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Greater Los Angeles & Inland Areas Discussion - Local area specific discussion for Los Angeles and its outlying areas such as Ventura and Orange Counties, and the Inland Empire area.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2018, 6:39 PM
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Whats really weird and I do not have a clue why but Northern California has no desire to use Encryption. SOCAL is in full force. Can somebody explain that???????????????????
There are three agencies that I'm aware of in Northern California that use encryption for dispatch. Not many, but it's there.
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Old 12-06-2018, 6:46 PM
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Yes, that might of been one of the contributing factors for SBDCO, but next
That incident obviously didn't happen in a vacuum. The other agencies noted what happened and had a "not on my watch" reaction.
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Old 12-06-2018, 7:03 PM
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I believe SoCal is a HOT bed for crime and media and coverage and there are so many stringers and wack jobs and LE is tired of these people showing up to scenes before the poo poo does and its becoming more and more annoying to LE agencies and this is a complete stop for this to stop happening.

Plus liability and lowers the lawsuits to hide more stuff that happens out there in the field. RR.com and Broadcastify did not help matters either broadcasting to the world. But you are right other agencies down the road have looked at all of the facts and learned from other agencies and like you said before,

not on my dime. It seems that Florida and California have teamed up and are in full force with this new trend of making the airwaves go silent. Plus grant money is being thrown out to pay for these system upgrades and to get the money to have to use encryption per the policy of receiving the money.
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Old 12-06-2018, 7:21 PM
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I think I agree with you. This is also the point where we are getting close to stepping out of bounds on the topic of encryption. I don't want to be the one that leads us into demerits from the moderators.
Yeah, I never can figure out where that line is and I was concerned about crossing it while posting as well. I'm going to drop into the background and soak in the good information.

Mods, if I crossed that line, I do sincerely apologize. I make an honest effort not to do so. I just happen to be tone deaf on this and a few other issues.
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Old 12-06-2018, 7:38 PM
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The most interesting aspect I found of the article was this

"Walker said ERICA risked “significant fines, penalties and even criminal liability” by allowing the media access to the radio communications, including that the Department of Justice could pull the police department’s access to the California Law Enforcement Communications System, or CLETS. CLETS is the computer network law enforcement agencies in California use to access shared databases like vehicle registration records and criminal histories. He said the agency “received a very terse scolding from DOJ” regarding access to encrypted radios."

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news...s/2210729002/?

It is a bit frightening, the DOJ pressuring, to think that there could soon come a time, when in order for an agency to operate, it MUST become fully encrypted. #eeeekkkkk!

Paul

So it is ERICA and not Riverside City or Riverside County (PSEC). Inaccurate headline, Paul.


DOJ is complying with California law regarding information privacy. Dispatch info is not restricted. Driver's License information and criminal history is. Some agencies / systems are encrypting everything. Others are encrypting only their 'Inquiry' channels / talk groups. And then there are the systems that fall in between.



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Old 12-06-2018, 10:01 PM
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Be prepared to give up your passwords, PINs and encryption Keys whenever asked by TSA or ICE agents. We can't have regular folks keeping private thoughts that might be contrary to the will of the state.Please bend over and cough.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:46 AM
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There's a lot of good discussion in this thread!

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Originally Posted by krazybob View Post
The point is DOJ is now mandating encryption. More importantly and as Paul has already stated, they are demanding that the ability to monitor the encrypted communications be taken away from the media. Based on what grounds? What is it that the DOJ does not want the media to know about?

More importantly, who's next? The police department and the sheriff's department works for us. This really isn't a matter of encryption. This is a matter of infringing on the First Amendment.
I have a feeling that someone in the news media will file a First Amendment suit in federal court over this situation sooner rather than later. It may come as a result of media being shut out of some sort of major police action (a Rodney King/South Central LA riot or Ferguson, Missouri riot-type of situation immediately comes to mind) or a public corruption situation, but I think the courts will eventually have the final say. What that say will be, though, is anyone's guess.
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Old 12-07-2018, 1:02 AM
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Restricting radio comms is def not a 1st amendment violation. The media is still free to report. Having a radio or access to communications is merely a tool to better report.
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Old 12-07-2018, 1:07 AM
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I have a feeling that someone in the news media will file a First Amendment suit in federal court over this situation sooner rather than later.
Encrypting radio traffic is not Congress making a law that restricts free exercise of speech, so what in the world would one base a right to listen/First Amendment suit on? There is nothing in that gem says you have a right to know.
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Old 12-07-2018, 3:44 AM
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Encrypting radio traffic is not Congress making a law that restricts free exercise of speech, so what in the world would one base a right to listen/First Amendment suit on? There is nothing in that gem says you have a right to know.
It doesn't mean Congress has to make a law restricting the First Amendment. First Amendment violations happen all the time that Congress has had nothing to do with, such as the Christian bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. That went all the way to the Supreme Court and the Christian Bakery lost. That was purely a private-sector violation of the First Amendment.

