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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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Old 04-20-2013, 7:45 PM
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I am not sure if this is the right place for this, if it's not please let me know.
Recently I have seen a lot of people opening Facebook pages called xxx county scanner, is this legal or not? Can they get into trouble from this?
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:09 AM
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No, You can broadcast anything you want as long as It's not encrypted now If you broadcast though broadcastify ( radiorefernce ) they do have rules, like it's strictly dispatch channels only, which means no swat, ncic records , etc
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Old 04-21-2013, 8:20 AM
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Intercepting radio communications and disclosing the contents to third parties could be considered a federal crime. It is rarely enforced but that could change.

Refer to
47 U.S.C. § 605 and 18 U.S.C. § 2511
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Old 04-21-2013, 8:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nd5y View Post
Intercepting radio communications and disclosing the contents to third parties could be considered a federal crime. It is rarely enforced but that could change.

Refer to
47 U.S.C. § 605 and 18 U.S.C. § 2511
I'm tending agree that the above quoted Federal law would apply to streaming.

How is streaming different than tweeting or otherwise disseminating protected transmissions?
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Old 04-21-2013, 9:05 AM
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As far as I know listening to streaming live audio is the considered the same as listening to it on your own receiver. Disclosing the contents (telling other people who are not present what you hear) is what people have been prosecuted for in the past.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:22 AM
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As far as I know listening to streaming live audio is the considered the same as listening to it on your own receiver. Disclosing the contents (telling other people who are not present what you hear) is what people have been prosecuted for in the past.
It's a fine line, but you may be right. I guess only a communication law expert would be able to sort it out.

Meanwhile, tweeting, or posting what you hear on a Facebook page is probably not kosher.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:06 PM
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These paging and incident notification services such as Alertpage, Inc. and IPN Incident Page Network do this all day long with no issues. You can receive real time text event details via email, phone, or pager, as well as on Twitter, including photos. They also provide more details than a feed just streaming the dispatch channel. These services are also used by federal and local law enforcement, public safety, and news agencies.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:40 PM
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These paging and incident notification services such as Alertpage, Inc. and IPN Incident Page Network do this all day long with no issues. You can receive real time text event details via email, phone, or pager, as well as on Twitter, including photos. They also provide more details than a feed just streaming the dispatch channel. These services are also used by federal and local law enforcement, public safety, and news agencies.
Well, that being the case, then it's one of them thar laws that is enforced rarely and probably selectively!
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Old 09-08-2013, 2:17 AM
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I know this thread is a few months old but I just happened across it and thought it was important to have the correct info.

NONE of this is against the law. Here is the federal criminal code in relevant part;

18 USC § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited

(g) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter or chapter 121 of this title for any person—
(i) to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public;
(ii) to intercept any radio communication which is transmitted—
(I) by any station for the use of the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress;
(II) by any governmental, law enforcement, civil defense, private land mobile, or public safety communications system, including police and fire, readily accessible to the general public;

NO ONE has ever been prosecuted for relaying to a third party the information heard in the lawful way described above. That is because it is NOT ILLEGAL. There is no law which says it is illegal to tell a third party something which you and the rest of the general public have lawful access to. That would be absurd. "Everyone can hear the information but no one can tell anyone else they heard it" would be the result.
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Old 09-08-2013, 7:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregsto View Post
I know this thread is a few months old but I just happened across it and thought it was important to have the correct info.

There is no law which says it is illegal to tell a third party something which you and the rest of the general public have lawful access to. That would be absurd. "Everyone can hear the information but no one can tell anyone else they heard it" would be the result.
That is in fact the law.

SEC. 705. [47 U.S.C. 605] UNAUTHORIZED PUBLICATION OF
COMMUNICATIONS.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf

Go to that document and search for the header I provided.

That will tell you what the law actually says. As for enforcement, the FCC has indicated that it (semi-unofficially) sees no legal issue with retransmission of radio communications via the Internet, or with incident alerting systems. However, the statute gives the option to an "aggrieved party" to file a civil suit if they so desire. It also allows states to further regulate interception devices that might be used to violate subsection (a), which is the part about two-way radio communications.
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Old 09-08-2013, 9:00 AM
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Well it all comes down to use your head if its something that you see as important or "official" then just keep it to your self such as a suicide or shooting in which they relay address or name of the person
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
That is in fact the law.

SEC. 705. [47 U.S.C. 605] UNAUTHORIZED PUBLICATION OF
COMMUNICATIONS.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf

Go to that document and search for the header I provided.

That will tell you what the law actually says. As for enforcement, the FCC has indicated that it (semi-unofficially) sees no legal issue with retransmission of radio communications via the Internet, or with incident alerting systems. However, the statute gives the option to an "aggrieved party" to file a civil suit if they so desire. It also allows states to further regulate interception devices that might be used to violate subsection (a), which is the part about two-way radio communications.
It can be difficult to understand how to read statutes and relate them to each other. I went to law school so let me help. The statute you cite above begins with "(a) Practices prohibited: Except as authorized by chapter 119, title 18, no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception...etc....."

Chapter 119 Title 18 happens to also be known as 18 USC § 2511, the law which I previously cited. So, 18 USC § 2511 IS A COMPLETE EXCEPTION to SEC. 705. [47 U.S.C. 605] UNAUTHORIZED PUBLICATION OF COMMUNICATIONS.

