Identify Friend or Foe

The IFF protocol throughout the Known Worlds is consistent. Each IFF box has a radio responder as well as a QDE squawker. It is supposed to provide basic information to traffic controllers and other vessels as to the nature of a ship under sail. IFF codes have checksums that are updated with every buoy contact, so it is a non-trivial problem to fake an IFF of a specific polity.

Of course there are polities in the Known Worlds whose primary export is IFF codes, polities like the Saganama Enclave, the Republic of Barbossa, and Lignen Station are examples of such. They are legal but suspicious.

It's said that some polities' intelligence services have multi-code transponders so that they appear as several different ships whenever they like.

If someone isn't squawking IFF, they probably do not have very good intentions.
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