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Thread: Recommendaton for U.S. Attorney to review Motorola Solutions Inc. business practices for RICO violations

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    Default Recommendaton for U.S. Attorney to review Motorola Solutions Inc. business practices for RICO violations

    This is an open letter to John R. Lausch Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. This district is where Motorola Solutions Inc. headquarters (North America) resides, thus it is in his jusdiction.

    I am concerned certain business practices, specifically selling fee-based firmware upgrades for the ASTRO25 series portable/mobile radios, which are also commonly known as "XTS" and "XTL" series, used by public-safety and government users, may be influenced by corrupt practices.

    The Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) specifically makes provisions for the investigation and prosecution of organized criminal conduct, within a corporation.

    The crimes I am alleging Motorola Solutions Inc. has been engaged in, relate to artificially creating "bugs" (computer code errors) for the purpose of enticing a customer to pay for a firmware upgrade, to correct the artificial "bug" which did not exist in the previous version of firmware. It is highly unlikely dozens of features/functions mysteriously stopped working properly, to the point where a firmware update is required to correct these issues.

    Given the critical nature of public-safety communications equipment, how many (quantity) of these devices are deployed, the distribution costs of the software/firmware and the potential liability involved, it seems very unlikely Motorola would've retained the employment/services of any contractual or permanent employee, if they had unintentionally "broken" so many features in firmware, over the last 15 years this product line has been marketed.

    The likelihood of an organized conspiracy to generate revenue for the company seems much more realistic, given what Motorola Solutions Inc. stands to gain from the revenue generated by selling firmware upgrades to customers.

    A conservative estimate of 150,000 subscriber devices deployed within the United States seems reasonable. Many large departments maintain thousands of these radios within their fleets. At a cost of US$75 per subscriber, per upgrade, a total gross profit of $11,250,000.00 is achieved, each time a customer wishes (or is forced to) upgrade their subscriber firmware. Is is reasonable to assume this financial figure has easily exceeded US$100,000,000.00 from world-wide, life-of-device upgrades.

    When a customer who has purchased a radio with a particular version of firmware (R12.00.00 for example), pays to upgrade their radio firmware to R13.00.00, they expect the superseding firmware will offer better performance than the previous version. In nearly every firmware release, there are "known issues" or "issue updates" which are notated. Some of these "issues" cause defect to a previously-functioning radio, to the point where the feature or function in question, becomes unreliable, unstable or causes system-wide degradation of service for other users.

    Motorola then offers an "update" to fix these "bugs". Often, the update may be supplied free-of-charge, if the customer complains about it loudly enough or identifies the "bug" within a specific window of time. Otherwise, the complimentary firmware upgrade will cost the customer money.

    It is unethical to intentionally break a functioning piece of public safety gear, in order to stimulate revenue/financial gain for a company.

    Attached is a PDF document which contains a complete history of ASTRO25-family firmware release notes. Specifically, items listed as "Issue update" are fixes for specific "bugs". Often, those "bugs" (features or functions) were not broken in prior releases. Examples of intentional sabotage of working features are as follows:

    R12.00.17 firmware:
    - Mode change to APCO 25 after power up on Type II, XTS/XTL cannot affiliate
    - If XTS/XTL is powered up on an invalid TG, it will affiliate every two seconds
    - XTS/XTL will continually deregister and re-register with ARS server
    - In SNet, XTS/XTL will display FAIL 001 if changed from APCO to Type II

    R12.00.18 firmware:
    - Rebanded XTS/XTL can't communicate with Enhanced Privacy Plus systems

    R14.00.00 firmware:
    - XTS/XTL Dropped Announcement Group Audio on Smart X System

    R14.00.03 firmware:
    - XTS/XTL out of range even in strong signal
    - XTS/XTL may not roam properly and cannot affiliate to a site
    - XTS/XTL forces Conventional channel into Direct mode in TalkGroup Scan
    - XTS2500 B model ABC switch appears to switch positions by itself
    - Out of Range tone still plays when tones are muted

