Any reception of unencrypted radio communications not on a ‘broadcast band’ is illegal. Criminalises plane-spotters with their scanner. Far too wide ranging.

Why is this idea important?

Comment below from Amicus on The Great Repeal Bill :-

Actually the entirety of 5(b), because 5(b)(ii) is an equal problem. Criminalises listening to any wireless transmission with intent to hear what’s being broadcast unless an intended recipient, or disclosing what they were told by third parties who heard a broadcast that they were not intended recipients. Unreasonable in this day and age. Plane spotters, wireless afficionados, broadcasts from ships and overseas, ham radio, etc. “Intent to receive contents…” can be proven by simply listening to a radio on a variety of channels. There is no requirement of reasonableness. In most other areas of privacy the legal line is that a person who puts a matter (or a communication) into the public arena is implicitly agreeing it is public. Anyone with broadcast capability is either a hobbyist, a company or an official body having the capability to keep their communications private if they so wish, or else evidently doesn’t care.

Trivial example. A laptop or mobile phone user visits a wireless point at a cafe or other location. He/she requests the device to locate suitable wireless connections to identify 1) if there is indeed a wireless connection available or 2) to connect to the cafe’s stated network. The device (as normal for wifi) lists all 6 networks it can identify as broadcasting in the area, including a fellow cafe-user’s mobile phone that’s bluetooth-connected and a named wifi network from an office next door, and asks which one the user wishes to connect to. The messages sent by these networks are legally a “message” (defined as: “the making of any signal or the sending or conveying of any… information”), so just by checking or attempting to identify the wifi connection the user has already breached 5(b)(i).

Solution: rewrite this section to specify a much narrower list of broadcast sources or wavebands, and to equipment designed for (or intended for use in) unauthorised intercepting or descrambling mobile phone, portable phone, wireless internet, bluetooth, and other domestic wireless communications, with an exclusion for communications intended to be received by any receiving device (eg loction broadcasts, device connection request signals, signals picked up by wireless equipment which are not stored or put into human-readable form, etc).

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