Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

By the way, are the Taser products FCC & IC approved?

After all, they do use radio frequencies (50 and 100 kHz). I bet they didn't think of it.

They do have a reputation of playing fast-and-loose with approvals. There was some sort of incident where they got caught mentioning UL approval that reportedly did not exist.

Link= Taser and UL

I'll have to check the FCC and Industry Canada databases. If nothing is listed under Taser, then time for a couple of nice e-mails. We can't have their products polluting the precious radio spectrum.


Update: Oh my. FCC:check. Industry Canada:check. Nothing listed. E-mails sent (copied below).

This is actually a very good test to see if the quasi-political influence of Taser extends into these branches of government. I'm sure it doesn't. Even the military has to obey the spectrum regulators.

The fact that these devices are apparently not listed is very interesting. Even if they had a waiver, then you'd still expect to see a record in each of the databases, and the assigned approval numbers.

And even if there is a special dispensation for governments and police forces, this would not apply to selling unlicensed products to the public, bounty hunters, security people in Best Buy stores, and so on.

Well, they got Al Capone on tax evasion; maybe the good old FCC will bring down Taser.

If this actually plays-out the way I hope it does, then I won't be able to stop laughing for years.

UPDATE: Not going well... See reply from Industry Canada below.
UPDATE: FCC replied again... (see bottom of post)

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Hello FCC,

TASER International Inc. of Scottsdale, AZ manufactures and sells a range of Conducted Energy Weapons ('Tasers') that are known to employ radio frequencies, such as 100kHz (Taser model X26) and 50 kHz (Taser model M26). The waveform of the X26 is not narrow-band; the M26 may be better in this regard.

Worse yet, these radio frequencies are conducted along long trailing wires that would likely act as antennas to some degree. These wires are not radio frequency shielded and do not remain as a closely-spaced pair for RF suppression. The stated voltages are as high as 50,000 volts, and currents as high as 15 or 18 amperes have been mentioned. This burst of RF repeats essentially continuously at either 11-25 Hz (M26) or 19 Hz (X26). Please note that although the manufacturer recommends only a five second burst, repeated as required, there have been reports of continuous activations as long as 2 minutes and 49 seconds. Also the manufacturer has reported that these devices are used about 620 times per day (211,300 times per year, primarily in the USA) and this rate of usage is likely to increase. Apparently they've sold hundreds of thousands of these devices.

The potential for radio frequency interference is obvious.

I did a quick search of FCC for the keyword 'taser' and nothing applicable was found. There are a couple of Taser FCC-ID files mentioning 433.92 MHz, but they obviously have nothing to do with what I'm asking about.

Can you please double-check to make sure that this manufacturer is following all the FCC rules, and that these products (X26 and M26, that quite obviously use radio frequencies) have been properly designed, tested, certified and licensed for sale and use in the USA?

Based on what I've seen, I can't believe that they are.

[REDACTED]

Best wishes and thank you very much.

[REDACTED]

//signed//
[REDACTED]

CC: [REDACTED]

===================================

Dear [REDACTED],

Thank you for contacting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This is an automated message to confirm that we have received your correspondence. We will review your information to determine how we can best serve you.

If you need to send additional information, you may reply back with this email, leaving the case number ([REDACTED]) in the subject line, or contact us at our toll free phone number 1-888-[REDACTED] (1-888-[REDACTED]) and reference the case number.

The Federal Communications Commission

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Hello Industry Canada's Certification Bureau,

TASER International Inc. of Scottsdale, AZ manufactures and sells a range of Conducted Energy Weapons ('Tasers') that are known to employ radio frequencies, such as 100kHz (Taser model X26) and 50 kHz (Taser model M26). The waveform of the X26 is not narrow-band; the M26 may be better in this regard.

Worse yet, these radio frequencies are conducted along long trailing wires that would likely act as antennas to some degree. These wires are not radio frequency shielded and do not remain as a closely-spaced pair for RF suppression. The stated voltages are as high as 50,000 volts, and currents as high as 15 or 18 amperes have been mentioned. This burst of RF repeats essentially continuously at either 11-25 Hz (M26) or 19 Hz (X26).

Please note that although the manufacturer recommends only a five second burst, repeated as required, there have been reports of continuous activations for as long as 2 minutes and 49 seconds. Also the manufacturer has reported that these devices are used about 620 times per day (211,300 times per year, primarily in the USA) and this rate of usage is likely to increase.

Apparently they've sold hundreds of thousands of these devices primarily in the USA, but also Canada. The number of the devices already in Canada is unknown, but the RCMP have admitted to 3000 uses in the six years up until December 2007. That's 500 times per year, or nearly twice per day. These devices may be in the hands of other organizations in Canada as well. So the actual usage in Canada is significant.

The potential for radio frequency interference is obvious, [REDACTED].

I did a search of the Industry Canada [REDACTED] for the company name 'taser' and nothing was found. This implies that perhaps they have overlooked their responsibilities to ensure that devices that use radio frequencies (including 50 or 100 kHz) and approved and licensed for sale and use in Canada.

Can you please double-check to make sure that this manufacturer is following all the Industry Canada rules, and that these products (X26 and M26, that quite obviously use radio frequencies) have been properly designed, tested, certified and licensed for sale and use in the Canada?

Based on what I've seen, I can't believe that they are. In fact it seems likely that they violate many EMI/EMC design principles.

[REDACTED]

[REDACTED]

Best wishes and thank you very much.

[REDACTED]

//signed//
[REDACTED]

CC: [REDACTED]


PS: [REDACTED]

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In the interest of being as accurate as possible, here is the bad news (received late today 7-Jan-08) from the ever-efficient, quick to respond, Canadian spectrum regulator:

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Dear [REDACTED],

The use
[and possession I believe, I hope...] of Tasers in Canada is prohibited except for Law Enforcement agencies.

[REDACTED]

Tasers are considered as unintentional radiators and since they are operating with frequencies above 10 kHz, they would normally have to comply with the standard ICES-003 (Interference Causing Equipment Standard - Digital Apparatus) but they are exempted from compliance by section 1.2.2 (i) of ICES-003.

[This standard and section basically states that the device is an unintentional emitter, not a transmitter, is battery powered, not AC powered, and is less than 1.7MHz. I'll pay $10 to the first person to 'do a Marconi', span the Atlantic with a taser-generated signal. I'm offering only $10 because I don't think that it would be all that difficult. Anyway, back to IC's response...]

Therefore Tasers do not have to be certified under an Industry Canada standard and/or be licensed to be used by Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies.


[REDACTED]

Best regards,

[REDACTED]

[REDACTED]
Industry Canada
[REDACTED]

=========================================

Oh well, it was worth a shot.

My sincere thanks to I.C. for their detailed and quick response. Hey! Any chance of reconsidering the taser as a 'medical device' that needs to put under the ISM rules? After all, it is often used by First Responders to 'help' (sic) people that are in medical distress. It certainly affects the bodily functions, even the heart on occasion. This is something to keep in mind if the definitions allow the reconsideration and a change is required or desired. Or how about opening up the spark ignition section to include tasers? Quite similar in many ways.

UPDATE: FCC is on the case (if any).

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Dear [REDACTED]

You are receiving this email in response to [REDACTED].

Thank you for contacting the FCC Consumer Center.

Your information has been passed to [REDACTED] for further review. Enforcement actions that may or may not be pending is sensitive information and supplied only on a need to know basis.

Information supplied by tips may be passed on to the appropriate office/bureau for action without acknowledgment to the originator of that information.

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