Today, I read an article in The Daily Mail Online pretty much calling for banning Hack RF One, a popular SDR product with the amateur radio scene (among many others including makers, developers and entrepreneurs alike).
In their online article the Daily Mail claims that the evidence their team of reporters have gathered has “lead experts to call for the Home Office to launch a probe into the availability of the HackRF One and similar devices.”
Readers of the Daily Mail article should note that the article did not disclose whether or not the “team” tested any of the other “similar devices” during their “investigation”. The article only makes mention of “other devices” once, though not specifically naming any other brand / product and in so doing clearly singles out and targets the Hack RF One product by name and brand specifically.
These are not the only convenient factual omissions and inaccuracies to be found in the article – which I can only describe at best as being heavily biased, cherry picked nonsense designed solely for panic and fear mongering and click baiting at the expense of the reputation of another to fill a gap on an otherwise slow news day.
So What’s all the Fuss About with Banning Hack RF One??
Basically, in a nut shell, the paper(s) are getting in a flap and creating hype about the popular Hack RF One platform and similar SDR (Software Defined Radio) products because ultimately they offer affordable, albeit low power two way communication i.e. they can transmit as well as receive over a large range of frequencies.
As with most things, some devious swine or bunch of swines have figured out how to use these SDRs to do bad things with and now it’s the fault of the product or the person / company behind the product. It’s never the fault or responsibility of the person using them in a malicious way.
The article goes on to say that the “team of reporters” easily obtained a Hack RF One from one of the giant online stores (like they expect the Hack RF One to be some seedy black market sinister underground hardware and seem shocked that it’s freely available everywhere LOL).
Apparently they were then able to follow the directions from a YouTube video which instructed them on how to MISuse the Hack RF One they had just purchased in order to capture the data sent between remote car key and vehicle used to operate the locks / ignition in order to clone the signal / data and re-transmit it to unlock and steal the vehicle.
What the Daily Mail Article Would Have You Believe
From the onset the overall tone of the article and probably the entire *cough, chuckle* investigation is one of fear mongering, panic and above all else is clearly completely and utterly biased towards one brand and product in particular – the Hack RF One.
The *oh what the hell LMFAO HAHAHAHA*-> investigative team behind the article would like you to believe that SDR devices capable of transmission, or specifically the Hack RF One in the case of this article, were developed exclusively for stealing cars and other malicious, sinister and illegal uses and nothing else. At least that’s what the article heavily implies if nothing else.
The article only wants to draw your attention to the one or two isolated negative misuses and not think about any of the positives applications this product may have or is currently being used for.
They succeed at this by negating to mention how many positive LEGAL products the hack RF One is at the heart of. Or the kind of honest people that make up the communities that back, support and contribute to the development of such projects – responsibly!
They also don’t bother to tell you anything about why the Hack RF One was really developed originally, what the goals of the Hack RF One project are, what kind of people it was actually developed for or why. There’s no mention of the educational value or the fact that it encourages affordable learning and innovation for people in all kinds of fields of interest – which can, and often does lead to progress and advancements in this and other technological fields. Which we all benefit from.
In fact the article doesn’t really contain any non biased useful information at all. It’s seems to only be concerned with hyping up this one negative MIS-use of an otherwise outstanding educational product from a reputable company.
What is the Truth about the Hack RF One and Other SDR Devices
The Hack RF One and pretty much all of the “Other Devices” were never developed for sinister, malicious or illegal uses. Far from it.
They are nothing more than development and learning platforms offered at affordable prices to anyone wishing to learn more or develop systems from the technology etc. These affordable SDRs have thousands upon thousands of potential positive applications and uses – far too many to count. None of which get so much as a mention in the Daily Mail Article though.
