Gloria, Bernadette: Certain Regulated ICT Equipments

INTRODUCTION

The significant characteristics of the Information and Communication Technology to access, procure, and apply information and propagate the same to the public for its respective purposes rapidly transform social, economic, cultural and political interactions all over the world. Hence, it enhances the quality of life.

ICT has presented opportunities to users to take advantage of the knowledge and information that surrounds them, which made ICT as a commodity of value in their own right in the networked economy. ICT has been identified by many as an element in developing other countries by making global markets more accessible to them.

Due to the familiarity of different ICT devices and its uses and the availability in the market, considerable number of individuals and/or entities has in their possession certain ICT equipments, either for personal or profitable purposes; hence, it brought certain (legal) issues due to its abuse effect in
communication.

Countries around the world including the Philippines have drafted their own policies or laws on what ICT equipments will be regulated and how it will be regulated.

Acquaintance to certain regulated ICT equipments by the National Telecommunications Commission that are being sold and being possession by unauthorized individuals, and the social implications of its usage, are the motives of this descriptive research.

The research has attempted to find how its conveyance can be regulated and under what circumstances can these devices be only used.

The purview of this research included the background information of each device, purpose, and legality, governing laws or the actions taken to issues related to such devices.

I. WHAT IS AN ICT?

“Information and Communication Technologies are usually understood to include computers, the rapidly improving communications technologies, including radio, television and mobile telephony, as well as networking and electronic data processing capacities, and the software for applications of these new technologies and capacities. Their defining characteristics the capacity to harness, access and apply information and diffuse knowledge at electronic speed to all types of human activity, thereby giving rise to contemporary knowledge – based economies and societies.” [1]

Information and Communication Technology or ICT allows users to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to various and developing technologies.

ICT devices can be used to find, explore, analyze, exchange and present information without discrimination. Furthermore it gives users quick access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures.

A. History

History has shown that information and communication dates back to the earliest days when people communicate with other communities. Earliest forms or methodologies of communications were made to represent information.

As communities grew, and interactions among people became more complex, so did the information requirements. Hence, to meet such demands, people developed and applied new technologies.

HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION
3500 BC – 2900 BC The Phoenicians developed an alphabet.
The Sumerians developed cuneiform writing – pictographs of accounts written on clay tablets.
The Egyptians developed hieroglyphic writing.
1775 BC Greeks used a phonetic alphabet written from left to right.
1400 BC Oldest record of writing in China on bones
1270 BC The first encyclopedia is written in Syria.
900 BC The very first postal service – for government use in China.
776 BC First recorded use of homing pigeons used to send message – the winner of the Olympic Games to the Athenians.
530 BC The Greeks start the very first library.
200 BC – 100 BC Human messengers on foot or horseback common in Egypt and China with messenger relay stations built.
Sometimes fire messages used from relay station to station instead of humans.
14 Romans establish postal services.
1450 Newspapers appear in Europe.
1455 Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with metal movable type.
1650 First daily newspaper – Leipzig
1714 Englishmen, Henry Mill receives the first patent for a typewriter.
1793 Claude Chappe invents the first long-distance semaphore (visual or optical) telegraph line.
1831 Joseph Henry invents the first electric telegraph.
1835 Samuel Morse invents Morse Code.
1843 Alexander Bain patents the first fax machine.
1889 Almon Strowger patents the direct dial telephone or automatic telephone exchange.
1898 First telephone answering machines.
1902 Gugliemo Marconi transmits radio signals from Cornwall to Newfoundland – the first radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean.
1916 First radios with tuners – different stations.
1925 John Lagie Baird transmits the first experimental television signal.
1927 NBC starts two radio networks.
CBS founded.
First television broadcasts in England.
Warner Brothers releases “The Jazz Singer” the first successful talking motion picture.
1944 Computers like Harvard’s Mark I put into public service – government owned – the age of Information Science begins.
1951 Computers are first sold commercially.
1969 ARPANET – the first internet started.
1972 HBO invents pay – TV service for cable.
1979 First Cellular phone communication network started in Japan.
1980 Sony Walkman invented.
1994 American government releases control of Internet and WWW is born – making communication at light speed.

B. Purpose

The growth of ICT has made an implication in transforming the social, economic, cultural and political interactions all over the world. With the aid of Information Technology or IT, it enables people to get constant information that is up to the minute and up to date.

