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Comments on news posted 2014-04-02 10:06:48: A federal appeals court last September ruled that Google could be held liable for civil damages for the company's 2011 scandal involving the company's collection of Wi-Fi data from unsecured hotspots using their Street View vehicles. ..


Noah Vail
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Public Airwaves are Public

I'm fine with anyone sniffing traffic on a public spectrum while in a public space.
My radios, my responsibility to secure them.
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MDA
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Re: Public Airwaves are Public

In this day and age, you're a fool for not securing a network. Google should be thanked for pointing out all those unsecured networks because its another point of possible congestion from wardrivers looking for open networks. That and a backdoor to your company's data...

Most modern routers come with security enabled with their default WiFi password taped to the top of it until you change it yourself (and who wouldn't/shouldn't for ease of access?)

PapaMidnight

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I agree wholeheartedly. It is at that point where the onus falls on the consumer. It's amazing: not ten years ago, you could set your laptop to automatically connect to "linksys" and be set to go from there.
Kearnstd
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More people need to learn this and not just in the world of Wifi. If you broadcast anything open air and unencrypted you give up the right to control of it, And this goes for any signal.
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BiggA
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Exactly. The other people broadcast them. If they didn't want anyone seeing what was in them, they should have encrypted them.

IowaCowboy
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Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

Google must be restrained because they have very little respect for user privacy. I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

What's next, them taking pictures of my bedroom through the camera of an Android device because it's in the user agreement. Someone needs to draw the line and the federal appeals court did this. The argument on the routers is Google does not own the routers they were snooping on. With the snooping technology that they're comparing to, the IT professionals are probably snooping on routers they own. And you are also talking violations of the computer fraud and abuse act, because they knowingly collected the data without the consent of the owners of the routers. Anyone listening at the DOJ.

The line needs to be drawn.
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

said by IowaCowboy:

Google must be restrained because they have very little respect for user privacy. I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

How much control do you have over any vehicle driving down your street? Your landlord's house is in public view and can therefore be viewed and photographed by anyone.
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MooJohn

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Your router spews data in all directions. They're criminal because they happen to note the names of the networks they can see while driving down the street? Your neighbors could collect and interpret the same data with impunity.

WiFi is like a CB radio. It's free to use to communicate for a short distance but in return anything you transmit is audible (visible) by anyone within range. It's up to you to secure this data in a way that it is useless to others.

How am I hurt because now somebody knows there's a network named SurveillanceVan (tee hee) at my address?
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said by IowaCowboy:

I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

Which mean you had no expectation of privacy because ANYONE could have driven down the street collecting the data. Broadcasting WiFi un-encrypted means you don't care who see your data or what they do with it.

Just like anyone can take pictures of your house from a public sidewalk or street and post them online where ever they want, but because Google does it its bad?

said by IowaCowboy:

What's next, them taking pictures of my bedroom through the camera of an Android device because it's in the user agreement.

That's different you have an expectation of privacy in your home and that would be illegal for anyone to do.

said by IowaCowboy:

The argument on the routers is Google does not own the routers they were snooping on.

They did not access the routers, their equipment simply listened to anything that was broadcast freely.

That would be like you shouting into a bullhorn your social security number and complain when someone wrote it down (not used it simply wrote it down). Or your band practiced in your garage with the sound loud enough to hear from the street and someone took out their phone and recorded it.

Or even better you must stop EVERY WiFi device that shows active access because they are "snooping" on your WiFi access point in order to get the data to show it on the device.

said by IowaCowboy:

And you are also talking violations of the computer fraud and abuse act, because they knowingly collected the data without the consent of the owners of the routers. Anyone listening at the DOJ.

And again they "collected" data that was being shouted in to the air freely with no attempts to secure it, so there was no expectation that the data would not be heard/read by others.
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Noah Vail
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Let's consider streetview.

Firstly, I sympathize with your concern. But streetview's existence is due more to cheap technology than Google.
For example, A9 was filming our houses before Google was. Others probably are too.

