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Old 07-28-2017, 11:48 PM
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Default Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants “the Felony Question”

Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants

A revised FCC Form 605 — Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services — going into effect in September will ask all applicants to indicate if they have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony.

A yes answer will place you application in a pending review file, requiring a reason it would be in the public interest to grant, modify, or renew the license . More info link. Posted without commentary.
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by luckygecko View Post
Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants

A revised FCC Form 605 — Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services — going into effect in September will ask all applicants to indicate if they have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony.

A yes answer will place you application in a pending review file, requiring a reason it would be in the public interest to grant, modify, or renew the license . More info link. Posted without commentary.
I thought when you get a FCC License they do a background check since they ask for SSN#?
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Old 07-29-2017, 3:20 AM
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I thought when you get a FCC License they do a background check since they ask for SSN#?
I think the reason for the SSN was to get an FRN, the reason for an FRN to see if you owed any money to the government for child support.
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Old 07-29-2017, 7:35 AM
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Reuters estimates there are 20 million felons in the United States,as for hams, in the US, there are about 800,000 Amateur Radio Operators. There is bound to be some overlap if placed on a Venn diagram. The FCC is creating more regulatory burden on itself with out any show of gain toward the public or its mission. Being a felon should not keep someone from community service via this unique, low risk opportunity, for there should be encouragement for it, as ongoing voluntary restitution.

If we can send prisoners to fight fires, this why not this::: Wicker said. "Mississippians learned firsthand after Hurricane Katrina how Amateur Radio operators can provide a resilient, distributed network to first responders and disaster relief organizations when other communications tools fail."

Why not allow FREE men and woman to continue to help in other situations? Think goodness we have he ARRL fighting for this important issue.

Wait a min, their top project is allowing antennas in HoAs.........got it. mmmmm, okay.
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Old 07-29-2017, 8:47 AM
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This is not an FCC initiative. If you want to gripe at somebody, look to Congress and the White House. They give the FCC their marching orders via legislation and/or executive orders.
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Old 07-29-2017, 10:14 AM
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Regardless of who's initiative it is, ARRL is seeming unwilling to lobby on the issue.

Thus, how about we talk about the effects on the ham radio community. I know hams that will be hurt by this action, and by all appearances, they are productive members of society and the ham community. This action will remove years of experience from the ham radio community, retro-arbitrarily.

If a radio operator is an issue, there are already methods in place to deal with it. Isolating members of the community because of some past misdeed is counter productive in both manpower lost for disaster preparedness, the spirit of nature of amateur radio in regards to the 1934 communications act, and lost manpower that could be better used for direct enforcement issues.
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Old 07-29-2017, 2:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckygecko View Post
Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants

A revised FCC Form 605 — Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services — going into effect in September will ask all applicants to indicate if they have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony.

A yes answer will place you application in a pending review file, requiring a reason it would be in the public interest to grant, modify, or renew the license . More info link. Posted without commentary.
This will also appear on the NCVEC Form 605, used by all 14 of the VEC administering amateur radio license exams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckygecko View Post
Regardless of who's initiative it is, ARRL is seeming unwilling to lobby on the issue.

Thus, how about we talk about the effects on the ham radio community. I know hams that will be hurt by this action, and by all appearances, they are productive members of society and the ham community. This action will remove years of experience from the ham radio community, retro-arbitrarily.

If a radio operator is an issue, there are already methods in place to deal with it. Isolating members of the community because of some past misdeed is counter productive in both manpower lost for disaster preparedness, the spirit of nature of amateur radio in regards to the 1934 communications act, and lost manpower that could be better used for direct enforcement issues.
There is not going to be a blanket denial of a license to anyone who answers "Yes" on the question. I would hope the FCC would review each case thoroughly and subjectively before making a decision.

I don't see how the FCC can make this information public record as most states keep criminal record information unavailable to the general public. Making this part of the public record opens up the possibility of "witch hunts" within the ranks of amateur radio.
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Old 07-29-2017, 3:25 PM
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Originally Posted by k6cpo View Post
...

