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FCC fines clandestine train tracking company

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#2
that was the "look at all this data we can get, we're allowed one, but MOAR IS BETTAR!" part of the meeting that got them slapped down. Interesting idea, someone will buy that info, for some price.
 
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#3
Yeah, but trespassing/installing gear on the right of way without the permission of the railway is a good way to get smacked down. Unlikely they'd (railroads) want another company making money off sniffing their systems like that. I expect they'll have to get creative, keep off the right of way, and follow the FCC rules.

I've seen similar cases where an "IT centric" group/company decides to use licensed spectrum for something, and then just completely ignores the FCC rules. It rarely ends well. Not sure if it's just pure ignorance or willful.
 

DPD1

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#4
I've seen similar cases where an "IT centric" group/company decides to use licensed spectrum for something, and then just completely ignores the FCC rules. It rarely ends well. Not sure if it's just pure ignorance or willful.
I think usually ignorance, but... maybe sometimes sort of an educated gamble. I periodically get contacts from people at companies that are quite reputable, where I'm amazed at their lack of understanding when it comes to RF issues. Some people seem to think you can just basically do whatever you want. It's like... License? For what?

I'm just wondering what the survival rate on these boxes was going to be. Seems like the vandalizing/theft rate alone, would make it a dumb proposition.
 
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#5
A follow up story from AAR find that they were legal radio wise due to a license by rule (Part 15 unlicensed) for some of the equipment, and not all the equipment used by the RR's required a license.
Trespassing is something the RR should go after and has nothing to do with the FCC. So if they set up outside RR ROW like on a bridge they could legally obtain that information. This amounts to nothing more than what happens every time you leave or enter a Walmart or other store with the RFID chips in clothing. I'm not saying it's right but just our society and the lack of privacy. I see encryption coming.

Quote"I'm just wondering what the survival rate on these boxes was going to be. Seems like the vandalizing/theft rate alone, would make it a dumb proposition.

I agree some of our PTC transponders were ripped up, the clowns thinking they were worth something or had copper in them.
 
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#7
A follow up story from AAR find that they were legal radio wise due to a license by rule (Part 15 unlicensed) for some of the equipment, and not all the equipment used by the RR's required a license.
Trespassing is something the RR should go after and has nothing to do with the FCC. So if they set up outside RR ROW like on a bridge they could legally obtain that information. This amounts to nothing more than what happens every time you leave or enter a Walmart or other store with the RFID chips in clothing. I'm not saying it's right but just our society and the lack of privacy. I see encryption coming.

Quote"I'm just wondering what the survival rate on these boxes was going to be. Seems like the vandalizing/theft rate alone, would make it a dumb proposition.

I agree some of our PTC transponders were ripped up, the clowns thinking they were worth something or had copper in them.
You bring up a good point, if the RFID reader is installed on private property (with property owners permission) they could do this. I do know that some 900 MHz RFID readers require FCC licensing and NTIA/DOD clearance because they do not use spread spectrum as required by Part 15. I wonder what the business plan is for having that data? Does tracking a train car from a port to a city yield any valuable information? I can see how a coal train or oil tanker might provide data, but a box car that might or might not be filled with Walmart products? Or is this data so high level that only of interest to economists and Wall Street?
 
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#8
Hmm; this all gives me an idea. Everyone in my little neighborhood has a SUNPASS toll transponder. If I were to set up a reader at the entrance, I could detect who belongs and who does not belong by recording the RFID serial number, then activate a camera for "strangers". A new serial number or vehicle passing without a SUNPASS would get its picture snapped!

Last year the homeowner near the entrance had his Christmas display ripped off. He put up cameras and would probable be OK with a reader at his house.
 
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#9
Except, RFID "readers" and toll pass "readers" aren't receivers. They are TRANSceivers, they must transmit to interrogate and power up the RFID tags or toll passes. So they still fall fully under the category of FCC regulated transmitters, to whatever extent the FCC deals with that.

Amtrak has long had th even longer traditional RR policy about anyone on their right of way, including platforms, terminals, and stations. If you are sightseeing or picnicking or searching for a lost child...TFB, that ain't railroad business, you ain't a paying customer, and the bulls will gladly (and roughly) throw you in a detention cell until someone takes you to the judge. They're not interested in making friends, you've either got business being there, or you're removed from the property.
 
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#10
Except, RFID "readers" and toll pass "readers" aren't receivers. They are TRANSceivers, they must transmit to interrogate and power up the RFID tags or toll passes. So they still fall fully under the category of FCC regulated transmitters, to whatever extent the FCC deals with that.

Amtrak has long had th even longer traditional RR policy about anyone on their right of way, including platforms, terminals, and stations. If you are sightseeing or picnicking or searching for a lost child...TFB, that ain't railroad business, you ain't a paying customer, and the bulls will gladly (and roughly) throw you in a detention cell until someone takes you to the judge. They're not interested in making friends, you've either got business being there, or you're removed from the property.
I am quite familiar with "Readers" as that is what the DOT calls them, at least here in my state. They do emit a carrier to interrogate/wake up the RFID tag so that they can "read" the backscatter from the tag. I did some work with the toll authority. The "readers" generate about a watt or more of power to read only a short distance.

Whatever technology used, either operates under part 15 rules, no license, or Part 90, with license required with coordination of NTIA and DOD. We had some concern by an airforce base here locally when a toll bridge was installed nearby. Had to make some actual measurements with the airforce frequency coordinator preset with his van filled with spectrum analyzers and antennas. The DOT here has these readers located everywhere, not just toll roads. I hope they are licensing all the locations because they are quite prevalent.
 
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#11
Part 15? Oh you mean the famous "Play nicely, boys" Part?
For Part15A, the equipment just has to promise knock to turn on the local Xerox machine or press the elevator call buttons without permission. For Part15B, it just has to promise not to turn on your daughter's hair drier or make the picture on the X-Box roll.
And considering the way the FCC enforces part15....Pffaff.
It that's all those transponders have to meet, then they are unregulated and unlicensed for all practical purposes. And if they are low enough power, that's "no harm no foul" good enough.
But if you put them on RR ROW without permission? Yeah, the FCC will be the least worry.
 
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#14
I can totally see some "railfans" putting up some RFID readers to track the trains. Lol.
Actually, if one is rather clever with SDR, they could aim a Yagi antenna toward the RFID target area of an existing legitimate reader and sniff off enough backscatter to passively decode what the reader is hearing. No FCC license required, simply a vantage point with line of sight to the RFID target.
 
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