However, Google dumps these images in a public database that's available to us.
If laws are passed against streetview, our houses will still be photographed (for National Security, Insurance companies. etc).
Anti-streetview laws will just lock up the database where you and I can't get to it.

That's the problem with privacy laws.
Ultimately the only people they restrict are you and me. The people with power to ruin lives, won't lose any access at all.
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ptrowski
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said by IowaCowboy:

Google must be restrained because they have very little respect for user privacy. I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

So tell me how you currently control what vehicles drive down your street.....
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IowaCowboy
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It's not just this case but someone needs to draw the line on Google and Privacy.

I'm looking for cloud storage and tried Google Drive but didn't trust it because I don't trust their privacy practices. I don't use Gmail because of rumors they read your E-Mail, they trashed YouTube by forcing you to take a Google+ account.

I don't even load videos to YouTube anymore, I just watch them.

Even though I use Google as a search engine, I'm a critic of their business practices.
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

said by IowaCowboy:

It's not just this case but someone needs to draw the line on Google and Privacy.

I'm looking for cloud storage and tried Google Drive but didn't trust it because I don't trust their privacy practices. I don't use Gmail because of rumors they read your E-Mail, they trashed YouTube by forcing you to take a Google+ account.

I don't even load videos to YouTube anymore, I just watch them.

Even though I use Google as a search engine, I'm a critic of their business practices.

Oh please! Your are a paranoid fear monger.

Dont want Streetview cars to snoop? Lock down you damn wifi.

Google offers *FREE* services to anyone who wants to have them. And yes, they may have "read" my emails, but for the purpose of target advertising. It's the price to pay for a free service. You are more than welcome to use a paid service or host your own mail server where you have complete control over it.

If you think you have any anonymity anywhere other than when your taking a shit on your toilet, well my friend, put on that tin foil hat on even tighter.

Come to think of it, make sure there isnt someone snaking a camera through your toilet..... :rolleyes:
nonymous
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If you want secure email encrypt it.
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said by IowaCowboy:

It's not just this case but someone needs to draw the line on Google and Privacy.

No such thing as privacy on the internet. You should know that by now.

said by IowaCowboy:

I don't use Gmail because of rumors they read your E-Mail

Rumours??? Machines read your email, not people. People have better things to do than read about your email to Gramma.

said by IowaCowboy:

I don't even load videos to YouTube anymore, I just watch them.

Whether you upload them or just watch, they know you're using the service. They can see your source IP (if they wish), they can also serve you ads in YouTube. They know you're using it in some fashion.

said by IowaCowboy:

Even though I use Google as a search engine, I'm a critic of their business practices.

See above. They know you're using it, hence they serve you relative ads during searches. Virtually every website you visit has hooks to Google. From serving AdWords, to use Google Analytics. Some sites make a lot of money using AdWords.

NormanS
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said by IowaCowboy:

I don't use Gmail because of rumors they read your E-Mail ...

Given the volume of email, "reading" your email is highly improbable. "Scanning" your email for keywords relative to marketing is rather more likely.
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switchg3ar

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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

That's what the NSA does "Scanning" your email for keywords. If they find something then maybe they do something.
CXM_Splicer
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

said by switchg3ar:

If they find something then maybe they do something.

Funny, they don't seem to be finding anything despite all the 'scanning' they are doing.
Kearnstd
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said by IowaCowboy:

Google must be restrained because they have very little respect for user privacy. I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

You have no control over any vehicles on your street and any of them could have an antenna and be vacuuming up wifi information.

In fact only a gated community is actually capable of denying a Streetview car, If its not gated its a public road.(Most of those private road signs are bullshit, The city still plows said roads making them not private.)
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NormanS
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said by IowaCowboy:

The argument on the routers is Google does not own the routers they were snooping on.

Which of these routers do you think I own?

My neighbors.