In this case we're talking about public entities that work for us. We literally do pay their salaries. I will concede that certain radio communications need to be kept private, such as anti-terrorism and narcotics. I'm okay with SWAT communications being encrypted because we don't want the guy holding hostages to know that they're about to come in with a flashbang in through the window.

But routine dispatches of calls or traffic stops I don't see a need to encrypt. They can do what some are doing when if they want to run a subject they go to an encrypted channel and then the public doesn't hear that Jimmy Bob got stopped and has two felony warrants. There's a compromise in here that needs to be found.

I live in the mountains and strange stuff goes on up here all the time. Bodies are found. We have people that cook drugs up here. It's nice to know when the house next door blows up the reason why. When I lived down the hill the house next to me literally blew up! In that case it blew up because the man's kids had head lice and he was washing their clothing in gasoline next to a water heater with a pilot light. It blew out all the windows.

I don't mean to sound like a smart aleck either. More importantly, there are fire departments that are beginning to encrypt their fire communications. They can encrypt their EMS communications even though I don't see a need for that because we don't generally transmit the name of the victim over the air anyway. But the fire traffic is important to hear. We need to know if a fire has crossed the containment line and is now making a beeline up the hill straight for our home.

I have to agree kma 371 that not being able to listen to Public Safety Communications does not render a reporter useless. Reporters were reporting the news long before scanners. But there does seem to be a push at this point in time to keep the public from knowing what's going on with the police. My career was in law enforcement and I can't think of anything that we did that we needed to hide from the public short of Narcotics investigations.

Anti-terrorism was not an issue at that point in my life.That's not entirely true because when I was a military policeman I was stationed right in the backyard of the baader-meinhof Gang. We even had a nuclear launching pad in our area. You wouldn't get close enough and survive. But we didn't restrict our communications and we had the capability of doing so. But our patrol cars were outfitted with Motorola which I honestly don't know what was possible at that time in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The bottom line for me is that it's clear that the public safety comunity is going to extremes to keep the people they serve from hearing their communications. I don't believe that people with scanners suddenly show up on scene and get in the way of the police or fire department to such an extent that we need to spend billions keeping people from hearing.

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Old 12-07-2018, 7:27 AM
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But there does seem to be a push at this point in time to keep the public from knowing what's going on with the police. My career was in law enforcement and I can't think of anything that we did that we needed to hide from the public short of Narcotics investigations.
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The bottom line for me is that it's clear that the public safety comunity is going to extremes to keep the people they serve from hearing their communications. I don't believe that people with scanners suddenly show up on scene and get in the way of the police or fire department to such an extent that we need to spend billions keeping people from hearing.
Exactly. Very well stated.

Perhaps... just perhaps... the near future relationship between We the People and the servant isn't as stable as many would like to believe and .gov at some higher level knows it. Dunno.
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Old 12-07-2018, 9:50 AM
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I don't get this whole thing on encryption anyway. It's not like the bad guys in any substantial numbers are using scanners or even Broadcastify to listen in. It has happened but in such small numbers that once again I'll say that it does not command the billions of dollars being spent to encrypt communications. Now they're going to try to say that they're encrypting their communication so that terrorists can't hear what's going on. Okay. Encrypt certain talk groups. But encrypting communications because they don't want us to know that Billy Bob was pulled over for a traffic violation is really kind of pointless. Certain things there's just no expectation of privacy for. When they run the license plate they don't run the complete address anyway. They give the street numbers only. What a complete waste of money.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by krazybob View Post
I don't get this whole thing on encryption anyway. It's not like the bad guys in any substantial numbers are using scanners or even Broadcastify to listen in. It has happened but in such small numbers that once again I'll say that it does not command the billions of dollars being spent to encrypt communications. Now they're going to try to say that they're encrypting their communication so that terrorists can't hear what's going on. Okay. Encrypt certain talk groups. But encrypting communications because they don't want us to know that Billy Bob was pulled over for a traffic violation is really kind of pointless. Certain things there's just no expectation of privacy for. When they run the license plate they don't run the complete address anyway. They give the street numbers only. What a complete waste of money.
Going to point out a few things here and add a few comments…

I've been in APCO meetings where the topic of encryption comes up. There are many reasons to encrypt radio traffic. Keeping information from the "bad guys" is a small part of it. Specific cases have been brought up, though. One in particular was a school shooting. Some well meaning scanner listener posted the incident on social media. So while law enforcement was busy trying to deal with that, treat victims, etc. they now had to deal with a few hundred frightened parents mobbing the scene. Scene security is important, and having to take a majority of your forces and use them for crowd control isn't a good investment. You can blame that one on social media, scanner listeners, streaming, anything you want, but the end result is that it's a situation that can easily be dealt with.