    R15.00.00 firmware:
    - Subscriber unit lock-up

    R15.00.07 firmware:
    - Mobile FLASHport upgrades for radios with O5, M5 and O3 CH fail
    - Long audio holes in Conventional scan
    - Multiple issues with slow roaming, affiliation and missed calls

    R15.00.09 firmware:
    - Mobiles intermittently reset or go into Maintenance mode

    R16.00.00 firmware:
    - XTS missing audio related to MSEL

    R16.00.01 firmware:
    - XTL5000 not affiliating to the system
    - Multiple issues with slow roaming, affiliation and missed calls (4M radios only)

    R17.00.00
    - Slow scan in Linear Simulcast

    R17.00.02
    - Subscriber Reset in P25 Trunking

    R17.01.01
    - Mobile Subscriber displays 09/10 error or fails to receive/transmit

    R19.00.00
    - XTS5000 intermittently unable to unmute on a Digital TG in multisystem scan

    R19.50.00
    - Telephone interconnect/Private call will not terminate


    These are just a small sampling of the investigation-worthy behavior I'm describing. It is impossible for some of these features to have become "broken", when they were previously working for more than a decade (or longer, in some instances).

    Many of the suspicious items outlined above are critical failures, meaning for some customers, they would have had no choice but to upgrade (pay) for firmware updates, to correct "bugs" introduced in the last upgrade they performed.

    It's important to be aware these radios take 5-15 minutes each, to ugprade. For a large fleet of 2,000 radios, this is a massive undertaking and costs the customer a significant financial sum to complete.

    In subsequent years, Motorola decided to stop the practice of charging for firmware upgrades. This applies to the Motorola TRBO (MOTOTRBO) line, the APX family and other low-tier units.

    I'm making this complaint after a radio engineer in Canada was recently charged with fraud, for circumventing the process of paying Motorola money for firmware upgrades, so he could maintain a stable fleet of radios for emergency services workers. Motorola claims they were defrauded approximately $18,000 through this "scheme". That's like a break-and-enter thief complaining they got a flat tire from a nail on a victim's driveway, and they're entitled to have their repair bill covered.

    Please investigate this alleged scheme to determine if there's merit to my concerns.
    Attached Files Attached Files


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    What's the predicate offense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiredwrx View Post
    What's the predicate offense?
    I'm not in a position to make specific allegations, but if I was an investigator, I would look at fraud, theft, money laundering (after-the-fact), potential obstruction of justice and embezzlement, just to name some. None of us, including myself, are aware of how many people may have conspired or participated in any alleged wrong-doing. I'll leave it up to the professionals to make those determinations.

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    Motorola's sole argument can only be:

    "We are perpetually incompetent and like to torture our customers"

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    If you wanted to create a list of 'similar' issues with APX and Trbo radios, start with collating field service data which has been published and you would have an extensive pool of data to review.

    Motorola will argue code is complex and written by humans and we all err but the counter is what the hell is the QA dept up to? as they are tasked with stopping such bugs from reaching production released code and ensure backwards compatibility with key features or systems unless they publish features are now decommissioned.
    I do not believe in political correctness BS leftest tripe
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    Quote Originally Posted by techman View Post
    If you wanted to create a list of 'similar' issues with APX and Trbo radios, start with collating field service data which has been published and you would have an extensive pool of data to review.

    Motorola will argue code is complex and written by humans and we all err but the counter is what the hell is the QA dept up to? as they are tasked with stopping such bugs from reaching production released code and ensure backwards compatibility with key features or systems unless they publish features are now decommissioned.
    Code doesn't break itself. It just randomly changes? I get that code can be improved upon, but some of the stuff in the changelog is just batshit crazy. It can't happen THAT often. The source code for unrelated features is being tampered with.

