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Legislation: Encrypted radios for News Media

ladn

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#2
Good idea, but I don't think it has much of a chance at passing. In addition, this has been done before on an agency by agency basis. Generally, the news media agency either buys or rents a compatible radio and the law enforcement/JPA agency programs the radio for RX only (usually not on all available channels or talk groups).
 
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#3
Very vaguely worded! As already stated, it doesn't really limit who is a 'duly authorized representative' so Bill Bob who prints up a press badge and claims to be a part of an online news service or a branch of another news agency could technically count. I also noticed that it says nothing about giving these 'duly authorized representatives' a radio or access to live radio communication, just to the communications. This could easily mean nothing more than easy access to (possibly redacted) transcripts of an incident within a certain time frame. If by some strange measure it did pass, it would be a nightmare trying to sort out all of the complications that would arise from who is authorized and what they are authorized to get.
 
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#4
This bill should be written to include amateur (ham) radio operators too. Because of the fact that in case of emergencies/disasters, the hams usually get involved on a voluntary basis to use their communications to assist public safety officials in whatever community it's needed. So hams should be able to monitor pertinent comms so they can provide better assistance.

The state of Indiana has always somewhat respected ham radio operators as hams are allowed to have scanners in their cars, if they have their license with them to show LEOs. Otherwise most folks in that state are prohibited to have a scanner capable of picking up police in their vehicles. Now as a rule I disagree with that type of law but at least they made an exception for hams. I honestly believe that anyone should be able to monitor anything in a private space such as their personal vehicle. But that's getting on a different subject so I'll go no further on that.
 

allend

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#5
Given this doesn't take into account who would be considered news media, I don't think this bill has a very high likelihood of passing. It also doesn't seem to mention fire department radio access.

Bill Text - AB-1555 Police radio communications: encryption.

State bill could guarantee police scanner access for media
This bill won't pass. Trust me. Colorado just turned down their bill. So don't hold your breath. If you do you will start gasping for air to live. Just saying. People have all of these great ideas and have good intentions but the fact is that not only is LEO's encrypting like crazy but now fire departments are jumping on now at a 100 percent encryption. Public Safety has a long term goal now to lock everybody out. It won't change as time passes. So don't let anything fool you.
 

951ryan

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#6
With all the police shootings here in Taxifornia and trust in law enforcement at an all-time low, especially as all departments in SoCal move to encryption I could see this bill easily passing. The public wants an independent 3rd party to provide some accountability, this gives them exactly that.
 
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#7
It will be interesting to see how many departments claim they don't have enough money/radio's to give them to the media. Then what about someone who runs a police blog? Could get interesting.
 

951ryan

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#8
It will be interesting to see how many departments claim they don't have enough money/radio's to give them to the media. Then what about someone who runs a police blog? Could get interesting.
I believe in the bill it states that the State Gov will reimburse departments for giving media radios. It also does not specify who exactly is media. I run an online blog site with 50,000 followers and I paid $100 for media credentials from NPPA. Does that mean I qualify to get it... good question and the bill doesn't answer that question.

Guess its too early to speculate but it could be a huge win if it passes.
 

ladn

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#9

951ryan

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#10
I wasn't aware the NPPA is a credentialing authority.

They do issue a membership ID card for $20.
Correct, I believe its $145 to become a member and $20 for an "ID Card" however I will say that this "ID Card" is accepted as press credentials in many if not all SoCal law enforcement including CHP, SBSO, LASD, LAPD...etc and gets you behind the yellow tape at crime and accident scenes.

From my understanding, there is no such thing as "official" press credentials other than some departments do issue them trusted members of the major media outlets. But if this bill passed, in theory, anyone can go to the NPAA and pay $145 + $20 and be considered press.
 

allend

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#11
Keep in mind that even though you spend the money and get an "ID Card" and it is an accepted press credential does not mean anything to a department. Any city or county is at their own discretion on who is issued a radio and who is not. Just because you show them a press pass means nothing. It's their system and their radios and end of story.
 

951ryan

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#12
Keep in mind that even though you spend the money and get an "ID Card" and it is an accepted press credential does not mean anything to a department. Any city or county is at their own discretion on who is issued a radio and who is not. Just because you show them a press pass means nothing. It's their system and their radios and end of story.
You obviously didn't read AB-1555 which mandates that the police would be FORCED to provide the press access to their encrypted radio system. And there is no system in place to determine who is "press" or not so I could take a picture of my grass out front, post it to Facebook and call myself Press with an ID card I printed at home using Microsoft Word. So yeah its their system but the state can force them to give access to the public.

