[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [CQ-Contest] Reverse Beacon Network Question

To: "'reflector cq-contest'" <CQ-Contest@Contesting.COM>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Reverse Beacon Network Question
From: "Bob Naumann" <W5OV@W5OV.COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 07:37:35 -0600
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
W3WN said:

Did you know that there is a group of amateurs who are spotting & storing
PSK stations -- and harvesting the calls, and finding their email addresses?
I didn't... 

But if someone is going to take the trouble to do that with PSK, imagine
what they might do with the output from a cluster or an RBN type of spotting
system.  And what will they do with it?  

I work in IT.  Part of my job is to manage my firm's data security. ANYTHING
that potentially can provide clues to one's identity, that can potentially
be used for a security breach or an attempt at identity theft raises my
eyebrows.  So I have to wonder... what will come of all this data once the
contest is over?  

de W5OV:

Since, as a licensed amateur, one legally has to sign one's callsign - which
clearly identifies one's self, I fail to see that there is any additional
identity concern here. You are "broadcasting" your identity intentionally -

I've been licensed since early 1973 and I recall hearing stations on the
air, and looking them up in my 1972 Callbook and finding out their full name
and address and sending them SWL QSL cards. I got a lot of pleasant
responses from hams who I heard, but did not make on-air QSOs with. I was
able to find out their identity through their callsign and using the
low-tech Callbook.

Exactly how is this PSK thing any more troublesome? Is it just because it's
faster and somehow automated? I see no fundamental difference, nor do I
consider any data that might be collected of one's on air activities as
providing any additional identity information that is needed beyond your

As an IT professional, I find that those who complain about this sort of
thing in the business world are usually putting their information at risk
through errors in judgment or by placing too much information on a web page
or on an email reflector/ discussion board, or being fooled by 'phishing'
emails and other such schemes. In the strictly "silicon-based"
communications media, (i.e.; Internet) one does have control of one's
identity. There is no requirement that you identify yourself. If your
identity is revealed it is by choice or by error (perhaps ignorantly). Even
on FaceBook, one has good control over who gets to find out what and it can
be different by how you categorize those who are permitted to look at your
profile and other information.

That all said, ham radio does not have a FaceBook-like ability to limit who
gets to know who we are. We amateur radio operators purposely identify
ourselves publicly (on the air)- have to recognize and face the reality that
there is ZERO expectation of not being identified. The same is true of any
expectation that an email address will remain "secret" or "hidden". As soon
as you post anything on an Internet reflector or website that captures your
email address, it's fair game.

"ANYTHING that potentially can provide clues to one's identity, that can
potentially be used for a security breach or an attempt at identity theft
raises my eyebrows "? 

Using the "provide clues" criteria, one's eyebrows would be permanently
raised higher than those of Joan Rivers

We as hams are REVEALING our identity intentionally whenever we transmit
legally and use our callsign. After doing so, having any expectation that
our identity is not revealed is simply illogical.

The only way to not be identified is to use a false callsign (illegal) or
not get on the air at all. These are the only two choices.

If one is transmitting one's callsign in compliance with the law, there is
no additional clue to be gotten about one's identity - is there?


Bob W5OV

CQ-Contest mailing list

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>