Interesting legal fight potentially over ham licenses?

RayRay27

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Inukshuk

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I call BS on that blog. If it was true, why not cite the section of the licensing requirement that "In order to receive a ham radio license from the FCC, would-be operators are forced to give up their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable warrantless searches. "

Read the small print and let me know.
 

DaveInDenver

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If I understand correctly section 208 of the 1934 Communications Act is where the FCC enforcement bureau derives their authority, which is delegated in CFR Title 47, Part 0, Subpart B, specifically 0.311 and 0.314. That would be I guess where they claim general authority for all things they regulate.

We as hams under 97.103 are required to allow inspection of our station, logs and records at the request of the FCC. You'd need a lawyer to know if that means immediately on demand (it just says "upon request") without a warrant but I didn't think so.

I understood the FCC had to give you written notice of a complaint and opportunity to respond and/or correct as the first step in any enforcement. But perhaps serving the notice is akin to serving a warrant? Can't imagine that since I think those enforcement notices are mailed to you and a judge or police officer are not involved. Wouldn't that be like a traffic citation, failure to respond might result in a warrant?
 
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J1000

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According to this FCC.gov FAQ they can show up and demand entry any time without notice. What about if we keep our radio gear in our vehicle only are they only allowed to inspect the vehicle or could they enter your house too?

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/guides/inspection-fact-sheet

Other sources say that even a garage door opener or wireless phone, WiFi router etc allow the FCC to so this. Has it ever happened, though?
 

DaveInDenver

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According to this FCC.gov FAQ they can show up and demand entry any time without notice. What about if we keep our radio gear in our vehicle only are they only allowed to inspect the vehicle or could they enter your house too?

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/guides/inspection-fact-sheet

Other sources say that even a garage door opener or wireless phone, WiFi router etc allow the FCC to so this. Has it ever happened, though?
Interesting FAQ. It does sound like the blog Ray links isn't completely wrong.

The FCC publishes their actions.

https://www.fcc.gov/eb-enf-act

You'd have to dig through things tagged with "Notice of Apparent Liability" (or Order, Forfeiture, Violation) or "Order" or "Consent Decree" to find the actions relevant to direct enforcement.

From what I know enforcement almost always starts with a "Letter of Inquiry" following a complaint being filed. The FCC doesn't have the field staff to just randomly poke at licensees so someone had to have tipped them to a problem.
 
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