Defund Encryption Update

alcahuete

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Honestly, I think the boat was missed on this one, at least for now. The goal should be to get an anti-encryption bill on some state's ballot, and there was no better time than this election cycle. Call it a Police Transparency Bill or such, and I think it would have a very good chance of passing. Any police union fighting a police transparency bill is going to look really stupid, and will likely get even more people to vote for it.

I don't think it would be difficult to get something like this passed, it's just a matter of having the money and manpower to get it on the ballot. There's absolutely no reason to lobby anyone, or to even approach it from a hobbyist/listener's perspective. Call it what it is. We demand our law enforcement be transparent, and when it comes to encryption, they're trying to hide something. You can have some very powerful commercials.
 

wowologist

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The PII info excuse is a cloud of obfuscation (smoke/mirrors) when it comes to the "need" for encryption from the same mouth that says its "needed" for officer safety, any and all information that is provided to officers OTA is already public information, including criminal history and drivers license information. If a person wants they can look at my amateur license # and retrieve information from a publicly accessible database. License plate location/time/occurance data is readily available in databases updated in real time. They can now access cell phone cell site history of a mobile subscriber in a database under the guise of "app building". You as the public (and BELIEVE it.....THEY access those very same databases!!) can buy aggregated data sets on stuff you wouldnt believe is actually public information.

Be real when talking about encryption to these public officials...it is for ONE REASON ONLY > less TRANSPARENCY.
 
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mmckenna

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If you are a hobbyist, most of the Sysadmins and Techs on here are pretty much here for their own entertainment,
I think you know that's not entirely true. Many of us are here to help others, because that's how we go our start.

I've been in this industry a long time. I've been to many conferences where this exact subject has been brought up and discussed at length. The arguments used by hobbyists to demand an end to encryption are not very convincing. I won't discourage hobbyists from trying, but you really need to find a new approach. I doubt you'll be successful, but there's no harm in trying.
 

inigo88

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I happened to be googling the topic and came across a bill introduced by Assembly member Todd Gloria of San Diego's 78th district:

The bill would have mandated that members of the media be able to access encrypted law enforcement communications upon request, but it died in the assembly before being voted on. Just FYI that this topic has made it to the state legislature level for purposes of transparency (at least to the news media).
 

alcahuete

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I happened to be googling the topic and came across a bill introduced by Assembly member Todd Gloria of San Diego's 78th district:

The bill would have mandated that members of the media be able to access encrypted law enforcement communications upon request, but it died in the assembly before being voted on. Just FYI that this topic has made it to the state legislature level for purposes of transparency (at least to the news media).
Of course. The law enforcement lobby is just too big a force for the majority of these pinhead politicians to handle, especially in this state. Well...that and the politicians aren't exactly known for transparency either. ;)

That's why it needs to go straight to the ballot as a proposition. The amazing power of direct democracy...
 

Buttescan

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The PII info excuse is a cloud of obfuscation (smoke/mirrors) when it comes to the "need" for encryption from the same mouth that says its "needed" for officer safety, any and all information that is provided to officers OTA is already public information, including criminal history and drivers license information. If a person wants they can look at my amateur license # and retrieve information from a publicly accessible database. License plate location/time/occurance data is readily available in databases updated in real time. They can now access cell phone cell site history of a mobile subscriber in a database under the guise of "app building". You as the public (and BELIEVE it.....THEY access those very same databases!!) can buy aggregated data sets on stuff you wouldnt believe is actually public information.

Be real when talking about encryption to these public officials...it is for ONE REASON ONLY > less TRANSPARENCY.
I wouldn't go that far. California has had bills restricting access to PII and PHI for many years that has nothing to do with law enforcement specifically. However, Law Enforcement was one of the last groups not to limit access to such as the law demands, in the form of over the air radio transmissions. DOJ is now just getting law enforcement to comply with a law that has been around for years in regards to PII. That leaves agencies with two options. Option 1 is to have a second channel that is encrypted that's only used for 27s/28s/29s (DL, license plate and wants/warrants checks) where officers have to switch back and forth. And Option 2 where they simply encrypt everything. Most agencies are going to Option 2 because switching back and forth is a nightmare for both the officer and dispatcher, sometimes costs the agency more money in that they have to have a dedicated 27/28/29 dispatcher and the likelihood of mistakes where that info goes over unencrypted channels by accident is high which could ultimately result in fines against the agency.