It has earlier been stated that Information and Communication Technology or ICT allows users to find, explore, analyze, exchange and access information to/from wide range of people, communities and cultures.

The importance of the development of ICT tools for Information and Communication have become an integral part of one’s culture and plays an essential role in an individual’s day to day activities.

Moreover, the wide spread of ICTs have sped up the process of globalization. “…ICT also provide the means for enhancing interaction between governments and their citizens, and can foster transparency and accountability of governance. National development frameworks are increasingly integrating components to enhance ICT access and use, legislative and regulatory aspects of ICT, and public-private partnerships for ICT.” [2]

C. Drawback

Though information and communication technology may have made communication quicker, easier and more convenient, it has also bought along several issues. From cell phone signal interceptions toe-mail hacking. Furthermore, despite the international spread of ICTs, the economic impacts have been geographically uneven due to the difference between those countries which have resources and capabilities to access information through ICT and those lacking capabilities.

II. CERTAIN KINDS OF REGULATED ICT DEVICES

A. Signal Jammer

“A signal jammer or jamming transmitter is a small, low-powered transmitter that interferes with the receiver in an area around the jammer.”[3]

In other words it is a device that blocks or disrupts signal and effective around the area it reaches. The person who lost the signal within the range where the jammer is located will have no way of identifying who or what caused the blockage of the signal, because his communication device (mostly mobile phones) only indicates poor transmission potency.

History

“During World War II (WWII) ground radio operators would attempt to mislead pilots by false instructions in their own language, in what was more precisely a spoofing attack than jamming. Radio Jamming is also important to disrupt use of radar used to guide enemy’s missiles or aircraft. Modern secure communication techniques use such methods as spread spectrum modulation to resist the deleterious effects of jamming.

Jamming of foreign radio broadcast stations has often been used in wartime (and during periods of tense international relations) to prevent or deter citizens from listening to broadcasts from enemy’s countries. However, such jamming is usually of limited effectiveness because the affected stations usually change frequencies, put on additional frequencies and/or increase transmission power.

Jamming has also occasionally been used by the Governments of Germany (during WWII), Israel, Cuba, Iraq, Iran (Iraq and Iran War,1980-1988), China, North and South Korea and several Latin American Countries, as by Ireland against pirate radio stations such as Radio Nova.

The United Kingdom government used two coordinated, separately located transmitters to jam the offshore radio ship, Radio North Sea International off the coast of Britain in 1970.” [4]

Purpose

Cell phone jamming devices were originally developed for law enforcement and the military to interrupt communications by criminals and terrorists.

It also prevents terrorist attacks by disrupting radio equipments that might trigger for improvised explosive contrivances.

Corporations also use jammers to stop corporate espionage by blocking voice transmission and photo transmission from camera phones.

In some cases, signal blocking device issued in establishments such as theaters, restaurants, and some offices to prevent employees from using mobile phones while working.

However, this disruption also affects the people within its range. The phone will simply indicate poor reception strengths, without knowing a jammer was the reason.

These devices come in convenient sizes which make it impossible to be physically detected and because of its meaning and accessibility to market it has grown popular among private individuals. While some people practice cell phone etiquette, many others noisily discuss their private, professional or mundane business in public areas, forcing everyone to listen and aggravating such listeners with their non-stop chattering. This has caused some people to take matters into their own hands. It seems a tidy solution; however, jammers are illegal in most countries – except to military, law enforcement and certain government agencies.

In some countries not only the willful and malicious use of such device is prohibited, but also the manufacture, importation, sale, or offer for sale, such as advertising it to the public is prohibited.

Legality

“It is stated in the pop.mail.yahoo.com that in the US and Europe, civilians are barred from selling and buying signal jammers. Here in the Philippines – no less than the NTC deputy commissioner has said that except for the military, anyone importing, selling or using jammers will face charges.

In other words, no Filipinos – except Filipino soldiers are allowed to import, sell or buy signal jammers. So it’s very clear that it’s only the military and no other is given the authority to make full use of the jamming device.” [5]

The use of this device has been causing apprehension in the Philippines because it could deliberately be used to influence the results of the upcoming first automated election by disabling the signals coming from the Precint Count Optical Scan, popularly known as PCOS machine.

Actions taken for its regulation

The fear of use of use of such device has cause apprehension in the Philippines for the reason that it might affect the performance by disabling the signals coming from the Precint Count Optical Scan, more popularly known as PCOS machine in the first automated election on May, 2010.

