Open Source Government: FCC rules could negatively affect the market

The Federal Communications Commission responding to a petition for clarification filed by Cisco, asking about the policy on the confidentiality of software controlling security in Software Defined Radios. The Freedom Software Law Center concluded that the rules do not restrict the activities of independent developers and distributors of FLOSS designed for use with SDR devices.

Cisco and its too big but favorite chew-rope!Cisco and its too big but favorite chew-rope by Kenny and Steve

FCC position about the open source concept doesn’t harm me really, neither I am worried by the (false) assumption about open source insecurity, due to the inherently public nature of source code. It is just the obsolete “security by obscurity” statement (read also Jeff Kaplan “FCC: Open Source Idiots” on the subject).
But as the SDR Forum, I am concerned about the following issues:

In particular, the SDR Forum is concerned that the policy may discourage standardization of security methods that would be in the public interest. For example, an SDR Forum member might decide to withhold its security approach from the Forum’s membership because doing so might reveal aspects of the approach that “could be defeated or otherwise circumvented.”

Common based peer-production can really foster industry collaboration in order to develop the best security practices, and the new policy could prevent this to happen.

The policy may also discourage new business models that would improve the quality of SDR security and lower its costs. Seemingly implicit in the Commission’s order is that the radio manufacturer and security mechanism developer are vertically integrated – i.e., one company provides both functions. However, for the most effective techniques to be implemented across SDR and cognitive radio markets, they need to be shared across multiple manufacturers.

Hence firms need to share many aspects of their security techniques, the businesses requires so, otherwise the Commission won’t take advantage of the benefits of a competitive marketplace.

Technological clubs are not an easy game to play, making them not compliant with FCC rules would greatly help large integrated firms just like… Cisco, I am afraid.

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