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Guides & Guidelines as made
These Guidelines impose obligations and provide guidance in relation to the Radiocommunications (Prohibited Devices) (Use of Electronic Counter Measures for Bomb Disposal Activities) Exemption Determination 2010.
Administered by: Communications and the Arts
Registered 09 Apr 2010
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR11-May-2010
Tabled Senate11-May-2010

 

 

Commonwealth of Australia

 

Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

Radiocommunications Advisory Guidelines (Use of Electronic Counter Measures for Bomb Disposal Activities) 2010

 

THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY makes the following guidelines under section 262 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

Dated 31 March 2010

 

 

 

Chris Chapman
[signed]
Member

 

 

Brendan Byrne
[signed]
Member
/ General Manager

 

 

 

 

Australian Communications and Media Authority

______________________

 

Title

These Advisory Guidelines are called the Radiocommunications Advisory Guidelines (Use of Electronic Counter Measures for Bomb Disposal Activities) 2010.

 

Commencement

These Advisory Guidelines commence on the date of commencement of the Determination.

 

Definitions

 

(1)        In these Advisory Guidelines:

 

Act means the Radiocommunications Act 1992.

 

Advisory Guidelines means these advisory guidelines.

 

critical radiocommunications service means a radiocommunications service that is relied upon for provision of those physical facilities, supply chains, information technologies and communication networks which, if destroyed, degraded or rendered unavailable for an extended period, would significantly impact on the social or economic well-being of the nation, or affect Australia's ability to conduct national defence and ensure national security.

 

critical radiocommunications spectrum user means a radiocommunications licensee who operates or provides a critical radiocommunications service.

 

Determination means the Radiocommunications (Prohibited Devices) (Use of Electronic Counter Measures for Bomb Disposal Activities) Exemption Determination 2010.

 

emergency service  means a service provided by a Commonwealth, State or Territory government agency responsible for the protection and preservation of life and property from harm resulting from incidents and emergencies.

 

shielded environment means an operating environment where radiofrequency transmissions from the ECM device are confined by means of a screened room that provides attenuation that reduces the level of transmissions to the mean level of noise in the surrounding area.

[Note: This definition is drawn from the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Scientific Licence) Determination 1997, paragraph 8(2)(b).]

 


specified person means:

(i)       an ECM operator, trainee ECM operator or police officer in charge; or

(ii)    a person acting on behalf of an ECM operator or a police officer in charge.

 

unshielded environment means an operating environment that is not a shielded environment.

Note:  The following terms used in these Advisory Guidelines are defined in the Act:


ACMA

advisory guideline

aircraft

device

environment

import

interference

licensee

radiocommunication

radiocommunications device

radio emission

space object

spectrum

spectrum plan

supply

vessel


 

(2)       A term used in these Advisory Guidelines that is defined in the    Determination has the same meaning as it has in the Determination.

Note:  The following terms used in these Advisory Guidelines are defined in the Determination:


bomb

ECM

ECM device

ECM operator

ECM procedures

police force

police officer in charge

trainee ECM operator


 

 

Legislative Framework

 

The Act is the primary legislation under which the ACMA regulates the radiofrequency spectrum. In general the Act requires that the use of radiocommunications devices:

·        be licensed (Part 3.1); and

·        meet certain standards and other technical requirements (Part 4.1); and

·        be conducted so as to avoid causing disruption or unacceptable interference to other radiocommunications services (Part 4.2).

Where a device is considered to have been designed to deliberately disrupt or interfere with legitimate radiocommunications services, section 190 in Part 4.1 of the Act authorises the ACMA to declare that the operation or supply, or possession for the purpose of operation or supply, of that device is prohibited. The ACMA has prohibited the possession, operation and supply of mobile phone and radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) jammers, which are a type of ECM device.[1] Section 189 of the Act provides that it is an offence to knowingly possess, supply or operate a device that the ACMA has declared to be prohibited under section 190 of the Act.

Under section 27 of the Act, the ACMA may determine in writing that members of a specified class of persons are exempt from any or all of the provisions in Parts 3.1, 4.1 (including section 189) and 4.2 of the Act. The ACMA has made the Determination under section 27 of the Act which exempts specified police force personnel from possessing, supplying and operating ECM devices in specified circumstances. These circumstances relate to bomb disposal activities such as dealing with a bomb disposal emergency, maintenance of ECM devices, bomb disposal training and evaluation, and research and development. All of the circumstances also require the relevant activities to occur consistently with specified advisory guidelines in order for the exemption to apply[2]

Section 262 of the Act allows the ACMA to make written advisory guidelines about any aspect of radiocommunications or radio emissions, including interference with radiocommunications. The ACMA makes these Advisory Guidelines under section 262. These are the advisory guidelines specified in the Determination and should be read in conjunction with the Determination.

 

 

Purpose

 

The purpose of these Advisory Guidelines is to provide guidance to specified persons seeking to rely upon the Determination by:

 

  • clarifying the parameters within which acts or omissions relating to ECM devices in bomb disposal activities will be regarded by the ACMA to be exempt; and

 

  • specifying appropriate procedures and protocols in relation to the importation, possession, operation, supply and transportation of ECM devices.

 

Police forces have responsibility for, and expertise in, the management of bomb disposal activities. The purpose of these Advisory Guidelines is not to encroach upon that responsibility, but rather to assist police forces in ensuring that these activities have minimal adverse impact on legitimate and licensed radiocommunications without unduly compromising their operational objectives.  

Disruption of radiocommunications is a serious matter, particularly where those radiocommunications are used to provide emergency services or services that support critical infrastructure.

 

These Advisory Guidelines are also intended to complement the ECM procedures of law enforcement agencies relating to the use and handling of ECM devices in bomb disposal activities to:

(a)    avoid disruptive interference to radiocommunications, in particular, mobile phone networks and other critical radiocommunications services;

(b)   manage interference in order to minimise any adverse impact on licensed radiocommunications and related services, including by requiring effective notification procedures for stakeholders; and

(c)    ensure secure storage and transportation of ECM devices.

 

If an ECM procedure is found to be in conflict with any of the requirements of the Determination and these Advisory Guidelines, then, when the ACMA is considering any of the acts or omissions of specified persons, the requirements of the Determination and these Advisory Guidelines will take precedence. The ACMA suggests that each police force take those requirements into consideration during the development of new and existing ECM procedures.

 

Guidelines

 

1.      In considering whether an act or omission is exempt under the Determination, the ACMA will take into account:

(a)    the circumstance in which the act or omission occurred, including, where applicable, the emergency nature of that circumstance;

(b)   the actions of specified persons; and

(c)    the objects set out in section 3 of the Act.

 

 

Guidelines for handling of ECM devices

2.      An act or omission by a specified person, in relation to the importation, possession, supply or transportation of an ECM device will only be exempt from Parts 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2 of the Act if the act is done, or the omission occurs, in the circumstances described in subsection 6(2) of the Determination.

3.      Paragraph 6(2)(c) of the Determination requires the act or omission to occur consistently with these Advisory Guidelines in order for the exemption to apply.

4.      A person acting on behalf of an ECM operator or a police officer in charge in relation to the importation, possession, supply or transportation of an ECM device should be able, on request, to provide sufficient information in a timely manner to allow the ACMA to verify that the person is acting on behalf of the other party.

5.      ECM devices should be stored in a secure location.

6.      ECM devices should be transported by secure means.


7.      Subject to paragraph 8, possession of an ECM device for the purpose of supply is prohibited unless the following conditions are met:

(a)    the supplier has an ongoing supply contract, which relates to ECM devices, with a police force and can provide evidence of that contract to the ACMA upon request by the ACMA;

(b)   the ECM device is kept in a secure location; and

(c)    the supplier does not operate the device.

8.      Possession of an ECM device, for the purpose of supply by a person acting on behalf of specified persons, should be limited to the time reasonably necessary to effect delivery of the device to the ECM operator or police officer in charge.

