• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

North Metro Drug Task Force

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captaincraig44

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Is that really a TG we want to publish in the DB? The latest update added this and I'm not sure it's a good idea to have such a sensitive TG published. I don't think it will help our cause.
 

abqscan

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Per Lindsay, "The official policy of this site is to not restrict any information from being posted unless a court of jurisdiction orders the info removed."

We did have unofficial policy here in Colorado not to publish sensitive TG's for freqs, however we must run by the official policy of this site.
 

jfab

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Per Lindsay, "The official policy of this site is to not restrict any information from being posted unless a court of jurisdiction orders the info removed."

We did have unofficial policy here in Colorado not to publish sensitive TG's for freqs, however we must run by the official policy of this site.
So...the policy allows us to put officers in danger? I don't know about everyone else, but I think we should keep the "Colorado Forum Policy" of keeping our LEO's safe..
 

Icebear1

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To Erik's credit, he did delete it after I brought it up awhile ago.

I guess the question is, how many Law Enforcement or other Public Safety people have to die. To make it " bad for business" to publish these talk groups in a database anyone can access.
 
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BobWeb

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Per Lindsay, "The official policy of this site is to not restrict any information from being posted unless a court of jurisdiction orders the info removed."

We did have unofficial policy here in Colorado not to publish sensitive TG's for freqs, however we must run by the official policy of this site.
Erik, et al: I think this is a topic that we may wish to discuss with Lindsay with regard to policy. I understand open info, and that the vast majority of us would never use it for any crime, but posting these kinds of things has the potential to attract unwanted attention and give anti-scanning interests a leg to stand on with respect to encrypting all comms, which serves none of our interests. We've at times in the past practiced self-censorship in order to avoid the possibility of being complicit in the misuse of this information, and I'd advocate we continue to do so, whether in compliance with policy or not.

Full disclosure: My brother is a police officer and as such, I know full well his view of the ability of anyone to monitor police radio, especially sensitive stuff. We're better off sticking to the basics and avoiding divulging monitoring info which could reasonably be used by the criminal elements.
 

abqscan

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I would ask Lindsay about this sites policy, however, I agree why we should have it in the DB. We dance around this info every time someone posts about a new TG in the forums. It’s pretty easy to figure out.

If sensitivities comm's were encrypted, we wouldn't have to worry about any officer’s safety.
 

n0doz

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And that's the problem I have with it: making a sensitive channel public gives the agency incentive to encrypt... and maybe they won't stop at just scrambling so-called sensitive freqs or TGs.
Sure, that's not the only reason agencies go to stuff like ProVoice, but I'd like to think we aren't going to contribute to the demise of our own hobby.
 

scanlist

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Something happened at Dayton guys.

The corporation now feels that everything is fair game and if you do not like it tough and go away.

For the old timers Bill Cheek was a rebel in this hobby and his actions ended up resulting in the ECPA and TDDRA. Do we have history repeating? Who knows.

Motorola & M/A-Com have yet another selling point as I see it.

Waiting for the 404.

"Good Night and Good Luck".

Phil.
 

blantonl

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Gentleman, and Phil,

The policy of this web site with regards to state and local government data has never changed, we have never ever supported a policy to restrict the posting of any data that was for a state or local government agency. I am aware of some of the unofficial happenings between the administrators and the community as a whole, and I have never gotten in the way of that. The policy change recently implemented was only for federal and military related information.

With that said, everyone understands the official policy of this web site, and everyone understands the unofficial happenings that Erik and the team have maintained. I don't have a problem with that.

Now Phil, if you want to piss up a rope and screw with me again, that's great - I'll smack you back down like I did a few years ago when you decided that RadioReference was a "threat" to you and your unofficial closed-ended group of "we own the data and we ain't sharing!" led to to threats of leading a mutiny and a fun email exchange. You predicated the demise of this site many moons ago, yet we're going on strong, and look -- you've even taken the time to contribute 900 or so posts around there.

Overall guys, I am sensitive to your feedback and I appreciate some of the posts in the thread. But keep in mind, and I've said this before, security by obscurity does not work, and to think if we restrict posting it here than we've made criminals lives any more difficult is very misguided. People have been publishing frequency guides for years, CDROMs, talkgroup lists, Web sites, and other mechanisms for communicating data. To think that if RadioReference.com obscures some data - and now it's removed from the public domain, is ludicrous. Oh, and did I mention the search function? You guys identified it, so can a criminal.
 
