18 October 2005

Radio Regulation and the First Amendment

Here is an extremely interesting article in Forbes that highlights the way in which technology creates new problems for traditional regulation. In this case, the article points out that spectrum regulation is on a collision course with the first amendment due to software radios. At this point, this appears to be a US phenomenon only, but will it spread internationally (if successful) through institutions such as WIPO? Do you think that this an appropriate avenue for challenging a regulator's power? Do you think that governments should have the power to regulate (or coordinate) spectrum in spite of a challenge such as this?

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1 comment:

Carlos said...

Configurable radio technologies (Software Defined Radio and its evolution into cognitive radio) provide capabilites for manufacturers as well as regular citizens to deploy radio systems that can adapt their transmissions to the available bandwidth in an area.
Although this flexibility might provide some benefits in achieving a higher use of available bandwidth, regulators should still be involved in the definition of frequencies and radio capabilities that public safety agencies and maybe other government institutions should use and also to facilitate the creation of new markets that might arise thanks to flexible spectrum management.

It’s worth mentioning that in the FCC report and order FCC 05-57, for certification of software defined radios, the commission substituted the requirement that the manufacturer of a software defined radio supply software source code (defined in a previous report and order) with the requirement that a manufacturer supply a high level operational description of the software that controls the radio’s RF characteristics, and also include a description of the software security measures that such a system has to prevent unauthorized modifications.