I know more about my neighbors' wi-fi than Google does; call the cops!!!!!!!
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IowaCowboy
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My router has WPA 2 security enabled and its SSID hidden. I take computer security very seriously, everything is locked down. I also have the free Norton Internet Security (from Comcast) installed on my Macs, I don't use public Wi-Fi (use my personal cellular modems instead), I periodically make sure the latest versions of Flash and Java are installed on my computers.

You don't want people getting into your Wi-Fi, while Google may be getting into a so-called "grey" area of the law, if you have a neighbor who is downloading illegal content on your connection, then you'll have law enforcement knocking on YOUR door and you'll incur costs (attorney's fees and private investigators) to clear your name. And we're not talking pirated content (music, TV shows, movies), we're talking content that will land you in jail and on the sex offender registry such as child pornography. And if your neighbor is downloading it on your unsecured Wi-Fi, then it's going to get traced back to YOUR modem and YOUR address. And not all of us can afford to pay for a lawyer so we'll get stuck with those crappy public defenders that are as good as no lawyer at all. So I want to avoid getting into such a situation. So I take steps such as securing my Wi-Fi so nobody but me and my family and friends can access my connection.

It's happened and victims have incurred thousands of dollars in legal bills clearing their names from criminal charges.
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MyDogHsFleas
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

Just FYI, hiding your SSID has an extremely small amount of security value, and it makes configuration harder. There's really no good reason to do it. Same goes for restricting access by MAC, although you didn't say you'd done that. For this and other WiFi security myth debunks, see »www.pcworld.com/article/2052158/ ··· now.html WPA2 with strong passphrase is really the only thing you need to secure your WiFi network from outsiders.

David
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

FYI- your link is broken.
MyDogHsFleas
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

works fine for me.. ???

David
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

I get page can't be displayed on IE and chrome. I can get to pcworld itself.

NormanS
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said by MyDogHsFleas:

works fine for me.. ???

Annoyingly stupid A/V ad starts playing immediately; looks like time to employ a page-breaking ad-blocker. Browser locked up when I attempted to stop the ad from playing.
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MyDogHsFleas
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

hmmm sorry about that. I use Mac with OS X Mavericks and Safari, I see no ads playing, page looks perfectly normal to me. I don't have popup blockers or cookies turned off or anything like that.

Here's what the article says are myths of WiFi security:

Don't broadcast your SSID.
Enable MAC address filtering.
Limit your router's IP address pool.
Disable your router's DHCP service
Reduce your router's WiFi transmission power

And it ends up by saying what you SHOULD do:
Use WPA2 with a strong passphrase.
Disable WPS.

I would add to this:
Change your router's admin login password to a strong one.

NormanS
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

said by MyDogHsFleas:

I would add to this:
Change your router's admin login password to a strong one.

I do just those last steps; WPA2, strong (63 character) passphrase, disable WPS, custom admin login password. One final step: Disable UPnP. I haven't found anything which is broken by disabling it on my router.
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Norman
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clone

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2 edits
Here's something else the article doesn't tell you about network security: unless you have something valuable to secure, chances are no one is going to go knocking on your network to begin with. Even in corporate environments, there is some data that just isn't worth securing. If the cost to secure something (in dollars or productivity/usability lost due to the security mechanism) is more than what it's worth to begin with, you really need to take a hard, objective look at whether or not it really needs to be secured, or at least the extent of the security.

Of course, I'm not saying that everyone should be broadcasting their Wi-Fi signal in the clear. The "myths" of home Wi-Fi security are by no means going to stop a motivated attacker from gaining access. In fact, a sufficiently motivated attacker can find a way to infiltrate even the most hardened corporate or industrial network. Remember Stuxnet?

But is turning off DHCP and using a non-standard private address pool going to stop the idiot neighbors from leeching on your connection? Probably. The same goes for reducing the transmission power and enabling MAC filtering. Will it stop the 13-year old neighbor kid with too much time on his hands from figuring out how to connect? Probably not. But the goal would be to make sure that even if he does connect, he wouldn't have access to much more than basic web access or possibly the MP3 cache; at worst, he might be able to send something unsavory to the Apple TV or the Chromecast.

