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Streaming / Broadcasting / Audio Recording - Interested in putting your scanner online for others to hear? Want to listen to other radios on the internet. This forum is here for you to discuss these topics related to streaming scanners online.

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Old 09-04-2007, 9:43 PM
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Default Privacy Law

What are the laws regarding the streaming of scanners on the internet? Is it a violation of a law or ordinance to put police, fire, or other communications out there for all to hear? Or would it only be a violation of departmental policy to relase information that could be confidential. Name's, SSN, DOB's?
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Old 09-04-2007, 9:51 PM
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You will need to consult a lawyer for good advice. You can run into numerous civil and criminal law violations when you broadcast a radio frequency.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:41 PM
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Technically no one really knows if its legal or not. Their has been a couple instances in the US where a streamer has been notified by mail of legal action by the local PD if the feeds stayed on, neither of them challenged the fact and took the feeds down. However, it's extremely illegal to have a stream in the UK or Britain. They actually do raids and confiscate your computer if they find out your streaming public safety comms.

Jason
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Old 09-05-2007, 3:11 AM
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The best advice is to ask for permission from the law agency you wish to rebroadcast over the net. Not only this particular law agency, but all others that you wish to broadcast. That would include subscribers of a large trunking system as well. There may be instances where there are many agencies on one system, while dept. A allows, and Dept. B declines. It will be up to you to lock out those agencies / talkgroups not wishing to be re-broadcast.
On the other hand, many dept.s applaud the fact that their system is on the internet as a cheaper form of interroperability.
The key issue is ask............and be diplomatic about it. You may end up with a feather in your hat for it.
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Old 09-05-2007, 8:11 AM
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Why don't you just look at Section 605 (if I remember correctly) of the FCCs Rules and Regulations. It's very clear to me. It basically says you cannot divulge the content of any transmission unless it is specifically intended for the general public. Amateur radio and regular broadcasts are exempt. Furthermore, it seems to me that streaming audio is the same as divulging the content.

Just my two cents worth. I'm sure there are some wanta-be lawyers on here that will find fault with my opinions. But if they can have opinions, so can I.

Randy
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Old 09-16-2007, 9:31 PM
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I have had a stream active for over 5 years now with no problems, I do include a disclaimer that basically states that the user is assuming the risk of divulging the contents if they express what they hear....basically im extending the stream to them as the same medium as if they had a scanner and was listening themselves. I have my consipracy theroies that with my ip mcafee logs to confirm ... my last and only problems with my stream being shutdown was concurrent with a at the time a preseidental visit!! YIKES

Basically my isp changed my ip address about 45 to 50 times daily even causing problems with dynamic forwarding.... and the mcafee logs showed pings from a certain government agency im afriad to mention... Now to debunk my therories I do have alot of military employees who listen....

Check your websites ip logs or your host computers firewall attack log, youll see the big shots checking in, and if streaming was illegal we would seriously know about it.... The isolated incidents mentioned in this thread apparently didnt fight thier cases!
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:16 AM
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Section 605 prohibits divulging the contents, or even the existance, of transmissions.

That's certainly enough for an agency that doesn't want you doing it to get an agreeable local DA to haul you into court. Can you afford a long, VERY expensive court battle, one which you may well lose?

Lots of 'ignoring' of 605 is done, including here. The Feds have better things to do than bother with petty violations... unless you air a congressman's dirty laundry, in which case, look out, you WILL be hammered into the ground. That's how the ECPA got written.

Most police and fire agencies won't mind a stream of their dispatch channels. Tactical channels, especially detective/narcotics ones, might not be so well received. But it's their choice. Los Angeles Fire Department, for instance, promises to prosecute anyone streaming their audio. No one has, so far as I know, been idiot enough to ignore a 'cease and desist' letter from them.
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Old 09-17-2007, 8:20 AM
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You aren't divulging the contents - you are rebroadcasting an already openly broadcast radio transmission. Totally different.
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Old 09-17-2007, 8:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdale
You aren't divulging the contents - you are rebroadcasting an already openly broadcast radio transmission. Totally different.
Yes you are divulging the contents.

Land mobile transmissions are NOT broadcasts.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Jay
Yes you are divulging the contents.

