As tech giants shift into censorship overdrive – between Parler’s deplatforming, Twitter purges, and Facebook seemingly cracking down on just about any political discussion ahead of the inauguration – and Sunday’s imagery of anti-government anarchists who showed up to several US capitols on Sunday, those who wish to coordinate peaceful protests (and perhaps not-so peaceful protests) may try to use less-monitored methods to coordinate efforts.
As such, the feds have put would-be criminals on notice.
The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission is out with a Sunday warning reminding “licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services, that the Commission prohibits the use of radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts.“
The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities. The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes, including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes.
Specifically, the Bureau reminds amateur licensees that they are prohibited from transmitting “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” or “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” 1 Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios “in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State or local law.” 2 Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution. – the memo read
The Bureau’s warning comes days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The FBI released a special bulletin last week warning about armed protests at 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration. Considering Sunday’s footage of armed ‘boogaloo boys’ who actually showed up – and who appear to be largely leftist anti-government anarchists – it stands to reason that they, or others, may try to use radio amateur radio frequencies to coordinate rallies and or attacks.