This is the reason why the local government agencies are on the close watch of this matter, especially it was revealed how literally easy it is to buy it from electronic stores in Sta.Cruz in Raon.

“COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez has said that the poll body has received reports that some 5,000 signal jammers had been sneaked into the country. This means these gadgets were bought outside and shipped to the Philippines through the back door. They bypassed proper channels. We are sure it’s not the military’s importation because if it’s theirs, the goods will pass proper channels-not through illegal entry points. Besides, why would they resort to an anomalous transaction when they’re clothe with full authority.” [6]

“People proven to be behind the shipment of signal jammers meant to sabotage the automated elections may face an election offense.

“Under the law, it can be considered as an election offense,” said Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairman Jose Melo. Although the COMELEC has not yet verified reports that 5,000 units of cell phone jammers were shipped into the country specifically for the elections, Melo assured that “it will not affect the elections.”

xxx “At least even it will be jammed, there is already evidence whatever the output of the machine is. It’s (jammers) not worth it. It’s too expensive,” said Melo.

xxx Jimenez said the poll body could not help but be suspicious because of the large quantity being shipped into the country. “If they cover the whole country that will be more expensive than or just as expensive as holding elections…We should not be bothered by this. It will be expensive for these people to go into this jamming system,” added Melo.” [7]

“Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales earlier in the day said he has already assembled a team to coordinate with the COMELEC and the NTC with regards to the reported shipment of jammers. The Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines – the technology that would be used in the upcoming elections – have already been having difficulties transmitting the needed data even without the signal jammers. COMELEC, however, said it could always use satellite transmission or Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) for areas which have no available cellular signal. It earlier said that they have 5,000 BGANs at hand, with more on the way. – KBK,GMANews.TV” [8]

The National Telecommunications Commission has released a Memorandum Order regarding the prohibition of cellular phone jamming devices:

MEMORANDUM ORDER No. 001-02-2010
SUBJECT: PROHIBITION OF CELLULAR PHONE JAMMING DEVICES

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 7925 (Public Telecommunications Policy Act), Executive Order No. 546 series of 1979, Act 3846, as amended (Radio Control Law), and Memorandum Circular No. 9-8-91 entitled “Guidelines in the Sale, Purchase and Importation of Various Radio Communications Equipment Intended for Use in Private and Government-Owned Radio Communications Network, and in order to minimize if not prevent harmful interference to the GSM Networks and maximize and promote the efficient use of radio frequency spectrum, the National Telecommunications Commission (the Commission, for brevity) hereby reiterates the following rules:

  1. The sale, purchase, importation, possession or use of GSM jamming devices shall be prohibited. Cellular phone jamming devices are radio instruments used to prevent cellular or mobile phones from receiving signals from or transmitting signals to base stations.
  2. Any person, natural or juridical, selling, purchasing, importing, possessing or using cellular phone jamming devices shall be dealt with in accordance with law.
  3. Exemption may be granted to any persons on a case-by-case basis and on meritorious reasons and subject to strict conditions to prevent the use of such devices outside the area to be protected.
  4. Any circular, order, memoranda or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are deemed repealed or amended accordingly.
  5. This Order shall take effect immediately after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and three (3) certified true copies are furnished the UP Law Center.

Quezon City, Philippines [9]

B. Transmitters

“A transmitter (sometimes abbreviated XMTR) is an electronic device which with the aid of an antenna propagates an electromagnetic signal such as radio, television or other communications.

A transmitter usually has the power supply, an oscillator, a modulator, and amplifies for audio frequency (AF) and radio frequency (RF). The modulator is the device which piggybacks (or modulates) the signal information onto the carrier frequency, which is then broadcast.

Sometimes a device (for example, a cell phone) contains both a transmitter and a radio receiver, with the combined unit referred to as a transceiver…

More generally and in communications and information processing, a “transmitter” is any object (source) which sends information to an observer (receiver). When used in this more general sense, vocal cords may also be considered an example of a “transmitter.”