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scanlist

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I have Never ever had any PM or email correspondence to you ever. You are obviously confusing me with somone else.

Seriously.


Phil.
 

Thayne

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Against my gut feelings, would someone enlighten me why some people worry about keeping some talkgroups "Under their hat", and yet have no qualms about streaming tons of stuff on the net.??

Anyone who understands the concepts can listen to any talkgroups that are not encrypted, and figure out after some time listening--"who and where" That is part of the fun to me.

I know for a fact streaming on the net is what really pisses off the "Powers that be." It is a lot different than having to be a Radiohead to listen in--When all Captain **** has to do is move his mouse and hear all the foibles & follys & donut runs & even tragedies that his guys went thru last night.

What is it that makes people do it? Altruism? Ego? Please let me know if anyone can--

I don't really care if they do it, but would be interested in others' viewpoints:)
 
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Thayne

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I guess nobody has an answer--The only response was a PM asking why nobody has asked to not be streamed; and basically telling me I'm full of it--:)
 

jfab

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I think scanning is just like anything else out there, it can be used for good and evil. Most of us use it for good, and for those that use it for evil, well what goes around comes around. I don't think it should be in the DB, but, its not against the website's policy, and the info is out there. Its going to be obtained somehow. And why should we stop streaming comms just cause of the a$$holes out there that use it to endanger public safety officials?
 

comm_manager

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If The Shoe Were On The Other Foot?

I am curious to know just how quickly this debate would change (or effectively be over) if 1) Lindsay himself or 2) someone close to Lindsay depended on the security of this information for their lives. We can debate about security by obscurity, encryption, etc... but ultimately truly secure talkgoups (as this one clearly should be) should only be "outted" at the discretion of the people who count on that group for their safety and security. Let criminals post on google groups, or AIM, or IRC etc... On a legitmate website like this the members of this group need to stand-up and emphasize that whatever the policy may be, Colorado will honor, whenever possible, the wishes of the officers that risk their lives everyday for our benefit (and yes - I understand that most officers would like everything blocked, there has to be a line). If RR does not like that idea, or continues to enforce a broad "do as we feel" policy, I would highly urge members to take their "premium subscriptions" elsewhere. Security by obscurity may or may not work, but I can assure you that you will not find instructions for making meth (or bombs) on the American Chemical Society's web page (although there are great kitchen science experiments there). As has been said before - until posting of this type of information ceases (on a legitimate website like this) scanner users will continue to be seen as a dangerous and misguided fringe group. Public policy will continue to be bent towards encryption and secrecy, not openness. Again - just because a "policy" or "rule" exists does not necessarily justify exercising the expectations of that "policy" or "rule". I urge each of you to think carefully for yourselves here. Don't be cowed by broad policies and really think about how little the average scanner user is missing out on by not having a talkgroup like this readily available. Just my two cents...Mike
 

n0doz

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I hope that we can continue this conversation without resorting to personality issues. I, for one, appreciate all your points of view on this... but I respectfully add my own.
I'm less concerned with policies and rules than I am with basic common sense and human nature. Having worked in government for many years, I can say that the vast majority of my fellow employees are not even interested in how radios work, let alone understand the technology. All they know is what they're told by someone that has only slightly more info than they do. (What Hams call "appliance operators".) So, when someone tells them that their TG is not going to be heard by anyone, that's all they care about.
But then someone publishes that secret TG and before long, the users disappear from the air. Remember how you used to be able to hear the FBI and Secret Service in the clear all the time? Widespread dissemination of their "secret" freqs killed that. How long before the group in the topic of this thread does the same? After all, they have access to fed money, too.
I'm not trying to get on anyone here... just suggesting that you stop and think about the long-term effects on your hobby before doing something that is arguably helping to push agencies to go to encryption. "Sitting" on information is not a bad thing... it's just using a little discretion.
 

cycle687

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As mentioned before the issue is made up of "how" an individual uses the sensitive talkgroup/frequency. I've never heard a news story where a suspect used radio equipment to elude officers except in the movies. If a sensitive TG is withheld (assuming its not encrypted), anyone can choose to open the scan bank and hear whatever they want regardless of RR's publishing policy. As long as many individuals out there like us continue to treat the hobby as a respected and controlled endeavor I think and hope that legacy will also continue.
 

coby

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here. Please don't burn me too badly.

