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Secrecy of Radio Communications

Old 16th Jan 2020, 05:17
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The current Act that is in force in Australia is found here: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00336
There are many regulations and licence conditions with various names that are derived or based on this act. You would need to review them all to see if any secrecy porvision applies to the license you are operationg under, such as an aeronautical license, the license conditions for this are found here: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L00495 . No mention of secrecy in that.
In its assesment criteria the UoC AVIE4001 - Maintain aircraft radio communications does refer to:
  • responsibilities of an aeronautical radio operator:
    • secrecy of communications
    • unauthorised transmissions
Though the actual compentancy document found here: https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AVIE4001 makes no mention of secrecy.

Must be a CASA thing I'd say......
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 05:24
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Almost certainly folklore, then. Probably the product of someone with 50 years’ experience, comprising the same year over and over again.

I remember being over the middle of the Simpson Desert on Melbourne Cup day a few years ago and someone broadcast the name of the winning horse on 121.5. I told my friends in the cockpit the name of the winning horse. I’ll hand myself into police. (I hope the criminal that mis-used 121.5 hands himself in as well.)
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 05:44
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And in news just in this is from the Maritime Radio Handbook:
10. Secrecy of Communications
10.1 Under the International Radio Regulations, an operator and any other person who becomes aquainted with the contents of a radiotelegram, radiotelephone call or radiotelex call is placed under an obligation to preserve the secrecy of such information
10.2 Secrecy restrictions do no apply to distress, urgency or safety alerts or messages or any message that is addressed to "all stations".
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 07:34
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Iím 49 years old now and I remember as a very young child listening to TAA and Ansett 727s and DC9s together with IPEC Argosysí going in Launceston at night communicating with Launy Tower, listening to the pilots on a big radio - not a scanner back in those days, thanks to my old man. It would have been back in the mid seventies, probably about 74 and 75.

So exactly what has changed in 45 years or more? Iíve also got a scanner stuffed away in a draw somewhere that I havenít used for years, however I could throw a few new batteries in it and scan the airwaves to my hearts content. Itís about the 4th airband receiver that Iíve owned.

There are more important things in the world to deal with than these useless regs, that have probably been drafted and implemented by a few public servants on the gravy train milking taxpayers.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 07:53
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Originally Posted by MJA Chaser View Post
And in news just in this is from the Maritime Radio Handbook:
10. Secrecy of Communications
10.1 Under the International Radio Regulations, an operator and any other person who becomes aquainted with the contents of a radiotelegram, radiotelephone call or radiotelex call is placed under an obligation to preserve the secrecy of such information
10.2 Secrecy restrictions do no apply to distress, urgency or safety alerts or messages or any message that is addressed to "all stations".
None of which has anything to do with the legal obligations of a pilot (of whatever description - flying or floating) in Australia.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 21:59
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Agreed. There is no legal obligation under Austrlaian law for secrecy of this type of general radio transmission.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 22:17
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you miss the difference between broadcast and message. As a licensed radio operator, you are entitled to pass messages on behalf of passengers that have nothing to do with aviation. An example ďboss would you ring 5674534 and tell mrs. bloggs that her husband wants her urgently to reduce the reserve on the house by $20000 and sell it quick smart..Ē You are legally entitled to pass that message, but you and any authorised station listeners are prohibited by law from divulging or making use of that information.

If this was not the case then the regs would say that you are not allowed to use the radio for anything other than operational comms. That is what was taught to me on my marine VHF and HF Courses many years ago. I know itís unlikely that this would arise today, but itís still there.

To put it another way, if someone asks you to send a private message on their behalf or you overhear one, you arenít supposed to blab about the contents. This is the same confidentiality condition that applies to Telstra, Optus, etc.

....and yes, I have heard hubby telling the missus he has to work late and then call the girlfriend saying he will be right around.

Last edited by Sunfish; 16th Jan 2020 at 22:37.
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Old 17th Jan 2020, 00:02
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Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
“boss would you ring 5674534 and tell mrs. bloggs that her husband wants her urgently to reduce the reserve on the house by $20000 and sell it quick smart..”
I would expect the husband and your boss to give you a severe kick if you passed such a message over airband, which is clearly an unsecure and non-private mechanism. Everyone knows many people have receivers and scanners, which is why telephone calls instead are used to provide privacy and confidentiality.

but you and any authorised station listeners are prohibited by law from divulging or making use of that information.
Quote the "law" please -

This is the same confidentiality condition that applies to Telstra, Optus, etc.
No it isn't..

Privacy and confidentiality of telecommunications and messaging systems are specifically covered in the Act I mentioned. Privacy and confidentiality for such communications includes radio communications if the radio link is directly connected into the PSTN e.g. cordless phones, a telephone call made via one of the HF RadTel networks.

If instead the radio communication is simply people conversing over airband, CB radio or whatever, there is no privacy nor should there be any expectation of same.
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