Land mobile transmissions are NOT broadcasts.
True but:

Quote:
This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the
contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the
use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a
citizens band radio operator.
Thanks to this exclusion, it could be argued that retransmission of Public Safety communications via the internet is exempt because the transmissions are used for the activity of rendering assistance to persons in distress. That's what legally allows the news media to listen in on scanners and go chasing after ambulances and firetrucks. That, coupled with the fact that hundreds of other internet broadcasters openly stream these communications, and have for many years, without prosecution tells me that the chances of you being arrested and prosecuted for this by the feds is pretty damned slim.

The locals however? That's a whole 'nuther story. My advice would be if you get a nasty letter from the local department about you rebroadcasting their stream, take it down ASAP. They can prosecute you if there's a state law or city ordinance prohibiting it.

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Old 09-17-2007, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Jay
Yes you are divulging the contents.

Land mobile transmissions are NOT broadcasts.
I was thinking that it was about time this subject was rehased around here ... again.

Even though the FCC has stated that "rebroadcast of police and fire department radio communications that are obtained legally does not constitute a violation of section 705 of the Communications Act, N_Jay continues to assert they are illegal.

FCC opinion verses N_Jay's opinion. hrmmmm ...

yeah.
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Last edited by crayon; 09-17-2007 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZScanner
Thanks to this exclusion, it could be argued that retransmission of Public Safety communications via the Internet is exempt because the transmissions are used for the activity of rendering assistance to persons in distress.
Sorry, you are going way beyond what is said or meant by that section.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AZScanner
That's what legally allows the news media to listen in on scanners and go chasing after ambulances and firetrucks.
They are allowed to listen, but they are NOT allowed to rebroadcast.
Your example is unrated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZScanner
That, coupled with the fact that hundreds of other Internet broadcasters openly stream these communications, and have for many years, without prosecution tells me that the chances of you being arrested and prosecuted for this by the feds is pretty damned slim.
The issues is the legality, not the thoroughness of prosecution.
One does not affect the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZScanner
The locals however? That's a whole 'nuther story. My advice would be if you get a nasty letter from the local department about you rebroadcasting their stream, take it down ASAP. They can prosecute you if there's a state law or city ordinance prohibiting it.
Well put.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crayon
I was thinking that it was about time this subject was rehased around here ... again.

Even though the FCC has stated that "rebroadcast of police and fire department radio communications that are obtained legally does not constitute a violation of section 705 of the Communications Act, N_Jay continues to assert they are illegal.

FCC opinion verses N_Jay's opinion. hrmmmm ...

yeah.
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/interception.html
http://library.findlaw.com/1996/Mar/7/130663.html

Seems there are multiple interpretations. (Typical government)
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:30 PM
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The actual US Code of Section 605:
-----------
TITLE 47 > CHAPTER 5 > SUBCHAPTER VI > § 605

§ 605. Unauthorized publication or use of communications

(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,

(1) to any person other than the addressee, his agent, or attorney,
(2) to a person employed or authorized to forward such communication to its destination,
(3) to proper accounting or distributing officers of the various communicating centers over which the communication may be passed,
(4) to the master of a ship under whom he is serving,
(5) in response to a subpena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, or
(6) on demand of other lawful authority. No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. No person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in receiving any interstate or foreign communication by radio and use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. No person having received any intercepted radio communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a citizens band radio operator.

(b) Exceptions
The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the interception or receipt by any individual, or the assisting (including the manufacture or sale) of such interception or receipt, of any satellite cable programming for private viewing if—

(1) the programming involved is not encrypted; and
(2)
(A) a marketing system is not established under which—
(i) an agent or agents have been lawfully designated for the purpose of authorizing private viewing by individuals, and
(ii) such authorization is available to the individual involved from the appropriate agent or agents; or
(B) a marketing system described in subparagraph (A) is established and the individuals receiving such programming has obtained authorization for private viewing under that system.
--------
Before you jump on the exception for 'ships, planes, and persons in distress', be aware that routine police/fire comms do NOT fall in this category. This means SOS/MAYDAY level immediate life and death emergency situations only. It's intended to let you notify authorities of calls for help you happen to receive, legally.