    As for TRBO and APX, Motorola does not charge for firmware updates. They charge for CPS subscriptions, and firmware updates accompany those subscriptions. Even I, do not have a problem with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    Code doesn't break itself. It just randomly changes? I get that code can be improved upon, but some of the stuff in the changelog is just batshit crazy. It can't happen THAT often. The source code for unrelated features is being tampered with.
    Code doesn't break itself, providing it has not been played with or changes in hardware solution trigger issues. The question around QA I referred to is simple - they are either doing their job and stopping issues getting to a production release via structured testing plans, or just incompetent, or as some have sumised, adding in bugs to keep update dollars flowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    As for TRBO and APX, Motorola does not charge for firmware updates. They charge for CPS subscriptions, and firmware updates accompany those subscriptions. Even I, do not have a problem with that.
    subscription model or not - faulty software/firmware - the cost of rolling out updates from shops out to customers due to bugs in software, impact to 'mission critical users' is a significant cost which has to be funded (for govt it our taxes). People do not have an issue paying sub fees to access software but there is an expectation the updates are getting better and not ridden with holes, supplier should be learning to write better code and learning from mastakes feed back to development teams.

    This forum alone, over the years a lot of discussion has taken place on and off that you do not touch software release for production until it as got to subversion 5 otherwise your an alpha or beta tester.

    I would content based on XTS/L series radios upto current release products there is still significent issues in there processes. Paying subscription is annuity revenue channel for what was the old way of doing business but depending on the vendor, subscription can also cover the cost of repairs and also software/firmware update which is an improvement.

    The action bring put forward it a good first step but fundermently is highlights a bigger more issue when looking at longer time frame.
    I do not believe in political correctness BS leftest tripe
    Suck it up, HTFU and make the place great again! Work never killed anyone who did it safely

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    Let’s not also forget the safety of the end user.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    The crimes I am alleging Motorola Solutions Inc. has been engaged in, relate to artificially creating "bugs" (computer code errors) for the purpose of enticing a customer to pay for a firmware upgrade, to correct the artificial "bug" which did not exist in the previous version of firmware. It is highly unlikely dozens of features/functions mysteriously stopped working properly, to the point where a firmware update is required to correct these issues.
    It's very important point and unacceptable, relate to Motorola selling firmware upgrades to fix these bugs. Many departments does not pays to upgrade their radio for fixing issues (Bugs), causing safety issues and when you're talking about officer's safety, life or death situation, this problem must be fixed immediately without cost before there is a tragedy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ohmletzboom View Post
    It's very important point and unacceptable, relate to Motorola selling firmware upgrades to fix these bugs. Many departments does not pays to upgrade their radio for fixing issues (Bugs), causing safety issues and when you're talking about officer's safety, life or death situation, this problem must be fixed immediately without cost before there is a tragedy.
    That right there is the nail to hit. Motorola gets paid MILLIONS for each system... even a modest single-site trunked system can become a $1mil project for MSI when talking about "engineering" and sales. Once Motorola gets that money - they are almost ALWAYS given as terms of the contract "system performs as specified in bid specs". Motorola sells buggy/broken product. Department(s) PAY MSI for the fix. Rinse. Repeat.

    Maybe my instance above isn't the norm... but it definitely is for a specific statewide trunked system that JUST went full P25 here a year ago. Now of course XTS/XTL series are mothballed and the APX series is "free" for updates - but that didn't stop MSI for extorting our state for "upgrade" fees for every radio on the state system for the past 15+ years. And I can tell you right now there's plenty of departments running XTS/XTL products still... most of which are on firmware R17 or lower just for that reason.

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    If anyone reading this thread knows of an experienced attorney who would potentially consider a class-action lawsuit on behalf of customers, perhaps point them to this thread.

    I have absolutely no legal or business ties to this matter. I only brought up the issue because it needs to be addressed, and Motorola should be penalized if found to be liable for these actions.

    The US Attorney does not appear to be interested, as they did not respond when I sent him this letter. Thatís fine, as I did not expect to be taken seriously. Thatís the problem with this whole situation and Motorola. Theyíve gotten away with things for far too long.

