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Chicago2210 07-16-2017 1:36 PM

Encryption editorial
 
Read this Encrypting police transmissions is a blow to transparency and openness in government | Editorials | lancasteronline.com

KK4JUG 07-16-2017 3:32 PM

Excellent editorial. I hope Lancaster doesn't rely on Mutual Aid Agreements or Memoranda Of Understanding from other agencies. They'll have to use cell phones or yelling to communicate with the other agencies.

LosRio 07-16-2017 3:59 PM

If others around jump on in same keys or all use interops which can be patched it shouldn't be a problem if done correctly.

MikeOxlong 07-16-2017 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosRio (Post 2791303)
If others around jump on in same keys or all use interops which can be patched it shouldn't be a problem if done correctly.


Well said. Using mutual aide as an argument against encryption rarely holds water.

In this area, we have analog, P25, DMR, NXDN, trunking, different frequencies and encryption but somehow they all manage to handle mutual aide without a problem.

Patches and dedicated frequencies are the answer.

jim202 07-16-2017 5:43 PM

As has been said many times before, encrypting everything only goes to the benefit of the radio vendors bank account. I have no reservations on encrypting specific channels and or talkgroups for things like SWAT, Admin and drug teams. But for the most part, it can become a major problem for the daily dispatching.

The radio vendors have refined their wine and dine tactics to the point they know exactly when to spring the big E on the management people they are meeting with. They make it sound like it's a life and death situation if everything isn't encrypted. Then these same vendors smile all the way to the bank. In their wake is the headaches of trying to communicate with other agencies, changing the encryption keys now and then and trying to keep track of who needs what encryption key.

Been in this radio field a really long time and have seen this wave of pushing for full encryption through the entire fleet of radios across the country. If an agency is upgrading to a new P25 system, even more effort is put on these agencies by the sales force to get encryption included with the new radio system. The poor tax payer ends up taking it where the sun don't shine.

I know this topic has been beat to death.

NYRHKY94 07-16-2017 6:29 PM

Encryption of all communications (not just sensitive operations) is in essence a "policy decision". While a given public safety department's views on this matter (Chief or otherwise) may be the initial impetus behind a move to full encryption, the decision to do so ultimately rests with those who that same department/Chief report to: City Mayor, Town Manager/Town Council, County Executives etc.

Technology and vendor sales pressure aside, it's the elected political powers in a given jurisdiction that make the final call as to whether or not all communications will be Encrypted. These same elected officials are also responsible for upholding a certain level of transparency & openness in their government operations - including allowing their constituents (public and media) some level of access.

Like any other policy decision, it's incumbent that our government officials strive to find a healthy balance between the need to protect officer safety and the right of those they serve (the public) to have transparency in the government they pay for. I personally believe this is where the dialogue around this whole issue needs to move to.

That compromise for lack of a better word is somewhere in the middle IMO. Encryption of sensitive operations if a department so desires/needs, while leaving day-to-day patrol activities in the clear is something most rational people and hobbyists can probably support. Easier said than done....but it can be done.

batdude 07-16-2017 7:42 PM

my experiences with this are that at least initially, the media is to be left out in the cold with the public.

then, they will write some not so nice articles about the police and how this affects public trust, transparency and all those other buzz words.

then the media will be provided appropriately equipped radios so they can (again) monitor the agency in question.

and that's the last you will ever hear about it in the media.... because as a tax paying peasant, you shouldn't have any interest in what the police are doing.

TDR-94 07-17-2017 9:32 AM

The mainstream media are also "for profit companies" with a vested interest in monitoring public safety activity.

mmckenna 07-17-2017 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NYRHKY94 (Post 2791396)
Encryption of all communications (not just sensitive operations) is in essence a "policy decision". While a given public safety department's views on this matter (Chief or otherwise) may be the initial impetus behind a move to full encryption, the decision to do so ultimately rests with those who that same department/Chief report to: City Mayor, Town Manager/Town Council, County Executives etc.

Technology and vendor sales pressure aside, it's the elected political powers in a given jurisdiction that make the final call as to whether or not all communications will be Encrypted. These same elected officials are also responsible for upholding a certain level of transparency & openness in their government operations - including allowing their constituents (public and media) some level of access.

Like any other policy decision, it's incumbent that our government officials strive to find a healthy balance between the need to protect officer safety and the right of those they serve (the public) to have transparency in the government they pay for. I personally believe this is where the dialogue around this whole issue needs to move to.

That compromise for lack of a better word is somewhere in the middle IMO. Encryption of sensitive operations if a department so desires/needs, while leaving day-to-day patrol activities in the clear is something most rational people and hobbyists can probably support. Easier said than done....but it can be done.


Well said.

I'd add that in the cases where the City, County, Agency, etc. has their own radio shop, does their own programming, etc. (like most large ones do) the guys in the radio shop need to be in on this.
In the end, there should be a subject matter expert on the side of the agency that is involved and can provide input to the decision makers. This, in many cases, would be the agency radio guy, shop, tech, sergeant, etc.

That person should understand what encryption is and how it impacts things. If everyone agrees that the benefits to encryption outweigh the costs, then that may very well be the right decision.
On the other hand, the same radio guys should be making sure that band specific interoperability channels be programmed into the radios and that it's included in part of the training (they do have a training plan, right?). That's something DHS has been pushing for years, but seems to be falling on deaf ears.