The ECPA states specifically that you may monitor police/fire stuff personally. It does NOT, repeat, NOT, remove the prohibition against divulging/publishing/revealing the existance of a communication.

All of this is 'unsettled' law. There are apparently decisions in all directions. That means that if your local law has a prosecutor willing to prosecute under this law, you get to spend your life savings (and more) in court fighting it. Few would consider running a scanner stream worth bankrupting themselves.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Jay
Brushing it aside with "multiple interpretations" and posting links to FUD is lame for someone who usually presents factual information.

The FCC's email S-P-E-C-I-F-I-C-A-L-L-Y addresses the very topic at hand in clear and easy to understand language. For those that are too lazy to click on the previously supplied link, I am referencing the text of an email:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCC Consumer Center Response email - Ref# 02777194
Section 705 of the Communications Act generally does not prohibit the publication on the Internet of fire department and police department radio broadcasts. The interception of these radio communications is legal under the criminal wiretap statute, 18 U.S.C. 2510 et seq., to the extent the communications are readily accessible to the general public, which police and fire department radio communications generally are.

Therefore, the rebroadcast of police and fire department radio communications that are obtained legally does not constitute a violation of section 705 of the Communications Act.
Honestly, there is no reason why any thinking person would not be able discern facts from fiction.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipSanders
The ECPA states specifically that you may monitor police/fire stuff personally. It does NOT, repeat, NOT, remove the prohibition against divulging/publishing/revealing the existance of a communication.
FCC Consumer Center Response email - Ref# 02777194:
Quote:
Therefore, the rebroadcast of police and fire department radio communications that are obtained legally does not constitute a violation of section 705 of the Communications Act.

Your turn ...
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:38 PM
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To complete the law dump, here's the relevant section of the ECPA (Section 119, Title 18)
-----
(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;
(III) by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or general mobile radio services; or
(IV) by any marine or aeronautical communications system;

(iii) to engage in any conduct which—
(I) is prohibited by section 633 of the Communications Act of 1934; or
(II) is excepted from the application of section 705(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 by section 705(b) of that Act;
(iv) to intercept any wire or electronic communication the transmission of which is causing harmful interference to any lawfully operating station or consumer electronic equipment, to the extent necessary to identify the source of such interference; or
(v) for other users of the same frequency to intercept any radio communication made through a system that utilizes frequencies monitored by individuals engaged in the provision or the use of such system, if such communication is not scrambled or encrypted.
-------
Again, take note, the exception allows ONLY interception, not divulging or publishing.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:40 PM
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By the way, if you haven't learned yet, the FCC is commonly seen to give opinions that don't match up even with their OWN other opinions. And no FCC opinion is going to stop your local prosecutor from hauling you into court.

All the FCC 'letter' says/means is that THEY won't prosecute you. And it doesn't even guarantee that! The 'consumer' people are NOT the people in the field who decide to issue violations, and the two groups don't work to the same playbook, it seems.
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Last edited by SkipSanders; 09-17-2007 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 09-17-2007, 1:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crayon
Brushing it aside with "multiple interpretations" and posting links to FUD is lame for someone who usually presents factual information.

The FCC's email S-P-E-C-I-F-I-C-A-L-L-Y addresses the very topic at hand in clear and easy to understand language. For those that are too lazy to click on the previously supplied link, I am referencing the text of an email:Honestly, there is no reason why any thinking person would not be able discern facts from fiction.
You do know that information like your email may not be a definitive answer.

In fact most government agencies will state so explicitly in their communications. (The IRS is famous for this)
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Old 09-17-2007, 1:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipSanders
Again, take note, the exception allows ONLY interception, not divulging or publishing.
It is nearly incredulous to suggest that a personal observation supersedes information handed down officially from the FCC.

FCC Consumer Center Response email - Ref# 02777194:
Quote:
Originally Posted by whack-a-mole-quote-of-the-day
Therefore, the rebroadcast of police and fire department radio communications that are obtained legally does not constitute a violation of section 705 of the Communications Act.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipSanders
And no FCC opinion is going to stop your local prosecutor from hauling you into court.
*sigh* ... more FUD.
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