In an industrial process control a “transmitter” is any device which converts measurements from a sensor into a signal to be received, usually sent via wires, by some display or control device located a distance away…” [10]

History

“In the early days of radio engineering, radio frequency energy was generated using arcs known as Alexanderson alternator or mechanical alternators (of which a rare example survives at the SAQ transmitter in Grimeton, Sweden). In the 1920s electronic transmitters, based on vacuum tubes, began to be used. [11]

Functions

  1. Generate a signal of desired correct transmitting frequency
  2. Modulation
  3. Power Amplification [12]

Governing Laws for Transmitters

REPUBLIC ACT No. 3846
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REGULATION OF RADIO STATIONS AND RADIO COMMUNICATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Section 1. No person, firm, company, association or corporation shall construct, install, establish, or operate a radio station within the Philippine Islands without having first obtained a franchise therefor from the Philippine Legislature; Provided however, That no franchise from the Legislature shall be necessary for the construction, installation, establishment or operation of a broadcasting station, an amateur station, an experimental station, a training station, a station on board a mobile vessel, train, or aircraft, or a private station in a place without any means of communication.

Section 2. The construction or installation of any station shall not be begun, unless a permit therefor has been granted by the Secretary of Commerce and Communications. No station shall be operated except under and in accordance with the provisions of a license issued therefor by the Secretary of Commerce and Communications. The license shall state the dates between which the station may be operated. If a renewal is desired, the licensee shall submit an application to the Secretary of Commerce and Communication at least two (2) months before the expiration date of the license to be renewed. The Secretary of Commerce and Communication shall determine the period for which each license is issued; Provided, that no license shall be issued for a longer period than three (3) years.

Section 3. The Secretary of Commerce and Communication is hereby empowered to regulate the establishment, use, and operation of all radio stations and of all forms of radio communications and transmissions within the Philippine Islands and to issue such rules and regulations as may be necessary. In addition to the above, he shall have the following specific powers and duties:

(a) He shall classify radio stations and prescribe the nature of service to be rendered by each class and by each station within any class;

(b) He shall assign call letters and assign frequencies for each station licensed by him and for each station established by virtue of a franchise granted by the Philippine Legislature and specify the stations to which each such frequency may be used;

(c) He shall make rules and regulations to prevent and eliminate interference between stations and to carry out the provisions of this Act and the provisions of International Radio Regulations: Provided however, that changes in the frequencies or in the authorized power, or in the character of omitted signals, or in the type of the power supply, or in the hours of operation of any licensed station, shall not be made without first giving the station a hearing;

(d) He may establish areas or zones to be served by any station;

(e) He may make special rules and regulations applicable to radio stations engaging in chain broadcasting;

(f) He may make general rules and regulations requiring stations to keep records of traffic handled, distress, frequency watches, programs, transmissions of energy, communications or signs;

(g) He may conduct such investigations as may be necessary in connection with radio matters and hold hearings, summon witnesses, administer oaths and compel the production of books, logs, documents and papers;

(h) He may prescribe rules and regulations to be observed by radio training schools; he may supervise the course and method of instruction therein, and he may refuse to admit to examinations for radio operators’ licenses graduates of any radio school not complying with the regulations;

(i) He shall prescribe rates of charges to be paid to the Government for the inspection of stations, for the licensing of stations, for the examination of operators, for the licensing of operators, for the renewal of station or operator licenses, and for such other services as may be rendered;

(j) He is hereby empowered to approve or disapprove any application for the construction, installation, establishment or operation of a radio station;

(k) He may approve or disapprove any application for renewal of station or operator license: Provided however, that no application for renewal shall be disapproved without giving the licensee a hearing;

(l) He may, at his discretion, bring criminal actions against violators of the radio law or the regulations; or simply suspend or revoke the offender’s station or operator’s licenses; or refuse to renew such licenses; or just reprimand and warn the offenders;

(m) The location of any station, and the power and kind or type of apparatus to be used shall be subject to his approval;

(n) He shall prescribe rules and regulations to be observed by stations for the handling of SOS messages and distress traffic: Provided, that such rules and regulations shall not conflict with the provisions of the International Radio Regulations.

Section 4. No radio station license shall be transferred to any person, firm, company, association or corporation without express authority of the Secretary of Commerce and Communications, and no license shall be granted or transferred to any person who is not a citizen of the United States of America or of the Philippine Islands; or to any firm or company which is not incorporated under the laws of the Philippine Islands or any state or territory of the United States of America; or to any company or corporation twenty percent (20%) of whose capital stock may be voted by aliens or their representatives, or by a foreign government or its representatives, or by any company, corporation, or association organized under the laws of a foreign country.

Section 5. The privileges granted in any station license shall not be exclusive.

Section 6. The President of the United States of America, or the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, in time of war, public peril, calamity, or disaster, may cause the closing of any radio station in the Philippine Islands; or may authorize the temporary use or possession thereof by any department of the Government upon just compensation to the owners.

