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The myth of a "FCC snitch"

May 28, 2014 06:59PM
For the past several years there has been a repeated hue and cry about the existence of a FCC snitch - that is, someone who is giving the FCC information about pirate Operators' identitys and locations. Fingers have been pointed, names have been named, and reputations have been sullied.

I don't buy any of it, and with good reason

Why not? Because the FCC has made it abundantly clear in the past that they have things firmly under control, that's why.

Some of you may be too new to the Free Radio Scene to remember when a fairly prominent radio person suggested setting up a snitch service to "help the FCC clean up the airwaves." This person was in a position to do just that; he was the publisher of a nationally circulated hobby magazine and among his subscribers were some of the top amateur operators with good equipment and rotatable antenna arrays.

Who was this person? You've probably heard of him: Bob Grove, owner of Grove Enterprises and publisher of Monitoring Times. He made the suggestion in MT in the early to mid 80s - I'll hazard a guess and say early 1984.

And what happened? As those who remember the incident probably recall, the first thing that happened was that all the pirate enthusiasts cancelled their subscriptions and MT wound up with a lot of bad publicity.

What most people do not know is that a couple of FCC employees made a trip to Brasstown, NC, and took Bob out to lunch - on our nickel of course. I don't know where they went (I've never been to Brasstown and have no idea what's available), but wherever they went they had a little discussion about Bob's suggestion.

The upshot was that the FCC guys told Bob to continue selling equipment and publishing the magazine, but forget about the snitch service. They made it clear that they did not want or need any assistance with enforcement!

Now think about it for a moment: A prominent publisher was told to "forget about it", yet today Commander Bunny is accused of feeding them information? The concept boggles the mind!

Never mind that there has never been one single credible shred of evidence that a snitch was involved with the FCC visit to The Crystal Ship. In fact, it's pretty obvious that John Poet led them right to his door and put out the welcome mat! But some people operate under the illusion that if they repeat something loudy enough and for long enough period of time noone will doubt it. That's the basis of propaganda and it does work in some cases, but rational people want some facts that support the statements being made.

When Radio Ronin SW was visited some time later, the same few voices were quickly heard: Bet there was a snitch. The Op had to post that No, there wasn't a snitch involved, just to quiet the chorus.

There was a thread on another pirate site in which one post revealed the current state of the FCC monitoring service. In effect they have a gigantic SDR with unlimited storage capability. Worse, it's integrated with GPS so they can locate the source of any signal that isn't supposed to be there.

What use would they have for a snitch?

All it takes is for someone to be on the air often enough and long enough to attract the attention of the FCC. If you become a big enough pain in their backside, they'll come to your door and let you know that the game is over.

No snitches necessary.

The fact remains that John Poet got off light: He only got a NoUO and not a NAL. A Notice of Unauthorized Operation is basically a slap on the wrist: We know who you are, we know where you are, and we know what you're doing - now KNOCK IT OFF!, whereas a Notice of Apparent Liability means the loss of your equipment and a financial forfeiture as well.
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The myth of a "FCC snitch"

jtart 966 May 28, 2014 06:59PM

Re: The myth of a "FCC snitch"

Radio Animal 528 May 31, 2014 08:04AM

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Ragnar 622 June 02, 2014 12:17PM

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ff 660 June 02, 2014 02:20PM

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clobdell 579 June 06, 2014 03:28PM

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L Cee 463 June 10, 2014 11:47PM

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syfr 651 July 06, 2014 09:43AM

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cpadxer 477 August 22, 2014 09:31AM

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