Wireless ISP warned.
has issued a warning to a nationwide ISP to stop interfering
with amateur radio use of a frequency in the Part 15 (unlicensed)
spectrum. FCC Part 15 rules place on the users of unlicensed
spectrum the burden of assuring that they don't interfere with other
such users. The 2.4 GHz band being used by
Darwin Networks for 802.11b
service overlaps frequencies licensed for use by amateur radio
operators. This FCC action may signal the agency's seriousness about
enforcing its rules favoring licenced over unlicensed uses if the
Spread-spectrum technology, as implemented in the 802.11b standard,
trades off bandwidth to achieve greater robustness against
interference. Most off-the-shelf 802.11b equipment (for example
PCMCIA cards) is designed so that interference with other users
sharing the same spectrum should be minimal at its rated power
output. A geek of my acquaintence saw the report of the FCC's action
and guessed what Darwin Networks may have been doing to cause
noticable interferance in the 2.4 GHz band. He speculates that the
ISP may have been boosting the output of their 802.11b equipment --
say from 0.1 or 0.25 Watts to 1 Watt -- in an attempt to increase
the signal/noise ratio and so to push more bits per second.
The FCC action was filed on 2001-02-08 and Darwin Networks had 10
days to respond, so the whole matter may by now have been concluded
amicably. But the action could be the tip of a very large iceberg
looming in the path of the unlicensed wireless industry.
This news came across Dave Farber's IP mailing list.
Weather stations on an iceberg.
A number of massive icebergs broke free of the Ross Ice Shelf in
Antarctica last March. Scientists studying these icebergs have
installed three separate weather stations on one of them, a
90-by-20-mile behemoth designated B-15A. Here is a
portrait of B15-A taken last Thursday. (I found it on
at the University of Wisconsin, which loads 13 such photos totalling
around 2MB.) The automated weather stations were delivered by
helicopter. They are expected to last up to 5 years in the harsh
conditions 150 feet above the the Antarctic sea. Each station has a
GPS receiver and sensors to measure wind velocity and direction,
relative humidity, surface temperature, and barometric pressure.
story doesn't say so explicitly, but the stations seem to upload
their data periodically to a satellite.
When is system administration hacking?
The law of unintended consequences has struck two owners of an
Indian Web-hosting business. They spent six days in jail and face up
to three years in prison because they shut off the Web site of a
customer they claim had not paid his bill. The customer had them
charged with the crime of hacking under a new Indian law.
Rediff.com has the story
owner of Go2NextJob.com went to
the police after the site's host, Softweb Solutions Inc., replaced its
front page with a nonpayment notice. The police arrested Softweb's two
owners and charged them with hacking under India's tough new
2000, which has been in effect since last August.
The IT Act was motivated by the need to recognize the validity of
electronic signatures and transactions. But the act contains some
provisions that opponents
unnecessarily broaden police powers. According to Rediff,
here is how section 66 of the bill defines hacking:
Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to
cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys
or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource
or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any
means, commit[s] hacking.
Thus a simple dispute over nonpayment for services, the kind that is
resolved every day with the exchange of a few lawyerly letters, was
immediately escalated to a felony charge under India's new IT law.
Thanks to Shashvat Sinha for word on this story.