Section 7. A person to whom or through whom a message has been submitted for transmission shall not willfully publish or divulge the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof to any unauthorized person; and no person not being authorized by the sender or the addressee shall intercept any message or communication and willfully divulge or publish the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted message or communication to any person; and no person not being entitled thereto shall receive, or assist in receiving, any message or communications and use the same or any information therein contained for his benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto; and no person having received such intercepted message or communication, or having become acquainted with the
contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, knowing that such information was so obtained, shall divulge or publish the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or use the same or any information therein contained for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto: Provided, that this section shall not apply to the transmitting, receiving, divulging, publishing or utilizing the contents of any message or communication broadcasted or transmitted by amateurs or others for the use of the general public or relating to ships in distress.

Section 8. The Secretary of Commerce and Communication is hereby authorized to create a Radio Regulation Section, Division, or Office, which shall take charge of carrying out the provisions of this Act and of the regulations prescribed by him, or to delegate temporarily the duties herein conferred upon him and the enforcement of the regulations prescribed by him, to any bureau or office under his department, subject to his general supervision and control.

Section 9. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to radio stations of the United States Government and those of the Philippine Government. Foreign mobile stations temporarily located within the Philippine Islands shall be exempt from the provisions of this Act: Provided, however, That they shall be subject to the provisions of the International Radiotelegraph Regulations.

Section 10. The powers vested in and the duties imposed upon the Director of Posts by Act Numbered Thirty-three hundred and ninety-six are hereby transferred to the Secretary of Commerce and Communication, who is hereby empowered to include in the general radio regulations under this Act, regulations governing radio apparatus compulsory required on vessels of Philippine registry by Act Numbered Thirty-three hundred and ninety-six, notwithstanding the fact that such regulations may be different from those specifically provided in said Act Numbered Thirty-three hundred and ninety-six: Provided however, that such regulations shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea: Provided further, that this section or any part thereof shall not be construed as in any way affecting the provisions of Act Numbered Thirty-three hundred and ninety-six making compulsory the installation of radio apparatus on certain vessels and penalizing violations thereof.

Section 11. Act Numbered Thirty-two hundred and seventy-five, entitled, “An Act to Amend Article One of Chapter Fifty-two and Section Twenty-seven hundred and fifty-seven of the Administrative Code, Providing for the Effective Radio Control,” is hereby repealed: Provided however, that such repeal shall not affect any act done, or any right accrued, or any suit or proceeding had or commenced in any criminal or civil cause, prior to said repeal.

Section 12. Any person who shall violate any mandatory or prohibitory provision of this Act, or any mandatory or prohibitory provision of the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Commerce and Communication under this Act, or any mandatory or prohibitory provision of the International Radio Regulations, upon conviction thereof by a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred pesos or by imprisonment for not more than three months, or both, for each and every offense.

Section 13. Any firm, company, corporation or association failing or refusing to observe or violating any provision of this Act, or any provision of the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Commerce and Communication under this Act, or any provision of the International Radio Regulations, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand pesos for each and every offense.

Section 14. This Act shall take effect three months

Other Guidelines

MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2-05-88
Subject: Rules and Regulations Governing the Manufacture, Acquisition, Sale, and Service of Radio Communication Equipments.

MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO.12-11-93
Subject: Prescribing Guidelines for the Special Registration of Illegally Held/Unregistered Amateur Radio Transceivers/Transmitters by Amateur Operators with Valid
Amateur Certificate/License

MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 01-01-92
Subject: Prescribing Guidelines for the Registration of Illegally Held/Unregistered Radio Transceivers/Transmitters


Endnotes

[1] http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/ict2002/aide-memoire.html

[2] http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/ict2002/aide-memoire.html

[3] http://wikianswers.com/Q/What_is_a_signal_jammer

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_jamming

[5] http://hubpages.com/hub/What-is-the-importation-of-5-000-Signal-Jammers-for

[6] http://hubpages.com/hub/What-is-the-importation-of-5-000-Signal-Jammers-for

[7] http:www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/signal-jammer-shippers-face-poll-offense

[8] http:www.gmanews.tv/story/183030/comelec-signal-jammers-should-be-registered

[9] Memorandum Order No. 001-02-2010

[10] http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Transmitter

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmitter

[12] http://wiki.answers.com/Q?What_are_the_function_of_transmitter

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