Encryption doesn't cost "billions". Most digital radios already include some level of encryption standard. It's a case of turning it on. Due to natural attrition, older analog only systems are getting replaced with digital. There's little cost difference in going encrypted vs. not.

Agencies have a number of ways of providing up to date information to the public that doesn't involve scanners. Immediate access to all radio communications is not a right we have. Just like we don't have the right to listen in on telephone traffic to/from an agency, read their e-mails, etc. There are ways to access information. Immediate access, unfortunately, is going away.

A lot of what we see happening is just basic IT security measures. California DOJ is pushing on that hard and agencies are being forced to comply. We just went through an inspection and passed, and a lot of that had to do with having secure networks, secure access and all of us involved having up to date background checks, clearances and training. DOJ is -not- requiring encryption. The encryption we see is locally driven. Local agencies are scrambling to comply with all the recent changes, and in some cases are going overboard. Some of that is because counsel is telling them to do everything they can. Some of it is misinterpretation. Some of it is "because we can".
(I'm not for or against encryption. It's just a reality of the job)

I agree with keeping dispatch channels/talk groups in the clear and encrypting tactical and administrative channels. However, this puts burden on the officers and dispatchers to remember to change channels based on the traffic. Dispatchers are already overworked. Their jobs have changed considerably in the last decade. There is a natural tendency to make things easier for them. One way to do that is not require changing channels/talk groups based on traffic. When looking at the overall picture, the "Just encrypt everything." approach is easy. I can tell you that making life easier for scanner listeners, hobbyists, and/or media is no where on the list of concerns.

Encryption does not necessarily prevent interoperability. There are ways that this can be addressed. It does not include giving encryption keys to the general public, scanner listeners, amateur radio operators, those with background checks, media, etc.

I understand. It's frustrating for the hobbyists and those interested in hearing what our public servants are up to. However what we've enjoyed has been a product of technology, costs and entropy. That's changing. Technology has made it easy to encrypt. Costs have dropped (or gone to zero in some cases). Entropy is getting a kick in the arse by new requirements.

Again, I'm neither for or against encryption. Just laying out what I see, what I experience and a bit of what I'm exposed to.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:42 AM
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[QUOTE=mmckenna;3033
Again, I'm neither for or against encryption. Just laying out what I see, what I experience and a bit of what I'm exposed to.[/QUOTE]

I'm not going to quote everything that you wrote only because people can read it above. I did want you to know I was responding to you.

I try not to emphasize that my career was in law enforcement. Sworn law enforcement. I understand on-scene security. I've been dealing with it since 1976. Although I have not attended APCO meetings I do understand radio technology as both an extra class amateur radio operator and as one who has dabbled as a technician as well.

When I say that we're spending billions on encryption it is based on the fact that most agencies are taking the opportunity of federal and state grants to upgrade their systems to new technology. Although it may only cost several hundred dollars to put a board into a radio that's not what's happening and I think you're aware of that. As with the County of San Bernardino they just put in a new P25 Phase 2 digital encrypted system. Fire is not encrypted yet. Rumor is that it's going to happen. Dispatches on the new digital system and tactical is on the analog system which is one way they achieve interoperability, which is not the issue here. Let's not confuse that. At the current time they continue to run their old analog phase one system which is where they put AMR who now has extensive wide area coverage. I know that AMR is paying for it and for them it was cheaper than doing it themselves. They also have their dog catchers there as well as other services.

But the overall point is that San Bernardino use this opportunity to change their complete system at the cost of millions. Multiply this around the country and we're now in the billions. I'm sure they're out there but I don't know of too many agencies that have not done it the way I'm suggesting. Their equipment is old and past it's serviceable life. That's why if you look on eBay and various other groups you will find Motorola's available quite readily.

I have been running an online service since the early 1980s when I started Scannerbuff (tm). It began as database software whereby users that had brand new programmable scanners could easily record the frequencies the agencies were on in the files were then shareable. I wrote a full-featured BBS beginning was running at 300 baud. And then 1200. And then 9600. And then 56k. Users could search our Nationwide database and share their own database files between themselves. We ran PC-Board at the time with the custom doorway code I wrote. And then the internet hit! I had a website up quickly. In 2001 I began writing Scannerbuff Online which was beginning as an alert service first but also had a database capability. Lindsay was working at the same time and beat me to the punch. No harm, no foul and I have nothing against him whatsoever.

