LibrePlanet Presentation of "Yes, the FCC might ban your operating system"

Eric Schultz // Mar 28, 2016

I was honored to be asked to present on the topic of FCC lockdown of computer devices at LibrePlanet. My session was right after Edward Snowden so the pressure was on to give a good talk. Despite needing to follow an American hero, I think the session went well. I received a lot of positive feedback.

At the same time, it's clear that we need to do a better job of publicizing this topic. The FCC's actions endanger all of us, not just by taking away our rights but by outsourcing our device security. The FCC's actions guarantee that users, including government and military users, will have to trust the security of default software on devices manufactured in countries like China. At some point, this will bite us and I hope that the FCC is prepared to answer to Congress why this happened.

For those who weren't able to be there, you can grab a PDF copy of my slides. Additionally, I'm listing a set of actions that I believe should be taken going forward. I'll go into more detail in the future but for now I'll just list them. Also, there should be a video of my session up at but I'm not sure on the timeline for that.

Thanks everyone!

PS: I think we're going to have some announcements going forward about the Save Wifi effort, so stay tuned!

Where we and the FCC should go from here

  1. Work with manufacturers to make sure modification of radio parameters REQUIRES reflashing
  2. Work with free software community to make sure default UI’s aren’t dangerous
  3. Require the release of radio firmware source code
  4. More collaboration between hams and average folks
  5. Collaborative campaign to discourage inappropriate usage
  6. Fair, firm punishment to those who break the rules, particularly if they endanger others or do it for profit
  7. Create better tools for the community to find and discourage law-breakers (Cory Doctorow proposal)
  8. End the forcing of people and devices into regulatory boxes
  9. Change in how the FCC thinks


If you'd like to share your opinion, please email or tweet me.