There is not going to be a blanket denial of a license to anyone who answers "Yes" on the question. I would hope the FCC would review each case thoroughly and subjectively before making a decision.
...
I would hope also, but a through review of each one would make the administrative issue have a cost. "Pending file for review" category can mean many things. To give each application 'due process' is going to be a financial burden on the FCC. What is a reasonable amount of processing time? This is going to be left up to the courts. It would not be unheard of to 'table' these application until funding is available to process them. Since HA/HV licences no longer generate revenue, it will be interesting to see how long the FCC will take.

Like other cases, those referred to hearing, who can afford to go to DC to protect their license?
I don't see a positive outcome from this. Holding an archaic moral broadcaster standard to a hobby, when there are other laws in place to protect the public interest, holds no value to me.

We allow former felons many privileges, because it integrates them into, and makes them more productive members of society.
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:16 AM
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Many legit EMCOMM operations are requiring background checks on volunteers following DHS and FEMA guidelines, then issuing photo IDs.

If the concern that motivated this inquiry into the criminal history of ham license applicants was connected to emergency communications, then it is a solution looking for a problem.
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:57 PM
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While the inclusion of specific felony related questions on forms is new, the general issues driving those inclusions are not new.

For more than 20 years there have been efforts to exclude some felons from having a ham license. As far as I can tell from an external view there has not been a general exclusion of felons, but rather it has proceeded case by case.

In the mid 1980's the FCC started looking at general character indicators, including crimes unrelated to radio partitions. This was all formalized, I think, in a 1990 policy statement. Initially this was applied to broadcasters, but a few years later was applied to Part 97 service also.

Unless someone could make the FCC stop considering felony convictions as part of general character (not necessarily a bad policy, when applied with consideration) such questions on forms were just a matter of time.

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Old 07-30-2017, 1:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Token View Post
While the inclusion of specific felony related questions on forms is new, the general issues driving those inclusions are not new.

For more than 20 years there have been efforts to exclude some felons from having a ham license. As far as I can tell from an external view there has not been a general exclusion of felons, but rather it has proceeded case by case.

In the mid 1980's the FCC started looking at general character indicators, including crimes unrelated to radio partitions. This was all formalized, I think, in a 1990 policy statement. Initially this was applied to broadcasters, but a few years later was applied to Part 97 service also.

Unless someone could make the FCC stop considering felony convictions as part of general character (not necessarily a bad policy, when applied with consideration) such questions on forms were just a matter of time.

T!
It's also being driven by statutes enacted as part of the Communications Act of 1934.
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Old 07-30-2017, 7:17 PM
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These are the actions of a corrupt and tyrannical government NOT a CONSTITUTIONAL one

And by standing by and doing NOTHING about this, you are in fact supporting treason
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:05 PM
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This is not an FCC initiative. If you want to gripe at somebody, look to Congress and the White House. They give the FCC their marching orders via legislation and/or executive orders.
From what I read, it was supposed to be on the 605 for a few years now. The FCC just forgot about putting it on there.

And I also read on another forum (for what it's worth) the FCC will also probably forget to follow up and make sure you didn't inadvertently check the incorrect box. They are too understaffed to remember to put the question on there, and they are too understaffed to check and make sure you answered correctly.

Last edited by Golay; 07-30-2017 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:25 PM
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From what I read, it was supposed to be on the 605 for a few years now. The FCC just forgot about putting it on there.