You can Google search countless applications / projects etc that hardware such as the Hack RF One has been used for. All safely, legally and responsibly but you wont find any of them mentioned in the daily mail article calling for banning Hack RF One. Even despite it only taking 10 seconds or so for anyone including any “investigative” journalist worth their salt to search google for and find any number of them. -_-
Radio Astronomy, Satellite Communications, Amateur Radio, High Altitude Balloons, Rocketry…. And so many more positive projects surround devices such as the Hack RF One. Far more than there are illegal activities.
Why I think Banning Hack RF One is Just one of Many Hyped Up Knee Jerk Media Reactions
Ban this, ban that, blame this company or person for making this and that product and not being responsible blah blah blah…
I really get tired of people allowing themselves to be steered and whipped up into a frenzy by the media. Every little incident these days is followed by a call to ban “insert media witch hunt victim of the week here“.
All it takes is one moron to do one bad thing with something and that’s it. Ban it. Blame everyone else except the person responsible for misusing the object. There must be a law made immediately to ban it.
Surely the people that get taken in by such twisted and manipulative reporting are also able to open a new tab in their browser, navigate to Google and fact check? No?
So Who do we Blame if Not the Companies that Make Such Products?
Let me ask you something.
When a drink driver gets into a car and drives off and ultimately hits someone causing serious injury or worse, who gets the blame? The brewery?, The place the alcohol was purchased from, The car company? Or the person driving?
I don’t recall ever hearing of a mass of people publicly cry out for cars to be banned because of the ALARMING number of people that misuse them. I don’t see people ringing up car manufacturers blaming them when some irresponsible fool gets behind the wheel and causes damage to someone or something.
And damn right too!
So how is calling for devices that are clearly being misused from their intended purpose, such as the Hack RF One, to be banned in any way different? In fact when cars are misused the outcome is often fatal!
Sharing the Blame?
And you have to ask yourself just how responsible are the Daily Mail for alerting the vast majority of their unsuspecting readers who up until reading the article were probably totally unaware of such a thing or how to do it. But are now – including how to do it and where to find everything you need. Derp derp dur dur.
And what of Youtube which hosts guides on how to perform all theillegal steps necessary to misuse the device in the first place? Aren’t they just a little bit responsible?
Or in the case of common sense, isn’t it more likely that the responsibility is solely and squarely with the person misusing the device acting on the information provided?
Is it not getting a bit daft these days? Some fool shines laser pens around where they shouldn’t be so let’s try to indiscriminately ban them all and punish all the hundreds of people that own them and uses them sensibly without incident.
Drones are now in the sights of the mass media these days too with calls to ban them because a select few brainless tools are using them in places they shouldn’t, risking the safety of others and making it bad for the rest of us that operate them sensibly and with a hint of intelligence and common sense.
My final words on the attempted Banning of the Hack RF One and Other SDR Devices
While it is true that a number of these devices have been used for illegal practices, this is not their true intended use. Despite a few cases of criminal activity from the misuse of such hardware, the majority of owners and users manage to operate them responsibly and within the law.
It is NOT the responsibility of designer, developer or manufacturers if a person decides to take it upon themselves to use ANY product for anything other than it’s intended purpose.
The real purpose behind the development of hardware such as the Hack RF One is out there for all to see. There is nothing to hide. It’s not some black market hacking technology designed for theft. All the real facts concerning the Hack RF One and other SDR technologies are freely available on Google for everyone – including newspaper reporters to see.
You certainly wont find any of the developers of such hardware endorsing, promoting or marketing for illegal activities though it does have a disclaimer which states YOU as the owner are responsible for how you use the product which is a fair comment and one that would be expected.
That isn’t some reverse psychology bull*hit which secretly means we’re encouraging you to use the product illegally as the Daily Mail would like you to think. it means you buy it, you are responsible for how you use it. And rightfully so.
On the other hand, if you choose to believe the spoon fed, agenda driven biased the papers want you to lap up then good luck to you.
These are purely my own personal views. I am not in any way affiliated with or connected to Hack RF One or ANY of the other companies developing SDR technology being dragged in to disrepute.