I would say you SHOULD, of course, use strong WPA2 passphrases and disable WPS. But I would take it a step further and make sure that there is some kind of protection between the wireless network segment and, say, the PC you use to connect to your data at work or use for online banking/trading or other financial data. It doesn't have to be an air gap, but if you are concerned with such things, try to limit the amount of sensitive data stored locally on the machines that are accessible via the wireless network by using offline storage that you only access when needed.

There are easy ways to do such things, such as running a machine that isn't a commodity router with multiple network interfaces at your network's edge, but it's probably beyond the scope of this message board post. However again, it's not about securing everything at all costs, just making sure that things that really need to be secured have some mechanism to limit their exposure to unwanted eyes.

Would it suck if the neighbor kid downloaded the latest Hollywood flick on P2P and it got attributed to you? Sure. But it would suck worse if he got access to your personal financial data and found a way to really mess up your day. That's what you need to protect.

Edit: As for IowaCowboy's fear of someone downloading kiddy porn on his connection, the best defense against that is to know and befriend your neighbors and trust them. I know you never *really* know someone, but if you have suspicions that the guy next door is doing some crazy shit like that, it's probably time to move...or at least monitor your connection to see what's happening on it and traffic-shape/block services accordingly.

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said by NormanS:

said by MyDogHsFleas:

works fine for me.. ???

Annoyingly stupid A/V ad starts playing immediately; looks like time to employ a page-breaking ad-blocker. Browser locked up when I attempted to stop the ad from playing.

That might be where my page can't be displayed comes from.
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JohnShade

join:2009-03-07
Pearland, TX
All of the abpve plus a 15 character alphanumeric, mixed case password on my primary router. Also, I use ethernet for all but 2 devices. If you are hacking my ethernet connection, you have to be phyically in my house. I live in Texas and I have a shotgun, take a guess what the outcome could be
Waytoogo

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Cleveland, OH
I take computer security very seriously, everything is locked down. I also have the free Norton Internet Security

First you say you take security seriously, then you say you use Norton.

So which is it. do you take security seriously or do you use Norton? Can't have it both ways.
nonymous
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

Has Norton slipped again. I thought if.just.used as an AV it was ok usedin conjuction with a layered approach. My cable company has free McAffee so could be worse.
Oh i did say layered and not just Norton.
Happydude32
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If you took information security seriously you wouldn't bother with 'security by obscurity' nonsense like hiding SSIDs. Anyone who is determined enough to attempt wireless encryption already utilizes software like Inssider. My wireless router does not even allow you hide your SSID anymore using the factory firmware.

removed
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said by IowaCowboy:

My router has WPA 2 security enabled and its SSID hidden. I take computer security very seriously, everything is locked down. I also have the free Norton Internet Security (from Comcast) installed on my Macs, I don't use public Wi-Fi (use my personal cellular modems instead), I periodically make sure the latest versions of Flash and Java are installed on my computers.

Don't you realize that you've given the attackers a leg up by telling them about your security measures? Think, man!
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NormanS
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said by IowaCowboy:

My router has WPA 2 security enabled and its SSID hidden. I take computer security very seriously, everything is locked down. I also have the free Norton Internet Security (from Comcast) installed on my Macs, I don't use public Wi-Fi (use my personal cellular modems instead), I periodically make sure the latest versions of Flash and Java are installed on my computers.

You don't want people getting into your Wi-Fi ...

See my screen shot. I have at least two neighbors who have "hidden" their SSIDs. I've got their device MAC addresses. I have two neighbors who, by design, are inviting public access. One will require Comcast account credentials for access; but is open to any Comcast customer. The other is run the by the city. I could probably figure out more; much more, if I were so inclined. But on a casual glance, I already have more than Google learned in five second sweeps.
--
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switchg3ar

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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

So you are saying it's ok to data mine, but only in certain cases right? You don't mind if I data mine your wifi signals but if I provide a backbone connection for your ISP would that be ok if I data mine that traffic?

