PLT a threat to British intelligence gathering?

A report produced for the British intelligence gathering organization GCHQ claims that noise from power line networking devices is causing a detectable increase in interference at its monitoring stations and could adversely affect its operations. The report, which can be found on the website Ban PLT, was originally released by GCHQ’s Director of Engineering and Technology but has since been disowned by GCHQ which now claims it contained “inaccuracies.” The government organization also forced the online tech news journal The Register, which published an article containing details of the report, to remove the author’s identity from the article using measures designed, ironically, to suppress information that could be considered a threat to national security. So much for freedom of speech.

Ofcom meanwhile continues to deny that PLT devices cause a problem, stating that there have been “only” 272 complaints of interference (all from radio amateurs) and that of 233 cases referred to BT all but one have been resolved so there is nothing to worry about. Has pressure been brought from on high to force GCHQ to disown the report which is embarrassing to BT which has a couple of million of the Comtrend PLT devices installed nationwide? It is blatantly obvious that Ofcom couldn’t give a damn about the possible effects on a few hobbyists who don’t even pay a license for the spectrum they use. But a threat to the country’s ability to monitor the short waves to gather intelligence about potential security threats is something they would have had to take seriously.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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