Of course if it doesn't pass then yeah your statement is correct.
 

951ryan

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#14
Press passes do not allow media behind yellow tape or give special access.

Paul

With an NPPA Member ID Card the California Highway Patrol will let you past the yellow tape. Many other LE agencies in SoCal do the same, but not all. Maybe its different in other parts of the country but here in SoCal its how all the stringers get those shots.

The ID Cards also get you past fire protection blockades. Forest Service accepts them along with the local SO.
 
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#15
This bill should be written to include amateur (ham) radio operators too. Because of the fact that in case of emergencies/disasters, the hams usually get involved on a voluntary basis to use their communications to assist public safety officials in whatever community it's needed. So hams should be able to monitor pertinent comms so they can provide better assistance.
Passing a 35 question multiple choice test with ≥70% score shouldn't allow any special access. If amateur radio operators want to participate in an emergency, they need to work within the incident command structure.


As for the rest of the proposed bill, It will be interesting to see where it goes. Some agencies have allowed media access, some have not. How agencies react to being forced to give access may or may not go over well.

There's more financial challenges to this than just recovering the cost of the radios. Periodic rekeying will either require hands on the radio, or someone making sure the radio gets OTAR'd.

And then there's nothing to stop an agency from rekeying radios and "forgetting" to update the media's radio. Or from setting up talk groups that are on the system but not in the media radio. Or any number of approaches that will keep this from working.
 

951ryan

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#16
Passing a 35 question multiple choice test with ≥70% score shouldn't allow any special access. If amateur radio operators want to participate in an emergency, they need to work within the incident command structure.


As for the rest of the proposed bill, It will be interesting to see where it goes. Some agencies have allowed media access, some have not. How agencies react to being forced to give access may or may not go over well.

There's more financial challenges to this than just recovering the cost of the radios. Periodic rekeying will either require hands on the radio, or someone making sure the radio gets OTAR'd.

And then there's nothing to stop an agency from rekeying radios and "forgetting" to update the media's radio. Or from setting up talk groups that are on the system but not in the media radio. Or any number of approaches that will keep this from working.
Understand and agree with what you're saying. Lots of ways that LE could counter a bill passed forcing them to give anyone with $120 access to their 250 million dollars secured system. Currently, our local Sheriffs (Riverside County Sheriffs) accepts the NPPA card as Press Credentials and will provide (for a fee) a "receive only" radio with access to their primary dispatch only channels which leaves many other talkgroups for LE to use without the media having access to. But yeah I could see a department that isn't happy with having their hand forced to "forget" the OTAR...etc.

Definitely interesting to see what happens to this bill... Might be a long time before we know.
 

PaulNDaOC

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#17
Don't many agencies allow press into disaster areas closed to the public, such as a brush fire? I know an NPPA isn't going to get you that kind of access but who decides who gets in?

Bills like this will see a number of changes in committees. Public safety agencies will get their chance to make input, as well as media groups.

If this thing does move forward you can bet that before any vote wording will be added that establishes a criteria for who qualifies and who doesn't.

The pursuit twitter sites won't make the cut I would bet. I think there will be some sort of service to the community standard so people are not starting a webpage on blogger to get a radio.

The wording does not say the state will compensate local agencies to provide radios, it says the state will compensate costs for the access, which I would guess includes procession applications. News media outlets will be buying or leasing radio in my opinion.
 

951ryan

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#18
I know an NPPA isn't going to get you that kind of access but who decides who gets in?
I used my NPPA member ID card during the "Holy Fire" incident to get past law enforcement blockades. I was even stopped by Forestry Service several times, they checked my NPPA card then told me to be careful and drove off.
 

Anderegg

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#19
No one but law enforcement can cross a yellow tape line set to establish a crime scene...crowd control or safety lines are a different story.

Paul

With an NPPA Member ID Card the California Highway Patrol will let you past the yellow tape. Many other LE agencies in SoCal do the same, but not all. Maybe its different in other parts of the country but here in SoCal its how all the stringers get those shots.

The ID Cards also get you past fire protection blockades. Forest Service accepts them along with the local SO.
 
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