As for the hobbyist side of it, I'm not really that involved. I can say from my point of view that making sure hobbyists have access to listen in on agency communications usually isn't on the list of deliverables.
With freedom of information acts, recorded dispatch audio, delayed feeds, etc. making sure that a scanner listener can monitor at will is not a concern of most departments. In fact I've been specifically asked on occasion how we can block on line scanner feeds.

com501 07-17-2017 5:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim202 (Post 2791368)
As has been said many times before, encrypting everything only goes to the benefit of the radio vendors bank account. I have no reservations on encrypting specific channels and or talkgroups for things like SWAT, Admin and drug teams. But for the most part, it can become a major problem for the daily dispatching.

The radio vendors have refined their wine and dine tactics to the point they know exactly when to spring the big E on the management people they are meeting with. They make it sound like it's a life and death situation if everything isn't encrypted. Then these same vendors smile all the way to the bank. In their wake is the headaches of trying to communicate with other agencies, changing the encryption keys now and then and trying to keep track of who needs what encryption key.

Been in this radio field a really long time and have seen this wave of pushing for full encryption through the entire fleet of radios across the country. If an agency is upgrading to a new P25 system, even more effort is put on these agencies by the sales force to get encryption included with the new radio system. The poor tax payer ends up taking it where the sun don't shine.

I know this topic has been beat to death.

Motorola has just included AES256 for free on the APX line, I suspect that more agencies will adopt this standard.

kayn1n32008 07-17-2017 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim202 (Post 2791368)
As has been said many times before, encrypting everything only goes to the benefit of the radio vendors bank account. I have no reservations on encrypting specific channels and or talkgroups for things like SWAT, Admin and drug teams. But for the most part, it can become a major problem for the daily dispatching...

How does it 'become a major problem for the daily dispatching' exactly.

The lower mainland in BC is replacing their ancient EDACS system with a P25/phase 2 system that will be 100% AES256 encrypted. EVERYBODY. Police, fire, and ambulance. Even the interop channels are encrypted.

OTAR for the win, and a bunch of departments that have their poop in a group to be able to coordinate encryption keys.

Sent from my SM-G870W using Tapatalk

CommJunkie 07-18-2017 5:22 AM

I had to check to make sure I was still in the PA forum, as I don't think a single comment in this thread is from anyone local.

The system already has encryption on it. The police are just turning it on on their everyday operation TGs. They offered all Fire and EMS stations to have their own dedicated TGs encrypted as well if they choose to. My department has chosen to do it. There's nothing interested said there anyway. It's a chit-chat TG that we use for fundraisers and stuff.

The cost to taxpayers will be when we get kicked off of T-Band and have to relocate. No one's talking about that in this county yet. I think they hope it won't happen.

LEH 07-18-2017 8:17 AM

Encryption comment
 
While I am not local to Lancaster County, I do visit occasionally (the Ren Fair) and I also live in an area that has elected to encrypt the majority of their transmissions.

I have mixed emotions on public safety encryption. As an long time scanner enthusiast I certainly do not like encryption. From an 'officer safety' standpoint, I can partially understand the desire for encryption. Though for the most part I do not think that is a truly valid point.

For day to day routine transmissions, I DO NOT support encryption. Police and fire are, as was pointed out in the article, public servants and this does not lend well to keeping the public informed. It gives the impression of a police state trying to hide their actions.

That said, I heartily support encryption in certain cases. In situations such as a SWAT, call out or undercover operations (where officer AND PUBLIC safety are truly a consideration), or dignitary protection encryption should be encouraged.

FiremanSparky 07-18-2017 10:54 AM

Encryption Editorial
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by com501 (Post 2791856)
Motorola has just included AES256 for free on the APX line, I suspect that more agencies will adopt this standard.


As much as they are charging for these radio's, they can afford to.

equalizer245 07-18-2017 8:19 PM

Encryption Commetn
 
Iím in South Carolina and in a county were the sheriff department been encrypted sense late 90s you can always use EMS and Fire for a backup what i do here anything big EMS or FIRE will respond i believe police should have encrypted channels but not there dispatch that should be open just like a incident here in February where 4 people were shot it was a domestic situation they were looking for the guy they were asking for help from municipal police they made a statement they couldnít get on the countyís channel due to encryption so they had to send a officer to the countyís command post to relay information thatís to much passing on info and all when time is valuable thatís just my two cents worth

fluke281 07-18-2017 8:40 PM

One of the counties near me has gone to DMR but the Sheriff has even been kind enough to offer a low power analog feed of the DMR channel for the public. They also have an encrypted channel for the SWAT team but it is rarely used. What is causing difficulty is the increasing use of RAS hashed passwords with Motorola DMR repeaters. Only DSD+ or recent Whistler or Uniden scanners can ignore them and Tyteras or CS radios as well as Motorolas will not decode the audio when the RAS password header is encountered.
I understand that encryption also decreases the range of the radios. Montreal, Quebec has had P25 encryption for years.

mmckenna 07-18-2017 8:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fluke281 (Post 2792371)
I understand that encryption also decreases the range of the radios.

Not with digital. It's the same ones and zeros, just arranged differently.

jim202 07-18-2017 9:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by com501 (Post 2791856)
Motorola has just included AES256 for free on the APX line, I suspect that more agencies will adopt this standard.

Don't think this came as a peace offering from Motorola. It came about partially due to DHS saying it would no longer fund any grant money if AES256 wasn't part of the encryption package. Motorola has been offering AEP for nothing up to this point. So this may now be the new wave of the future.

whsbuss 07-19-2017 5:20 AM

Soon our hobby will be dead for public safety

mshumeyk 07-19-2017 6:01 AM

I was just on Long Beach Island, NJ and found a couple of the towns have switched their lifeguards to encrypted DMR radios. I had found that monitoring lifeguards before getting to the beach can give me a good idea on surf conditions, water temp, rip currents and other hazards. I hadn't realized lifeguards are at high risk of ambush and media interference.


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