back to article Ofcom prepares to open up on emissions

Ofcom is preparing to open up its radio licence database, so anyone who wants to keep their transmissions secret needs to let the regulator know before 12 November. The change comes because radio waves are now considered "emissions", and "emissions" come under the remit of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). Ofcom …


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  1. Jon Press

    As Flanders and Swann might have pointed out...

    ... it's not irreverence it's a hippopotamus.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly surprising

    with regard to mobile-phone companies.

    The amount of antennas disguised as trees and telephone-line poles is getting ridiculous.

    Locally there is one that looks like a pine tree, and another that is a telephone line pole...complete with the little "steps" starting halfway up. Several that look like street lights. Funnily enough the telephone pole one is in a housing estate that fought-off planning permission for another while back....

  3. David 45

    Database state?

    I'm not sure that this is a wise move. Could open the way to jamming of critical frequencies by ne'er-do-wells, such as would-be terrorists. I can't see why ALL transmissions should be included in a blanket database. Bound to to be some that shouldn't be disclosed to the public for security reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Head meet desk..

      ..did you read any of the fucking article? Seriously, even a teeny weeny bit? By that I mean the article (the bit's with lots of things called WORDS), or did you just read the subheading?

      Clearly the schools are on holiday and the brain washed kids on on the forums again.

    2. PerfectBlue


      Oh come on, jamming is probably the silliest thing that a terrorist could do.

      You jam a signal either by broadcasting interference or by broadcasting a more powerful signal over the top. Both of these not only give away the fact that you're up to something, but they also give away your location (The military could triangulate your signal in minutes then drop a couple of Apache attack helicopters on your head).

      Plus, it's not all that easy to do. Especially not with a cell based system like cellphones use (It's why they are called cellphones, their masts form a cellar structure). If they jam one antennae the other local ones take over. You'd have to jam multiple masts to do any real damage.

    3. Thomas 18

      Thats why you can apply for an exemption

      As either National Security, Public Safety and Defence

  4. Gnomalarta

    It's A Start

    What about all the unlicensed emitters such as PLT devices?

  5. Mage Silver badge


    And a loop Aerial.

    The Terrorists, Foreign governments and sundry Anoraked folk likely know the frequencies and locations of the ones that they are interested in.

    It's the planners, competitors and Public that don't know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A title is required...

      Generally, the competitiors share information, and generally have deals these days to share sites to cut down on costs. And they're all merging anyway, so to think they don't know where each others' sites are is a blinkered opinion...

      The costs involved in installation and decomission means that they wouldn't not go to the planners with each and every site application. As soon as they do that it means it has to be made public, and all planning notifications are made available to the public, and notices put up around where the proposed structure is to go in public. Local people are also sent a letter advising them of the planning application. It's all public information, given to the public most affected, and if they can't be bothered to do anything when they have the ability, and don't do anything about it until they see the structure go up, whose fault is that?

      I've been to a planning meeting where a bloke complained about a structure going up on a rooftop, with GRP-shrouding to help it blend into the building and not be an eye-sore, a requirement of the Local Planning Authority. (And that is what it is - something to help the view of the installation blend into the local surroundings, and normally under the instruction from the LPA. It is not something to attempt to try and hide the knowledge of a site from the local populace. What would be the point in spending *A LOT* of money on GRP shrouding to hide something from public view when it then has to be made public to all and sundry, with all details of which equipment is on there, and how much non-ionising raditaion it's kicking out.) In the next breath he complained that his local concillor hadn't turned up and tried to ring him, only then to complain that he had no coverage on his phone. Muppet.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    nice big highlight!

    so....the interesting transmitters and links will be clearly labelled as 'national security' and such?

    great - that'll help the nasty people to easily target THOSE important things rather than being nicely mixed up and hidden amongst all the other plethora of dishes and towers.

    who though this up?

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. JaitcH

    British 'secrecy' is nuts

    Two countries are fine example of disclosure of technical data - Canada and the USA.

    Canada is closest to the UK, culturally and politically, so best demonstrates that there is little to be feared from disclosure. Certain police.governmental frequencies/uses are not disclosed but these are soon exposed by those who have the patience, expertise and equipment.

    Cell companies expecting privacy lack brains - not only does each company having vehicles roaming around measuring signal strengths or placing test calls on their own and competitors networks but there are many commercial direction finding equipments available for determining all manner of transmission sources - either infrequent or continuous.

    What should be of interest to proud British citizens is just what the hell the US National Security Agency is doing at Menwith Hill near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Talk about subservience and loss of pride - this is the sort of thing that needs a light shining on it - along with GCHQ.

    And don't overlook the BBC - they are also involved in government activity that needs to see the light of day.

    What is so pervasive about British 'secrets' id that the hidden legions of civil servants always presume their activities is beyond the great unwashed citizenry who have meekly complied.

    The US is even more open and such 'secrets' they have are usually quickly exposed which can only be good ... for the tax-paying public.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Black Helicopters

      So am I allowed to ask the septics...

      what goes on at Menwith Hill?

      Or does it have to come from one of their own? How do WE find out? Is it just a forward listening base for our allies? NSA presumably? CIA?

      I'm just asking. I've driven past that place a few times, and almost felt naughty just glancing at the place through the flashing hedgerows and the "Don't look at us!" signs. Stop sniggering at the back!

      Hope they can't ban memories, or I'm fscked.

      You ain't sin me, roight?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought...

    that all this stuff had been running on unleaded petrol for a very long time now

  10. PerfectBlue

    Who jams these days?

    If a terrorist wanted to do damage they wouldn't jam a mast, they'd blow it up. Or cut the power lines.

    What the companies are really afraid of it the rest of us knowing just how many masts there are around the place.

    1. JaitcH

      Who jams these days? I do, for one

      When I visited ShenZhen, China's electronics workshop in GuangDong Province I picked up a cell phone/GPS jammer that is disguised in a cell phone case and aa higher powered one I use on my motorcycle and SUV.

      Never has eating in restaurants and riding on public transport been so peaceful, as well as the odd occasion I take in a movie. No more "I'm passing the (whatever)" or "How's the weather" yelled by some idiot who hasn't a clue how to use a volume control or modulate their voice (talking quieter usually causes the other party to speak louder.

      The larger unit has settings to force handsets into vibrate/ringer off, as well as wideband jamming with frequency selection. Best $168 I have spent for a long time.

  11. Richard Porter

    So if...

    you can see a great big mast sticking out of the ground, and it's not on the database, then it must be a good one to attack. Shome shecurity!

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