9.      A person possessing an ECM device for the purpose of supply must not publicly advertise the ECM device for sale or supply, and should only privately advertise an ECM device to parties that can lawfully possess and/or operate the device under the Determination.

10.  Specified persons may only sell or otherwise transfer ownership of an ECM device if the purchaser or transferee is a person, organisation or force to whom an exemption relating to ECM devices applies.

11.  All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that sale or transfer to an overseas recipient occurs consistently with the laws of the country of destination.

12.  An ECM operator or police officer in charge may only dispose of an ECM device if the ECM device is rendered non-operational in a way that would reasonably prevent anyone other than a specified person from being able to make the device operational[3].

13.  In relation to paragraph 12 of these Advisory Guidelines, component parts of ECM devices may be retained to support the maintenance and operation of other ECM devices, insofar as such actions are within approved ECM procedures.

 

Guidelines for operation of ECM devices

14.  An act or omission by an ECM operator or a person acting on behalf of an ECM operator, in relation to the use of an ECM device will only be exempt from Parts 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2 of the Act if the act is done, or the omission occurs, in the circumstances described in subsection 4(2) of the Determination. Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Determination requires the act or omission to occur consistently with these Advisory Guidelines in order for the exemption to apply.

15.  An act or omission by a trainee ECM operator in relation to the use of an ECM device will only be exempt from Parts 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2 of the Act, if the act is done, or the omission occurs, in the circumstances described in subsection 5(2) of the Determination. Paragraph 5(2)(c) of the Determination requires the act or omission to occur consistently with these Advisory Guidelines in order for the exemption to apply.

16.  Where practicable, operation of an ECM device in the maintenance, training and evaluation, and research and development circumstances, as set out in sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Determination, should occur in a shielded environment or in a location where the interference potential can be substantially mitigated.

17.  ECM devices should be regularly tested and maintained in order to ensure that they are in good working order.

18.  Operation of an ECM device in an unshielded environment should be kept to a reasonable minimum time required to carry out duties during the circumstances specified in the Determination. Guidance on what constitutes a reasonable period of operation (in emergency or non-emergency circumstances) is set out in Table 1.

19.  The ACMA acknowledges that an act or omission in relation to the operation of an ECM device during a bomb disposal emergency may cause unavoidable interference to radiocommunications. However, the ACMA considers that any such interference will only be acceptable where the person reasonably believes that the relevant act or omission was necessary for the purpose of:

(a)    securing the safety of a vessel, aircraft or space object that was in danger; or

(b)   dealing with an emergency involving a serious threat to the environment; or

(c)    dealing with an emergency involving risk of death of, or injury to, persons; or

(d)   dealing with an emergency involving risk of substantial loss of, or substantial damage to, property.

 

Guidelines relating to mitigation of potential interference and notification 

Specified persons must act responsibly and with due diligence towards other radiocommunications spectrum users. The need for due diligence applies to the handling and operation of ECM devices in both emergency and non-emergency bomb disposal activities. However, the ACMA recognises that by definition an emergency precludes the opportunity for the same level of analysis, planning and early notification that is possible in the case of non-emergency circumstances. The notification requirements of the Determination and these Advisory Guidelines reflect that understanding.

 

20.  An act or omission by an ECM operator in relation to the use of an ECM device will only be exempt from Parts 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2 of the Act if the act is done, or the omission occurs, in the circumstances described in paragraphs 4(2)(c) and 4(2)(d) of the Determination.

21.  Paragraphs 4(2)(c) and 4(2)(d) of the Determination requires the act or omission to occur in accordance with:

(a)    except in the case of a bomb disposal emergency, subsection 11(1);

(b)   in the case of a bomb disposal emergency, subsection 11(2); and

(c)    section 12.

22.  Section 11 of the Determination does not assume any particular level of radiocommunications knowledge in specified persons. Specified persons should, when necessary to meet the conditions of section 11 of the Determination, seek the guidance of appropriately qualified radiocommunications engineering professionals.