    Spread the word. Get people thinking. Get people educated. If I am wrong, so be it. I believe the facts here do speak for themselves.

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    I totally agree with the letter that Mars has written about Motorola needs to be investigated and I also wonder who are the major stockholders of the company and could they have put pressure on the CEO and or the dept heads for R&D to make "mistakes" with the code programming so they can sell and or push the update and get $$$ for each fix. What about sending a copy of that letter to DOJ HQ in DC and the solicitor general of the US as well? If an officer ever loses their life because of a faulty radio computer code done by Motorola then all bets are off the table as well..... Food for thought

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    If anyone reading this thread knows of an experienced attorney who would potentially consider a class-action lawsuit on behalf of customers, perhaps point them to this thread.

    I have absolutely no legal or business ties to this matter. I only brought up the issue because it needs to be addressed, and Motorola should be penalized if found to be liable for these actions.

    The US Attorney does not appear to be interested, as they did not respond when I sent him this letter. That’s fine, as I did not expect to be taken seriously. That’s the problem with this whole situation and Motorola. They’ve gotten away with things for far too long.

    Spread the word. Get people thinking. Get people educated. If I am wrong, so be it. I believe the facts here do speak for themselves.
    The only problem I see is that /\/\, being a multi-billion dollar company, will tie you (or whoever the plaintiff is) up in court so long that you'll eventually run out of money. It's what a lot of big companies do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorcoachdoug View Post
    I totally agree with the letter that Mars has written about Motorola needs to be investigated and I also wonder who are the major stockholders of the company and could they have put pressure on the CEO and or the dept heads for R&D to make "mistakes" with the code programming so they can sell and or push the update and get $$$ for each fix. What about sending a copy of that letter to DOJ HQ in DC and the solicitor general of the US as well? If an officer ever loses their life because of a faulty radio computer code done by Motorola then all bets are off the table as well..... Food for thought
    If you get a little creative with google or duckduckgo searches and dig around, you will soon see numbers of cases worldwide where motorola has been accused of, evidence provided which would have them convicted and about to go to court and then they settle out of court and nothing else is heard afterward. motorola is not the only one but the practice is somewhat normal these days.

    Odds are motorla is a big donor to all and sundry in govt and as we all know don't get between a polly and a pot of money, so there even less reason for rules to be changed.
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    Mars
    I would like permission to take your post and forward it to a attorney friend that I know here in the Washington DC metro area as he might know a few attorneys who might be interested in this as well.Was just thinking and why not talk to a few of the larger public safety departments here in the US and Canada about how many radios are going "bat nuts" at the wrong time and or just totally refuse to work at all unless MSI "fixes it" for a price? I do know that the fire and police department here in the county that I live in here in Maryland have their own radio shop but I do not know what arrangements they have made with MSI about programming and or upgrading their radios. I do know they have at least 2500 portables alone in their inventory

    MCDoug

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorcoachdoug View Post
    Mars
    I would like permission to take your post and forward it to a attorney friend that I know here in the Washington DC metro area as he might know a few attorneys who might be interested in this as well.Was just thinking and why not talk to a few of the larger public safety departments here in the US and Canada about how many radios are going "bat nuts" at the wrong time and or just totally refuse to work at all unless MSI "fixes it" for a price? I do know that the fire and police department here in the county that I live in here in Maryland have their own radio shop but I do not know what arrangements they have made with MSI about programming and or upgrading their radios. I do know they have at least 2500 portables alone in their inventory

    MCDoug
    Itís an open letter available to anyone on the Internet. You are more than welcome to do anything you wish with it. Thank you for being interested!

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    Great link RFI-EMI-Guy!
    I've been advising our Chief for years that if you put a Motorola sticker on things, it doubles the cost. We have to go to our financial department and local council for funding when we make major upgrades, their eyes roll every time they hear Motorola.. To bad soft features that are tied to the brick are not transferable like software is on my laptop.

    Motorola will sell you the handcuffs and charge you installation.

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