I purchased a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and followed the link printed on its back side (beaconregistration.noaa.gov). Following the instructions on the page, I am somewhat put off by the message displayed at the registration page:


This is a United States Department of Commerce computer system, which may be accessed and used only for official Government business by authorized personnel. Unauthorized access or use of this computer system may subject violators to criminal, civil, and/or administrative action.

All information on this computer system may be intercepted, recorded, read, copied, and disclosed by and to authorized personnel for official purposes, including criminal investigations. Access or use of this computer system by any person whether authorized or unauthorized, constitutes consent to these terms.


I would not consider myself authorized personnel, but I cannot see any other suitable option for registering my beacon.

Can I just ignore this message?

  • 3
    Well Captain Yossarian, there's one small catch: registration of the beacon is also required by law. Good luck!
    – requiem
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


This is actually a fairly standard warning message for U.S. Government systems. It dates back to a 1986 law (Public Law 99-474) and a time when it was considered necessary to display such warnings in order for computer crime prosecutions to be successful. (Otherwise a person might argue they didn't know they were trespassing, or something along those lines.)

While it appears you can also register by mail or fax, I would have no problem using the online system to register a beacon. It is the stated purpose of the site and consistent with the directives given both on the beacon and on the noaa.gov site itself. If it helps, I would also argue that those instructions constitute authorization, though I seriously doubt you would ever have need to make that argument.

  • 1
    Thanks, I registered now and everything suggests that this is what they intend people to do. No Homeland Security kicking in my door so far.
    – helm
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 18:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.