23.  Notification requirements are limited to the ACMA and potentially affected critical radiocommunications spectrum users. However, all potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users should be considered in relation to mitigation of potential interference.

 

Notification to the ACMA

24.  The ACMA must be notified at least 14 days prior to the commencement of operation of an ECM device in an unshielded environment in a non-emergency circumstance.

25.  A report of any complaints received regarding interference caused by the operation of an ECM device must be provided to the ACMA within 72 hours after the complaint is received. The report should include:

(a)    the name of the complainant; and

(b)   the time and date of receipt of the complaint; and

(c)    the nature of the complaint; and

(d)   whether or not the complaint has been resolved.

26.  The ACMA understands that some bomb disposal activities may be security classified. Where information required by section 12 of the Determination, or paragraphs 24 or 25 of these Advisory Guidelines, is related to a classified operation, the ACMA will provide access to staff with an appropriate level of security clearance to receive the information. The ACMA will regard the information as confidential and will not release the information except with the agreement of relevant specified persons or where required to do so by law. The ACMA will seek the cooperation of police forces in providing as much information as possible to the ACMA where such information will assist the ACMA in conducting an interference investigation.

 

Notification to critical radiocommunications spectrum users

27.  Potentially affected critical radiocommunications spectrum users must be identified and notified at least 14 days prior to the commencement of operation of an ECM device in an unshielded environment in a non-emergency circumstance. However, upon notification, the critical radiocommunications spectrum users may agree in writing that operation may commence at an earlier date.

 

Content of notification

28.  The notice mentioned in paragraphs 24 and 27 of these Advisory Guidelines must specify:

(a)           Contact details of the police officer in charge or alternative contact as directed by the police officer in charge;

(b)          Intended time(s) and duration(s) of operation of ECM equipment; and

(c)           General location of ECM training or testing; and

(d)          Affected frequency band(s), from one or more of the below (as applicable):

                              (i)            < 30 MHz;

                            (ii)            30 – 137 MHz;

                           (iii)            137 – 520 MHz;

                          (iv)            520 – 825 MHz;

                            (v)            825 – 2170 MHz;

                          (vi)            2170 – 5925 MHz; or

                         (vii)            > 5925 MHz.

29.  On receiving a request from the ACMA the police officer in charge with responsibility for the operation of the ECM device must provide any additional information requested by the ACMA.

 

Further guidance on timeframes and acceptable means of notification is set out in the table in Appendix 1.

 

Further guidance on compliance with sections 11 and 12 of the Determination is set out in Appendix 2 to these Advisory Guidelines.  The information set out in Appendix 2 is a recommended approach provided for assistance only and does not form part of these Advisory Guidelines for the purposes of the Determination.

 

 


APPENDIX 1

 

Table 1: Reference guide for ECM operation

               Circumstance

 

Research and development circumstance

(as specified in section 10 of the Determination)

Maintenance Circumstance

(as specified in section 8 of the Determination)

Training and Evaluation Circumstance

(as specified in section 9 of the Determination)

Bomb Disposal Emergency

(as specified in section 7 of the Determination)

Duration of operation

The time reasonably required to test, observe and/or evaluate the performance of an ECM device, or procedures that can only be developed or evaluated while an operational ECM is present.

The time reasonably required to test the effective operation of the device.

The minimum time required to demonstrate procedures that the operation of an ECM device and/or to assess trainee ECM operators.

The time determined necessary by an police officer in charge of a bomb response unit or team or person acting under their authority.

Person responsible for notification and/or coordination.

Police officer in charge of a bomb response unit or team, or person acting under their authority.

Police officer in charge of a bomb response unit or team, or person acting under their authority.

Police officer in charge of a bomb response unit or team, or person acting under their authority.

Police officer in charge of a bomb response unit or team, or person acting under their authority.

Means of notification

Notification of a planned research and development circumstance should occur within a reasonable period in advance and in writing (via fax/email).

Notification of a planned maintenance circumstance should occur within a reasonable period in advance and in writing (via fax/email).

