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Telstra, WhoTF is this?

I think our telecommunications supplier has some explaining to do in regards to this issue.

Now, I’m not overly concerned that my usage is being tracked internally by Telstra. A lot of this recording is for tracking abuse of their network, and for billing purposes. This is fine, I have no quarms with that.

However, the above linked article, which I initially heard about on the radio this morning, discusses a more sinester form of tracking.

Here, I have keyed in a special URL… observe the access logs:

www.longlandclan.yi.org 149.135.145.110 - - [27/Jun/2012:09:57:28 +1000] "GET /~stuartl/test.htm HTTP/1.1" 200 102
www.longlandclan.yi.org 50.56.58.47 - - [27/Jun/2012:09:57:28 +1000] "GET /~stuartl/test.htm HTTP/1.0" 200 102

Now, you’ll note there wasn’t one, but two hits. Why? One is clearly from the phone I’m using, as it so happens my phone is hiding behind 149.135.145.110, one of Telstra’s many Carrier NAT gateways (and shame on you Telstra for using carrier NAT).

Who’s this other one? Someone on Rackspace, a US hosting company. What business is my Internet traffic to this other party?

The saving grace for me, most of my traffic is to the APRS-IS network, with some HTTP traffic checking that my tracker has my location up-to-date and the odd query here and there. Maybe a gratuituous download of an ISO or system updates towards the end of the billing period. They’ll get pretty bored with my NextG usage, there’d be hardly anything of commercial value there.

Others however, may have more reason to feel violated. Telstra have some explaining to do.

PSA: Omni WEP-910D

If you live in Australia, do not purchase or operate this headset.

This is what the offending article looks like:This headset radiates a carrier on the 2m amateur band.  Specifically around 147.000MHz.  In some parts of the world, the 2m amateur band extends from 144.000MHz to 146.000MHz.  Here in Australia however, it goes all the way up to 148MHz, meaning these headsets are effectively pirate stations smack bang in the middle of the FM portion of the 2m band.  They are probably quite legal in the country where they were originally sold, but they are not legal here.

There are a lot of repeaters that operate around 147MHz, particularly in Brisbane.  VK4RBN at Mt. Glorious is one of the most heavily used repeaters in Brisbane, and so you can guarantee there are people listening on that frequency that will hear your transmissions, and will likely complain.  We’re also getting good at direction finding.

So far the importers have gotten little more than a slap over the wrist for the illegal C-tick approval of these devices.  I think the ACMA need to grow some teeth here if we expect to get on top of this problem.  The last offenders were lucky, they got the choice of stopping the use of the headset, or copping a $400 fine … the article was not confiscated.  The importers got a $1500 fine… nowhere near enough, and the devices continue to be sold by distributors.

The end user may not have been technical enough to understand what was going on, but the importers almost certainly should have if they were slapping C-ticks on equipment.

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