The sad part about it is this - the Technician class license material is not at all difficult to learn.
I passed the Technician, General, and Advanced in one session, with an evening's study. There was more arbitrary material (frequencies and the old names for satellite modes) in Extra so I had to come back for that. And it took 90 days to get to where I could do 13 WPM reliably and pass the 20 WPM test by only writing down material after "is", but nobody has to do that any more.
We had a 5.29 repeater in the SF Bay area that took years to pull, but got pulled. It turned out the control operator had moved away! He said he'd left the repeater in someone else's care, but if that person existed they did not police the repeater.
If you care about this, start writing letters to FCC. They really do enforcement if pushed, the letter file is here.
It would be legal to send a message in the clear, with a digital signature along with it. You can't obscure the message.
It might make sense if governed properly, but the filer didn't propose any means of governance and didn't even know about HSMM-MESH when he wrote his proposal. He's a winlink node owner and his intent was to use GNUPG to encode text messages, and did not consider the abuses that could happen with TCP/IP. So, I am spending the whole day to write an FCC comment and hopefully fix this.
They get surplus business band radios, mostly. One reason is that the Federal Government has required several frequency, bandwidth, and mode changes of municipal radio users, so almost-new radios that were too wide or didn't run APCO-25 became available at low prices.
For the most part, commercial radios are really overpriced. It is not unusual for a police car transceiver to come in at $5000. FCC certified GMRS radios seem rather overpriced for their performance. There are cheap chinese radios for land-mobile which are not certified for GMRS, these are really just broad-banded ham radios.
Actually, it would be a simple matter to gateway https back to http. And since the rule prohibits encryption for the purpose of obscuring information, authentication through encryption is OK. Your password need not be transmitted in the clear. Just don't obscure the message traffic.
In general, though, the web doesn't belong on ham radio just because it's private use. There are lots of other services for private communications. There is also of course the fact that advertising isn't allowed on ham radio, because the rules prohibit commercial use.
OK, since you are not interested in supporting censorship, I will give you some uncensored material.
You snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of eldeberry! I fart in your general direction!
Now, that really contributed to the conversation, didn't it?
It's not dead. Actually, there are more hams today in the US than at any time in history.
But if you want to kill it, making it just like the internet might be a good way.
A lot of us don't consider swear words useful traffic. Just annoying immaturity. And we can send any useful traffic that we don't want to hide. Stuff you want to hide belongs on the ample resources already provided for that.
As it happens, you can authenticate using encryption and have digital signatures within the current rules. You just can't use encryption to obscure the message.
We really like that it's not like the internet.
All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly