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[liberationtech] Research on illegal satellite receivers?

Hu Ben ben.hugh at gmail.com
Sat Jan 21 19:26:04 PST 2012


I'm no expert on the technology issues regarding satellite communication.
but I do know Chinese government is using satellite to transfer official TV
propaganda,and also military communication. ​Chinese government had a
law prohibit anyone to jam satellite
communication with ground jamming devices. But local cable companies ( by
law, they are all state owned) will jam the C band of certain area, which
is illegal itself. and you see news report of local radio communication
department raid local cable companies, because they killed official
communication while jamming satellites.

the logic goes like this, as a huge country, the cost is too high to cover
the entire country with cable service, for remote area in China, government
subsidized satellite dishes were used to send government propaganda TV into
every family. for Cities, government will provide cable service, but
prohibit anyone to set up satellite dishes, well, at least on the paper.
for the suburb area in China, which are not so far from city center, local
state-owned cable companies are trying to sell their service to
inhabitants. Even though after government subsidize, 5$/mo fee for the poor
farmers are too high, they prefer a dish set costing 50$ and free for life.

For middle class in big cities, they are already paying their 5$/mo fee,
cable companies have no incentive to jam satellite communication. and I
personally didn't know any big city jamming cases.

Chinese government do own a lot of satellite platforms above China. But
Taiwan also have satellites. as far as I know. the anti-government,exiled
NTDTV is broadcasting from taiwan satellite platform, which also can be
picked up by mainland China receivers. in 2010, there's a case that NTDTV
uploading signal, based in Taiwan, got jammed entirely for 15 days. NTDTV
reported that, it was jammed by a nearby China satellite. I've no idea if
this information is correct. Taiwan government opened a investigation to
this case. the results was never published.

I personally didn't tried to pick up NTDTV myself back in China. but
according to what I read online, there's no problem picking up NTDTV
signals in China now, which is also working in the C Band.

I do know Chinese government possess some ability to project laser beams
upon communication satellites, or spamming radio communication. see
http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/111028-unauthorized-signals-terra-landsat7.html
and this
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/11/is-this-chinas-anti-satellite-laser-weapon-site/


from an international law perspective, I doubt China will do it on Taiwan
or any foreign communication satellites floating above China without
declaring war.  they tested it for a little while, but that's it.

​I've never heard of any illegal dishes locating technology adopted by
Chinese government. and believe
me, if there is this kind​ of technology, it will go viral among ​Chinese
amateurs radio ​nerd online chatrooms, and I'm a
​big fan of those chatrooms.

胡贲  Hu Ben
南方周末 Southern Weekend
斯坦福大学耐特学者  Knight Fellow '2012 at Stanford
Cell: (+86)18602004917  China
         (+1)650 283 2876  U.S.
邮箱   Email:   ben.hugh at gmail.com <Aben.hugh at gmail.com>
MSN Messenger   hubensysu at hotmail.com

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
                       -- Bob Dylan




On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>wrote:

> Hi Ben,
>
> Thanks this is very helpful, so to your knowledge there is no jamming of
> illegal services?
>
> Also any information on how illegal dishes are located, is it just by
> routine inspections or is there a technological means being employed?
>
> Regards
>
> Brian
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> On Jan 20, 2012, at 18:35, Hu Ben <ben.hugh at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi, Brian
>
>    ​at least In mainland China, its a vibrant industry to set up illegal
> dishes to receive foreign broadcasting.  you will have brochures on your
> doorstep advertising for " free, up to date Hongkong/taiwan/japan tv shows"
> and if you call  them, there will be some guy coming to your home, offer
> you a "menu" to choose different stations, and he will figure out which
> satelites he need to point at and decoders and everything, set it up in 2
> hours. for about 200 dollars you can get BBC,DW, CNN and everything. at
> least that's how much I payed.
>
>       Government do crack down upon these dishes, from time to time you
> will hear that Chinese Radio Frequency Authority drive through neighborhood
> to spot ilegal dishes, and fine the owner, or raid local "electrical
> market" to shut down these business. it can drive the price up a little
> bit,  but that's it. this is capitalism with Chinese characteristics.
>
>    according to my experience in Vietnam, government control on illegal
> dishes is much more loose compare to China, every little family-runed hotel
> in Hanoi, or Saigon all have access to CNN, BBC, so on. you can also notice
> more dishes hanging outside of windows.
>
>    I think the tricky part is, most Chinese who set up their dishes are
> just for HongKong/Taiwan entertainment tv shows. the problem in hand would
> be, do people really want to watch un-censored news.  and of course, don't
> even bother if these news are not in their native language, Vietnamese or
> Chinese.
>
> 胡贲  Hu Ben
> 南方周末 Southern Weekend
> 斯坦福大学耐特学者  Knight Fellow '2012 at Stanford
> Cell: (+86)18602004917  China
>          (+1)650 283 2876  U.S.
> 邮箱   Email:   ben.hugh at gmail.com <Aben.hugh at gmail.com>
> MSN Messenger   hubensysu at hotmail.com
>
> Come writers and critics
> Who prophesize with your pen
> And keep your eyes wide
> The chance won't come again
> And don't speak too soon
> For the wheel's still in spin
> And there's no tellin' who
> That it's namin'.
> For the loser now
> Will be later to win
> For the times they are a-changin'.
>                        -- Bob Dylan
>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>wrote:
>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> I'm wondering if anyone knows of research into illegal satellite dishes,
>> particularly where there is a state broadcaster and other services are
>> tightly controlled or outright illegal. I'm doing some research into the
>> feasibility of broadcasting satellite news into such countries, but
>> wondering how practical it really is to expect locals to modify dishes or
>> purchase illegal decoders.
>>
>> Thanks as always!
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>
>



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