Notification of a planned research and development circumstance should occur within a reasonable period in advance and in writing (via fax/email).

Both notification and coordination of activities by any reasonable means.

Coordination by any reasonable means and in accordance with approved ECM procedures.

Timeframe of notification

At least 14 days prior to operation of ECM device.

At least 14 days prior to operation of ECM device.

At least 14 days prior to operation of ECM device.

As soon as practicable after the police officer in charge leading the response becomes aware of the emergency.


 

APPENDIX 2

Further information to assist specified persons

The ACMA recommends that specified persons adopt the following approach in order to comply with section 11 of the Determination and paragraph 27.[4] The ACMA emphasises that these suggested measures are not exhaustive and that each event will still need to be considered and dealt with individually on a case by case basis, depending on the facts. 

Suggested approach

Potentially affected critical radiocommunications spectrum users are to be identified and notified at least 14 days prior to commencement of the operation of an ECM device. The time required to complete these steps will vary and may be significant. Early assessment is advisable to ensure that notification will comply with the required timeframes.

 

The ACMA recommends a three phase approach to this process:

1.             Initial analysis;

2.             Further analysis and interference mitigation; and where required

3.             Notification.

At a minimum, specified persons must undertake an initial analysis to assess the potential interference impact. The analysis is likely to require professional radiocommunications engineering expertise. In line with the guidance provided in paragraph 22, specified persons should, where they themselves do not have that expertise, seek the guidance of appropriately qualified radiocommunications engineering professionals.

If potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users are identified, mitigation strategies may be employed to reduce interference levels to an acceptable level. The aim would be to reduce the level of potential interference and to minimise the number of potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users.

It may be necessary to consult with radiocommunications spectrum users in order to gain an understanding of the radiocommunications services they support, and the extent to which they may be adversely affected by the operation of ECM devices. This may also assist in identifying which potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users are critical radiocommunications spectrum users.

If interference cannot be mitigated, notification to those critical radiocommunications spectrum users who it is still considered will be potentially affected by operation of the ECM device must occur.

 

 

Initial analysis

Specified persons should analyse the potential for interference with other services, and identify potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users. This should entail:

1.             Determining the scope of the potential interference impact zone, having regard to:

(a)    Characteristics of the transmitting ECM device. These should include user-specified settings such as frequency range, effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), and antenna height above ground, as well as equipment-specific characteristics such as out-of-band emissions; and

(b)   Protection requirements for potentially affected services. These requirements vary between types of service, and are set out in ACMA spectrum planning documents, including Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions (RALIs)[5]. These include (but are not limited to):

                                                               i.      RALI LM 8 Frequency Assignment Requirements for the Land Mobile Service[6]; and

                                                             ii.      RALI FX 3 Microwave Fixed Services – Frequency Coordination.

2.             Identifying licensed users (using the ACMA RADCOM database) within the determined areas that operate on frequencies that may be affected by in-band or out-of-band emissions from the ECM device.[7]

3.             Quantifying interference levels into potentially affected receivers, noting device and site characteristics of both the interfering ECM device and any potentially affected user.

If interference levels fall within the prescribed limits (such as described in 1.b above), the activity may proceed and notification to spectrum users will not be required (as no-one will be potentially affected).[8]

In the event that an error gives rise to a complaint, the ACMA will consider the circumstances of each case.

Further analysis and interference mitigation

If interference levels exceed the prescribed limits, sound engineering judgment should be exercised in determining whether the amount of interference will be sufficient to cause an unacceptable level of interference to the potentially affected critical radiocommunications spectrum users, resulting in such problems as service outage or an unacceptable reduction in quality of service. If it is determined that an unacceptable level of interference to one or more licensed services will be caused, specified persons may be able to further refine their analysis using more specific parameters, and if necessary, mitigate the interference potential by adjusting the parameters of the proposed ECM operation. 