And I also read on another forum (for what it's worth) the FCC will also probably forget to follow up and make sure you didn't inadvertently check the incorrect box. They are too understaffed to remember to put the question on there, and they are too understaffed to check and make sure you answered correctly.
ULS is mostly automated when it comes to actions, such as renewals. It would not be hard at all to put an application into 'pending review.' with a 'yes' answer. It would be more likely that they forget to follow up, would this happen. They could chose to do like the ATF, and not fund the rights restored department at all. Pending review, could mean a very long drawn-out limbo.
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Old 07-31-2017, 3:17 AM
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I have been a W5YI and ARRL VE for a few years. What concerns me is what do I tell someone who might say, yeah I had a felony, what should I mark down on this form, or "hey I had a felony once" and so should I bother even taking this class or exam. The two groups I work with are involved not only in giving VE exams, but also doing some weekend Tech and General Classes here in Los Angeles area.
I really don't want to want to be involved in this type of questioning. Most of these people we see once or twice and that's it. Any problems they may have with the law is none of my business. I am a retired physician and have been a ham since 1963. I don't work for the police, FBI, or government.
I have been a member of our local Rotary Club for 20+ years. We used to sponsor a Japanese student exchange program until a few years ago when the feds came down to Rotary International and wanted us personally to start doing criminal background checks on families who were going to host a student (all host families were local high school students here in area with their parents). One Rotary official even asked us to do spot checks at 1 or 2 AM in the morning to comply with some of the requirements. Well, there went that exchange program. None of our members would get involved with that.
Maybe I'm making too much of this, but I hope the FCC does not expect us in any way to be responsible for what applicants state on their 605 forms. We check their driver's license to make sure they are who they say they are (that's it) and give them the exam. Already, some of my VE colleagues are a bit concerned where this could lead. Maybe I am over-reacting. Let's see where this goes.
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Old 07-31-2017, 8:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckygecko View Post
Pending review, could mean a very long drawn-out limbo.
I am aware of a situation where an amateur radio operator applied for a license renewal in 2010 about two months before the expiration date. That application was "Offlined for Alert List Review" and then "Offlined for Enforcement Bureau Action" four days later. There has been no action taken on the renewal since then, though the license appears in the FCC ULS as "Active" with a 2010 expiration date. Still in limbo after seven years.
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Old 07-31-2017, 8:58 AM
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I don't see how the FCC can make this information public record as most states keep criminal record information unavailable to the general public. Making this part of the public record opens up the possibility of "witch hunts" within the ranks of amateur radio.
That is not exactly the case.

In a lot of States you can up anyone and see their convictions for traffic and criminal violations via that State's court case internet site. Here is MO's site

www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome.do
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Old 07-31-2017, 9:30 AM
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This will also appear on the NCVEC Form 605, used by all 14 of the VEC administering amateur I don't see how the FCC can make this information public record as most states keep criminal record information unavailable to the general public. Making this part of the public record opens up the possibility of "witch hunts" within the ranks of amateur radio.
Criminal history information is sort of private. It depends on your source. Court records are public. That's frequently where the media gets its information. That's where all the information ends up.

Even Georgia has a bit of a loophole. I can request a felony conviction record of anyone I wish. I must supply name, race, sex and date of birth then pay a fee. I does not contain any felony arrest information (because a person could be arrested and not convicted) and no misdemeanor information of any kind.

In Georgia, improper release of criminal history information can be worth up to 15 years and/or $50,000 fine. They seem to take it serious although I've never seen anyone ever get that kind of punishment.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:38 AM
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Criminal convictions are generally matters of public record, as they are legitimate matters of public concern. Proceedings leading up to such convictions can be private for various reasons, all spelled out in pertinent statutes.

As has been pointed out a few times already, this is really not a new idea. It is a matter of the FCC being directed to catch up with its enabling legislation, as amended. Nobody is committing "treason" or creating a "police state" by doing this.

As for the concerns of VEs, I think they are overblown. Private individuals have had to process paperwork with that question on it for decades (most often on employment applications) and there is no issue with confidentiality or liability.
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Old 07-31-2017, 3:13 PM
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The way I read the change is that if someone answers "yes" on that question, the VE team will still administer the examination. If they pass, then it's the responsibility of the examinee to follow up with the FCC. If they fail to do so, the license will not be granted. If they do, then the FCC makes the decision to grant the license or not.
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