One of the policies that we had however on our 18 channel TeamSpeak server was at at no time were you to stream narcotics operations or anti-terrorism. You would be banned from the system. Why? For the very reason you mentioned. We were one of the first operations to port over to TeamSpeak / Shoutcast at the same time. We knew that this was a critical juncture. But it was imperative for people to know that they were not to stream communications that were sensitive in nature.

In 1993 I was disabled almost permanently. It wasn't until the mid-2000s that I had recuperated enough to become a certified firefighter. That gave me the opportunity to see things from the EMS side. I run a Facebook group with thousands of users and there are certain communications that once again I refuse to relay. I'm in the captains seat and from my altitude up here in Running Springs I can hear flea far 100 miles away. I can hear LAPD P25 Rovers loud and clear on simplex. It is something I generally don't have a need to repeat. But I do know where the line is. Anyone with any Common Sense would know that if you have an active shooter situation you should not be repeating verbatim or even suggesting what is taking place. I did not stream the infamous San Bernardino shootouts of both the county buildings or the school for that very reason. I know of one group that did. The only extent I gave any information was to let parents know that the scene was locked down and that at such time the police announced it we would let them know where they could pick their children up. We said nothing other than that. I suppose not everyone has the same standards that we have.

I don't disagree with you what you've written.
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Last edited by krazybob; 12-07-2018 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:53 AM
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I suppose not everyone has the same standards that we have.
I think that's part of the issue. Although I'm not confident that if -all- streaming, scanner listeners and social media users were as self controlling that this wouldn't still happen. All it takes in one knucklehead, one whacker, one overly excited person to mess it up.

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I don't disagree with you what you've written.
Thanks, I appreciate it. No reason for anyone to really disagree about this stuff, we've all got our own points of view on the subject, and we can respect most other well formed and thought out opinions.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:53 AM
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mmckenna is correct.



In response to krazybob, down in the urban areas the number of people using scanner aps to monitor what is happening is substantial. Any time the local PD's helicopter goes into an extended hover and/or 4 police units show up in our neighborhood, someone is posting the call details on social media - unless the call is sensitive, in which case the details go over the MDC and the encrypted tacs are used.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:56 AM
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Wonder how Uniden and Whistler are going to be-able to keep their division of the scanner market alive with the way these developments are un-folding at light speed.

In all honesty these scanner manufacturers will not be able to go to these public safety agencies and make any deals like they do with DMR and NXDN to get licensing rights. They seriously have hit the biggest road block of the industry over the past 50 years or so and its no wall that can be bull dozed down at this point.

I can say within the next 5 to 10 years that either the underground with SDR technology takes off with specialty software applications to keep this industry alive or it will be done. There is no other way at this point.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:02 PM
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I'm sure Uniden and Whistler are already feeling the pinch of streaming radio traffic. For most non-technical folks, using streaming media and avoiding having to put up your own radio, antenna, etc. has impacted sales.
I don't see Uniden or Whistler going after streaming services for impacting their bottom line.

Not everything will go encrypted, but most will go digital. They've already met that challenge. With the roll out of SDR based scanners, they are well positioned to make rapid changes as technology advances. More likely what we will see is incremental improvements in the outer case, user interface and sensitivity/selectivity of the radios. I doubt there will be any huge changes in the scanner industry in the near future.
If done right, they can ease off the R&D and just focus on making radios. That'll lower costs, increase the profit and help absorb the loss of sales.

But, yeah, things are changing, always have, always will.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:06 PM
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I think that's part of the issue. Although I'm not confident that if -all- streaming, scanner listeners and social media users were as self controlling that this wouldn't still happen. All it takes in one knucklehead, one whacker, one overly excited person to mess it up.



Thanks, I appreciate it. No reason for anyone to really disagree about this stuff, we've all got our own points of view on the subject, and we can respect most other well formed and thought out opinions.
You are exactly right. There were a hand full of public agencies almost two decades ago which was almost 20 yrs ago that took the first step on locking down their communications. This was was before anybody really knew the internet or what it was really all about. This was before anybody could even stream any kind of content over the internet or even way before social media even existed. The first wave of encryption to public safety was almost twenty years ago and everybody else is finally jumping on board and it will not stop until it bottle necks or we become crippled as a country due to the effect of this blood shed.

Remember there is a law called "Murphy's Law" If there is an action there will be a re-action.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:17 PM
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mmckenna is correct.



In response to krazybob, down in the urban areas the number of people using scanner aps to monitor what is happening is substantial. Any time the local PD's helicopter goes into an extended hover and/or 4 police units show up in our neighborhood, someone is posting the call details on social media - unless the call is sensitive, in which case the details go over the MDC and the encrypted tacs are used.
In what way is he correct?

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