This will require application of sound engineering judgment and practices. Parameters to be taken into account in a refined analysis may include, but are not limited to:

1.             Time of ECM operation;

2.             Duration of ECM operation (or exposure time on a frequency affecting a given service);

3.             Terrain shielding;

4.             Indoor operation of ECM; and

5.             Antenna discrimination. This requires knowledge of the intended antenna azimuth/elevation and the specific antenna radiation pattern (including all side lobes).

Any mitigation strategies must be quantifiable, either through direct application of known specifications (such as those listed above) or thorough statistical analysis of the nature of affected services and/or the effects of such mitigation. If necessary, ECM operators may wish to vary key operating parameters (such as location, EIRP, frequencies or antenna height), to meet the prescribed interference limits or further minimise the risk of interference.

If mitigation strategies are successful and it is determined that there are no longer any potentially affected critical radiocommunications spectrum users identified, the activity may proceed without notification to spectrum users.[9] However, where interference cannot be completely mitigated, notification to those critical radiocommunications spectrum users who it is still considered will be potentially affected by operation of the ECM device must occur. Alternatively, specified persons could consider an alternative site or consult or negotiate with those potentially affected spectrum users.

In the event that an error gives rise to a complaint, the ACMA will consider the circumstances of each case.

Notification

Notified parties must include (as a minimum), critical radiocommunications spectrum users and the ACMA. These include any licensee operating services for which interruption could compromise health and/or safety of individuals, impede an emergency operation, or threaten the operation of critical infrastructure or the provision of critical services.

What constitutes a critical radiocommunications service may not always be obvious. However, as a basic guide, critical infrastructure may include systems which are depended on for the provision of:

-                     Defence

-                     Emergency services

-                     Law enforcement

-                     Environmental protection

-                     Transportation, including:

o       Air transport

o       Automotive transport

o       Maritime transport

-                     Utilities, including:

o       Mobile telecommunications (including, but not limited to, emergency telecommunications such as Triple Zero)

o       Electricity generation and distribution[10]

o       Water storage and delivery

o       Sewerage

-                     Navigation aids (which may be relied on in an emergency, e.g. GPS)

-                     Recovery, refinement and delivery of important natural resources.

This list should not be seen as exhaustive. It may be necessary to consult with potentially affected radiocommunications spectrum users in order to identify those that operate a critical radiocommunications service.

Notification to other (non-critical) potentially affected licensees should be considered (particularly in those circumstances where the potential impact to those users is great, but where other factors make mitigation infeasible).

Where needed, police officers in charge should also take reasonable steps to ensure that their operations do not conflict with the operations of other law enforcement units or emergency services.  This applies in both emergency and non-emergency circumstances. It may apply to both radiocommunications used by diverse parties responding to the same emergency incident, or to broader ongoing radiocommunications, such as the ‘Emergency Alert’ system which operates via terrestrial mobile phone networks. The ACMA considers that any conflict in this context is a matter to be resolved through communication and coordination between the various services involved.

 

 



[1] See the Notification that the Australian Communications and Media Authority prohibits the operation or supply, or possession for the purposes of operation and supply, of specified devices and the Radiocommunications (Prohibited Device) (RNSS Jamming Devices) Declaration 2004.

. 

[2] Paragraph 314A(2)(b) of the Act provides that an instrument made under the Act may make provision in relation to a matter by applying matter contained in any other instrument or writing as in force from time to time.

[3] For example, a component that cannot be easily acquired on the open market could be removed.

[4] Notification to the ACMA is required in all cases, in accordance with paragraph 24.

[5] RALIs can be downloaded from: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_2708.

[6] Base receiver usable sensitivity specifications for various land mobile services are contained in Section D4 of Annex D of RALI LM 8.

[7] Information about obtaining the Radiocommunications Record of Licences (RRL) Database on CD-ROM is on the ACMA website at: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_1613

[8] Notification to the ACMA is required in all cases, in accordance with paragraph 24.

[9] Notification to the ACMA is required in all cases, in accordance with paragraph 24.

[10] For example, interference to radio links carrying supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) information for generation and/or transmission of electricity may result in a power outage.