Would someone please cite one instance of criminal use of a scanner that resulted in death or injury to an LEO, or in the successful committing of a crime that would not have been possible without a scanner?

I know we've all heard stories about bad guys being caught with scanners. But, come on. Ninety-nine percent of the criminal element out there is like the two guys in Arvada who robbed the convenience store wearing women's thongs to "hide" their faces.

Anyone who's smart enough, and ambitious enough, and flush enough, to spend $500 on a scanner and then devote the amount of time and research necessary to program and use it properly, is not out to rob the corner 7-11. In fact, the criminal with that kind of ability is more than likely involved in activity that doesn't even require a scanner.

It's easy to imagine unlikely possibilities in support of secrecy and censorship. It would be nice if those possibilities were backed up with real-world examples.
 

Troop

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Here's a real world example....a metro drug task force is tailing a car for obvious task force involved activity...guy with scanner with talk groups programmed for that specific task force decides he wants to shadow the action and low and behold becomes part of the action in the worst way......I think if you find the TGs on your own good for you..keep it to yourself and stay at home to listen to the action
 

greenthumb

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People seem pretty passionate about this issue and I don't think I am going to change any minds, but here are my thoughts. I am reading two reasons not to add this information to the database:

#1) Don't publish these frequencies/talk groups because it endangers officer safety.

As others have pointed out in this thread, there has never been a case where a bad guy listening to a scanner has caused an officer to be hurt or killed. If there has, feel free to provide that news story or debrief and prove me wrong. Similar frequencies/talk groups that are asked not to be put into the Colorado database are worked in across many other cities and states throughout the United States and there has not been an issue with it anywhere else. There is no reason that things are any different here in Colorado than anywhere else in the United States. I think that there is a much higher threat to officer safety having their day-to-day traffic heard than these specialized unit's traffic. The common domestic or active shooter call will go out on primary dispatch talk groups, but there are no concerns raised about that here. Anyway, this is an easy argument to make and it sounds good in public, but the fact is that this argument holds the least amount of credibility because there is just no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. If officer safety was of such paramount concern for these specialized units regarding their radio traffic, the unions and/or powers at be would have them encrypted. For as few radios as these groups use, it wouldn't cost very much money.

Again, feel free to prove me wrong on this and I might change my view.


#2) Don't publish these frequencies/talk groups because they might encrypt them and I won't be able to listen to them on my scanner anymore.

That is an entirely self-serving complaint, and one which again does not hold much credibility. If agencies are going to encrypt talk groups, they will do it regardless of whether or not the talk groups are posted on this site or not. As I mentioned before, these groups are small in number and it would not cost much money to encrypt their transmissions. If users or powers at be for these specialized units are concerned about communications security and believe that their frequencies or talk groups aren't being monitored because they are not posted on this site, they are very ignorant and probably should not be doing the job that they are.

And for the person who said that some federal agencies encrypted their communications after lists were posted obviously are not scanning the federal bands with much frequency anymore. There may be more encryption these days, but this is likely related to tighter information security policies in the federal government overall, post-9/11, than anything else. At any rate, there are plenty of good communications to listen to in the clear - and in analog.

And Troop, you're right, that guy should have stayed at home. But if that story is true, then the talk group or frequency was obtained from search mode or another source, which means that adding it to our database won't be dramatically changing the "climate" at all, as some contend. Those frequencies / talk groups are obviously nothing special and can be found by the lay person. Making them public on this site changes nothing, and your example is real-world evidence to support it.

Unless someone can provide me with a new reason not to post these frequencies / talk groups, with good evidence to support their argument, I will not be convinced that any favors are being done by not posting these frequencies/talk groups.

All visitors to this site should be able to enjoy listening to the action on the radio, not just a select few, and that is what I feel this site is all about and why I take the views that I do.
 
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n0doz

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Unfortunately, every point in this debate has an opposite point. There is no "right" or "wrong." And how do you prove why something never happened, as in the officer safety argument?
Not to beat a dead horse, but I based my opinion on 20+ years of dealing with this stuff from the "other" side of the debate - the voices you hear on your scanner. Believe me, there's not a lot of love for scanners and the people that listen. (Funny, though, if the listener is another cop or fireman, it' a different story...)
Frankly, I think the admins should just decide and let it go. How about it?
 
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