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Old 09-04-2009, 1:39 AM
zz0468 zz0468 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: 175 DME, HEC 358 Radial
Posts: 5,599

This is actually a "simplified" answer:

Unless it's prohibited by the ECPA of 1986, it's perfectly legal to listen.

Anything after that, it's a gray area. Read the "Communications Act of 1934 as Amended", and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986".

Those are the acts of Congress that define what's legal and what's not. But here, even those documents come under debate, depending on how one interprets them. Basically, the Communications Act of 1934 will tell you that it's ok to listen, not ok to pass on what you hear. It also prohibits disclosure of the existence of some communications, so one could say that passing along frequencies and talk groups is questionable. We LOVE to argue about that here.

The ECPA goes one further, and defines some specific forms of communications that one is prohibited from even listening to.

Needless to say, retransmitting from one radio service into another is not legal. Streaming audio feeds onto the internet is a gray area in that some jurisdictions wish to prohibit it completely, while the FCC has yet to come out and say anything at all about it, to my knowledge.

My approach would be to keep a low profile. Listen to whatever you want, and then keep your mouth shut about it.
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