air without the use of a phone or internet connexion,,,,I call it dialogue face to face but HEY,,,always new ways to re-invent the wheel

Easy to detect and suppress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833511)

These guys are talking about communication when the government is the adversary. FCC is the least of their worries.
However, this is still possible given the state of the technology. They just need to slow down the bitrate and go below the noise level. They mention Fldigi, so I guess the bitrates are in 30..3000bit/s range (because of the modulation types Fldigi supports). Relatively high power is needed, very easy to detect even at great distances.
Look into JT65 and WSPR digital modes, guys. The bitrates are below 1bit/s, but it provides greatly improved stealth because of the very low power needed. These modes are still narrowband and are easily detected when the black van is close enough.
The next step would be to develop a digital mode that uses the full 3kHz bandwidth of a low power transceiver, but the signal is indistinguishable from the noise and the bitrate is low, much less than 3kbit/s. Currently the amateurs are not interested in such modes, so nothing like this is available. This is where the development effort should be applied.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (1)

ka6wke (306232) | about 8 months ago | (#46833537)

This idea has been around for a very long time:

http://servv89pn0aj.sn.sourced... [sourcedns.com]

Green Bay Professional Packet Radio - probably has done the most work in this area.
http://www.qsl.net/n9zia/ [qsl.net]

Amateur Radio packet radio has been around since the late 80s. There's a new approach being tested as a wireless WAN on HF.
http://uspacket.org/network/in... [uspacket.org]

Yes, you do need a license, but encryption is not allowed on any amateur frequencies - unless it's the control channel for a ham satellite. ARRL tried to get an exception for ARES to transmit HIPAA data via packet encrypted, but FCC denied the petition. Anyone with a receiver and the Fldigi software can listen in.

mesh networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46833697)

mesh networks and bitcoins. problems solved.

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