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Old 11-20-2013, 3:43 PM
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Default Washington, DC - Fire/EMS Department Considers Encryption

According to the Washington City Paper, the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department (DCFEMS or formerly known as DCFD) is considering some encryption on its radio system.

They're citing the events such as the Navy Yard shooting, as well as "...emergency radio streaming on the Internet is "a potentially huge problem.""

Read more: Fire Department Considers Encrypting Scanner Traffic
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Old 11-20-2013, 6:34 PM
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That's awful.
It sounds like they are just making up reasons to do it without any evidence to support those reasons.
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Old 11-20-2013, 7:00 PM
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Nuff said...
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:31 PM
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I did not hear a heck of a lot of DC Fire/EMS radio traffic the day of the Navy Yard shootings or at least not any traffic that I would have considered important enough to encrypt. On the other hand like the DC Police, encrypting DC Fire/EMS just hides the ineptitude of the department which is probably why they are considering this (DC still has serious issues with their EMS department). The real question is why the press and citizens groups of the District (which are usually very proactive) let them get away with doing it.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:36 PM
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+1 to the above!!
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Old 11-21-2013, 7:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownlab View Post
...encrypting DC Fire/EMS just hides the ineptitude of the department which is probably why they are considering this (DC still has serious issues with their EMS department)...
It goes deeper than that. Maintenance on their suppression fleet is appalling. I am confident that this has little to do with "security" other than assuring the security of incompetent decision makers. Once shades are installed on the public's window into the department's operations (as well as off-duty firefighters and EMS workers), the department can proceed to correct its problems not through appropriate action, but through a public affairs program. Then they could shrug off whistleblowers as disgruntled employees or discipline/terminate them for breaching operational security (that wheel that fell off turning the corner can be exploited by some bogeyman hiding in the shadows, don't you know). The men and women of DCFD deserve better, and with encryption, the public's ability to judge the efficacy of the organization (not the grass-roots firefighters/EMS workers) is reduced to nothing more than he-said/she-said finger-pointing. And then, the only information they can have to formulate that opinion will be a trail of stale and biased press releases.

There's encryption for the right reasons, and then there's encryption because transparency endangers the entrenched dysfunctional culture and exposes senior management. I strongly believe this is the latter.
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Old 11-21-2013, 8:34 AM
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Default Encryption

This poor excuse for a fire chief will do anything he can to hide the problems within DCFD. Of course encryption comes with a cost and I am sure that he doesn't worry about it.
The media listen to these transmissions as do alot of us. They have the resources to get this idiotic idea put to sleep.
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Old 11-21-2013, 3:39 PM
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Default Someone to write to

Is there anyone worth talking to in the mayors office about this? Would any sort of action or petitions be worth it?

I think the transparency benefits far out weigh any potential security risks.

- Luke
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Old 11-21-2013, 4:08 PM
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Funny, how government is increasingly making itself less accessible to the public yet they are increasingly snooping on people like you and me.
BG..
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Old 11-21-2013, 4:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButchGone View Post
Funny, how government is increasingly making itself less accessible to the public yet they are increasingly snooping on people like you and me.
BG..
Nobody Encrypts Fire Talkgroups..... Its all talk right now. There always needs to be a balance in the trunk system for what departments are ENC and what departments don't need it. Fire GUYS are the good people. Nothing to hide. They will be at your door step at 3am in the morning to save your life no questions asked.

Its all silliness right now
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Old 11-21-2013, 9:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3MTA344 View Post
Nobody Encrypts Fire Talkgroups..... Its all talk right now. There always needs to be a balance in the trunk system for what departments are ENC and what departments don't need it. Fire GUYS are the good people. Nothing to hide. They will be at your door step at 3am in the morning to save your life no questions asked.

Its all silliness right now
What do you mean nobody encrypts fire talkgroups? City of Philadelphia has had encrypted fire tacs and special ops (rescue, hazmat, etc) for years.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3MTA344 View Post
Nobody Encrypts Fire Talkgroups..... Its all talk right now.
There are many fire departments across the US that are running either partial or full encryption. In fact, DCFD already has a handful of encrypted TG's on their system...
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:30 PM
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They need to encrypt for liability reasons and all their awful responses as of late.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:14 PM
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Default DCFD encryption proposal

This is another way to cover up the incompetence of the fire chief. However they can encrypt but they still
have employees who are in the know and they talk.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
There are many fire departments across the US that are running either partial or full encryption. In fact, DCFD already has a handful of encrypted TG's on their system...
Phoenix Fire has some encrypted talkgroups as well. Much of what they do is in the clear but not all.

Might as well get used to it. Thanks to the built in encryption capabilities of today's P25 radio systems, encryption of whatever they want is literally a mouse click away.

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Old 12-01-2013, 10:08 AM
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Any Public Safety entity that is considering encryption can be dissuaded if the public demands a citizens committee be installed along with encryption. True, there are those occasions where sensitive information may need to be deceminated quickly, meaning using the routine channels instead of MDT's, etc. but by and large, the comms can remain open to reception on scanners. However, once that is taken away, there must be a way of reviewing the comms by a committee to ascertain the validity of the facts. Say for example you called the police and asked them to respond to a break-in at your home... They arrive two hours later... The responding officer says he just got the call, raising a question of unacceptable response times. Taking the department's word for why that happens needs to be verified and checking response times using the recorded comms is how it's done. Insisting a committee of citizens be empowered to review these comms is really something the police don't want to deal with, and they back away from total encryption. But that takes responsible citizens to enact. If nobody objects and lists the reasons why encryption may not be the way to go, and demands a committee if encryption does get approval, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It's our government to get involved with. So we need to get involved. And thanks to those who are already involved.
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Old 12-01-2013, 5:46 PM
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The main thing DCFD doesn't want the public knowing about the Navy Yard incident is their response times.

Encryption to cover up incompetence should be a fireable offensse.
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Old 12-01-2013, 6:20 PM
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Which is what n1chu was commenting on. Lord only knows what kinds of shenanigans go on through encrypted channels because they know that very few are able to actually hear what's going on. It even happens in 'open' systems. I hear fire all the time in our systems blame SIMS (their off air response management system) being down for their lack of good response times, so I can only imagine what goes on when no one can hear it at all.

An accountability committee is a very good idea, and would probably be something that PD and FD would fight having, which at least for a time would keep encryption just an idea!!
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Old 12-01-2013, 8:18 PM
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Maybe to prevent encryption I would go for that idea, but citizen's committee's are very bad ideas for the emergency services. They usually end up being a group of people who don't know the difference between a police car and a fire truck trying to Monday Morning Quarterback police operations.
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Old 12-02-2013, 2:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc8 View Post
They usually end up being a group of people who don't know the difference between a police car and a fire truck trying to Monday Morning Quarterback police operations.
The same groups of people that wind up commenting in these anti-encryption threads.
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