Except as authorized by chapter 119, title 18, is the operative sentence. When we look at Ch 119 Title 18 we see that it AUTHORIZES the use of the information we are talking about so 47 U.S.C. 605 DOES NOT APPLY.

SEC. 705. [47 U.S.C. 605] simply DOES NOT apply to the lawful scanner communications we are talking about. there are no exceptions. There is no FCC regulation which says otherwise. There is NO law, as I said, which prohibits relating the info to a third party....period.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-09-2013, 4:48 PM
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Do you mean this law that your interpretation flatly contradicts?

18 USC § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited

Nothing in the portions of this section that you cited authorizes any disclosure to third parties. Such activity is prohibited under both ECPA and the Communications Act.

In law school you should have learned that every word and punctuation has meaning in law. "Prohibited" is pretty clear. There is no language authorizing disclosure. Interception "and disclosure" (which can also be read as "with disclosure") is illegal.
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Old 09-09-2013, 5:05 PM
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Just had our local paper post on FB every turn and direction of a bank robbery and chase.
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Old 11-08-2013, 2:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
Do you mean this law that your interpretation flatly contradicts?

18 USC § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited

Nothing in the portions of this section that you cited authorizes any disclosure to third parties. Such activity is prohibited under both ECPA and the Communications Act.

In law school you should have learned that every word and punctuation has meaning in law. "Prohibited" is pretty clear. There is no language authorizing disclosure. Interception "and disclosure" (which can also be read as "with disclosure") is illegal.
I do understand what you are saying. And indeed there is no language in the statutes specifically authorizing disclosure of content of transmissions which every member of the public may lawfully intercept. However there is something called the "Consent Exception" to disclosure prohibitions. (Case law is filled with discussion of this exception) When the transmitter of a radio broadcast has consented to its interception by various individuals, those individuals may divulge the content of those broadcasts to each other. Consent may be granted explicitly or implicitly, according to federal law. Since the law also states that public safety radio transmissions may be lawfully intercepted by ANYONE, there is implicit consent to EVERYONE to intercept them whenever such public safety transmissions take place.

The result is that everyone who has listened to the broadcast AND everyone who has not actually listened to it, have consent to listen to it and share its content with each other as they choose. The law does not go on to include a specific "everyone may lawfully listen to the radio transmissions, and may share what they heard with anyone who did not happen to hear the radio transmission they were authorized to" phrase to the statute because it is absurd to do so. Whoever is entitled to hear the transmission is by definition entitled to have access to the content of that transmission. It is NEVER unlawful to divulge transmission content to an authorized recipient of a transmission.

If you are authorized to receive a transmission then you are authorized to receive its content. If you divulge content to an authorized recipient of that content you do so lawfully.
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Old 11-08-2013, 6:02 AM
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I do understand what you are saying. And indeed there is no language in the statutes specifically authorizing disclosure of content of transmissions which every member of the public may lawfully intercept. However there is something called the "Consent Exception" to disclosure prohibitions. (Case law is filled with discussion of this exception) When the transmitter of a radio broadcast has consented to its interception by various individuals, those individuals may divulge the content of those broadcasts to each other. Consent may be granted explicitly or implicitly, according to federal law. Since the law also states that public safety radio transmissions may be lawfully intercepted by ANYONE, there is implicit consent to EVERYONE to intercept them whenever such public safety transmissions take place.

The result is that everyone who has listened to the broadcast

.
You are not using the term "broadcast" in a precise manner I think you seem to mean 'transmitted by radio', those are not broadcasts intended for reception by the general public. Care to Shephadize what you consider the governing case ?
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Old 11-08-2013, 6:51 PM
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You are not using the term "broadcast" in a precise manner I think you seem to mean 'transmitted by radio', those are not broadcasts intended for reception by the general public. Care to Shephadize what you consider the governing case ?
I was certainly precise enough for everyone to know exactly what I am talking about. If you want to distinguish "broadcast for the general public" from "radio transmission the general public is authorized to receive" that is your business.

No, I do not care to Shephardize the various cases which address this. You are certainly welcome to provide case law which refutes the conclusions of law I have provided however.

Is it your contention that divulging content from a "radio transmission" which you were authorized to receive, to another individual authorized to receive the transmission, is illegal?
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Old 11-09-2013, 7:38 AM
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I was certainly precise enough for everyone to know exactly what I am talking about. If you want to distinguish "broadcast for the general public" from "radio transmission the general public is authorized to receive" that is your business.

No, I do not care to Shephardize the various cases which address this. You are certainly welcome to provide case law which refutes the conclusions of law I have provided however.

Is it your contention that divulging content from a "radio transmission" which you were authorized to receive, to another individual authorized to receive the transmission, is illegal?
The statute I cited is also very precise. Divulgence is prohibited, without exception. I've never heard of the "consent" doctrine and I spent many semesters studying case law enroute to my M.A., and quite a bit of time researching radio law specifically for a monograph.

I think the "consent" doctrine, if it exists, is probably just as limited (and misinterpreted) as the "emergency" doctrine.

[EDIT] I have included an explicit citation to support my argument. Your turn.
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