NormanS
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Re: Hopefully the SCOUTS declines the case

said by switchg3ar:

So you are saying it's ok to data mine, but only in certain cases right? You don't mind if I data mine your wifi signals but if I provide a backbone connection for your ISP would that be ok if I data mine that traffic?

How in the Bloody Hell did you get that from what I wrote? That is most certainly NOT what I said!!!!
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David
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I leave my SSID's turned off, and I use wpa for the older device and wpa and wpa2 for the newer one.

KrK
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said by IowaCowboy:

Google must be restrained because they have very little respect for user privacy. I have no control whether that street view vehicle drives down my street.

Are you trolling?

"I transmit from my radio transmitter a signal into the open airwaves.... IT'S A VIOLATION OF MY PRIVACY IF SOMEONE ACTUALLY LISTENS TO WHAT I SENT."

Wow.... just wow.
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•••••••••••••

jkl101

@129.253.54.x

1 recommendation

civil liability?

I have a hard time imagining someone can make a case for civil damages. Since they'd have to prove some sort of monetary loss and since Google didn't do anything with the data, it seems like a non-starter. If Google used it for.....targeting ads or something, maybe. If they used the data in such a way as to gain some economic advantage over those whose data it was, then ok.

If I had to guess, it would be the same idiotic claim that the govt makes when someone breaks into their network, like that "hacker" from the UK that broke into NASA looking for evidence of UFO coverup and the govt claims that he caused a big bunch of "damage" and they incurred large expenses to fix that damage, when it was actually nothing but applying reasonable security that should've been there in the first place. So, I can see some homeowner now claiming that once Google "intruded" onto their network by capturing a couple of packets, the homeowner had to spend money to get the Geek Squad out from Best Buy to secure their WiFi. Pretty weak all around.

•••

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

Pot, meet kettle

Considering the NSA is actually taking reams of data from the public, and from secured sources at that without any oversight at all, it's very disingenuous of the government to take Google to task for hooking into public wifi while driving by. I don't think there is a whole lot of freedom being protected when anything I do is going to be examined by a third party without my knowledge or consent "just in case".

Tuberculosis

@myvzw.com

Appellate court seems right

It seems like a lot geek perspective amongst comments here. Let me ask you this. If you leave the door to your house unlocked inadvertently, does that constitute an invitation to come in for anybody?

••••••••

KrK
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Umm..... Wi-Fi hotspots are not "radio communications,"readily accessible"

.... That's *EXACTLY* What a Wi-Fi hotspot is!

They certainly seem to have a grip on a certain unique reality principle!
iknow_t

join:2012-05-03

1 edit

here's the law

»www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/ ··· /18/2511 notice "(g) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter or chapter 121 of this title for any person—
(i) to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public;

(ii) to intercept any radio communication which is transmitted—
(I) by any station for the use of the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress;

(II) by any governmental, law enforcement, civil defense, private land mobile, or public safety communications system, including police and fire, readily accessible to the general public;

(III) by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or general mobile radio services; or

(IV) by any marine or aeronautical communications system;" and definitions. »www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/ ··· /18/2510 "(16) “readily accessible to the general public” means, with respect to a radio communication, that such communication is not—
(A) scrambled or encrypted;

(B) transmitted using modulation techniques whose essential parameters have been withheld from the public with the intention of preserving the privacy of such communication;

(C) carried on a subcarrier or other signal subsidiary to a radio transmission;

(D) transmitted over a communication system provided by a common carrier, unless the communication is a tone only paging system communication; or

(E) transmitted on frequencies allocated under part 25, subpart D, E, or F of part 74, or part 94 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission, unless, in the case of a communication transmitted on a frequency allocated under part 74 that is not exclusively allocated to broadcast auxiliary services, the communication is a two-way voice communication by radio;"