As for officer safety, while I've been a scanner enthusiast for 35 years or more and listen to law enforcement daily, there are very legitimate officer safety issues as well as bad guys evading issues. The bad guys routinely listen to the traffic as well, particularly because it's now all on-line and streamed. There have been numerous instances of the bad guys leaving because LE was responding as well as the bad guys knowing exactly what LE was doing and where.

So as a listener, I'm upset and don't like the move but as a supporter of law enforcement and understand the need to abide by the PII regs, I understand the move.
 

mmckenna

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I happened to see a memo dated 10/12/20 from CA DOJ CJIS that had wording in it requiring all PII information in CLETS to no longer be shared in the clear by 12/31/2020. The solution was either encryption, or policy in place that demonstrates PII will not be shared over the air in the clear. If an agency can't comply by 12/31/20, the Chief or Sheriff needs to explain why, and have a date of when they'll be compliant. I think you can find it google "CJIS info bulletin" and look for recent date.
And sure enough, today there was a message for the chief. Radio shop had reached out regarding this and were standing by to help the upgrade radios to meet the new requirements...

This isn't going to happen by the end of the year. Someone at DOJ has jumped the gun and this is already being questioned. Clarifications are needed in what the requirements are, and how large agencies still running analog systems are going to comply.

Now, there's a number of ways to meet these challenges, but there will need to be some loopholes, just like there is for HIPAA. Question will be how large are those loopholes, and how many buses can you drive through them.

None the less, more and more agencies will be going this direction, in one way or the other. Personal Info is the big IT buzzword, and as more and more systems start sliding into the IT Pit Of Despair, there's going to be more requirements like this.
 

jaymatt1978

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I'm just going to drop a bombshell into this conversation. There are all kinds of bills on police reform floating through the state and federal legislatures. They range from sensible criminal preform bills to defunding thee police completely. I'm not here to debate one way or the other, it's just the world we live in. Purely from a scanner listening and given the curreent climate, I would think there would be a big anti-encryption push
 

wowologist

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I wouldn't go that far. California has had bills restricting access to PII and PHI for many years that has nothing to do with law enforcement specifically. However, Law Enforcement was one of the last groups not to limit access to such as the law demands, in the form of over the air radio transmissions. DOJ is now just getting law enforcement to comply with a law that has been around for years in regards to PII. That leaves agencies with two options. Option 1 is to have a second channel that is encrypted that's only used for 27s/28s/29s (DL, license plate and wants/warrants checks) where officers have to switch back and forth. And Option 2 where they simply encrypt everything. Most agencies are going to Option 2 because switching back and forth is a nightmare for both the officer and dispatcher, sometimes costs the agency more money in that they have to have a dedicated 27/28/29 dispatcher and the likelihood of mistakes where that info goes over unencrypted channels by accident is high which could ultimately result in fines against the agency.

As for officer safety, while I've been a scanner enthusiast for 35 years or more and listen to law enforcement daily, there are very legitimate officer safety issues as well as bad guys evading issues. The bad guys routinely listen to the traffic as well, particularly because it's now all on-line and streamed. There have been numerous instances of the bad guys leaving because LE was responding as well as the bad guys knowing exactly what LE was doing and where.

So as a listener, I'm upset and don't like the move but as a supporter of law enforcement and understand the need to abide by the PII regs, I understand the move.
And this is where the blender starts to cloud. PHI is Federally protected health datum. PII is not "protected" when it becomes an element of an interaction with Police or certain public services, it becomes public information(except certain witness/victim identifiers). There is no "right" or assumption of privacy when in public. When an interaction between a citizen and a public service occurs that information is now in the public realm, with any protected health information redacted.

And this is when people start to smash the two together and they really shouldn't. They are two literally different things with two totally different law sets protecting/administering them. And as I had stated...this is the point in time SOME department/agencies are "taking advantage of" the moment/confusion to use PII as an excuse to use encryption. It is not, bills are not laws. MOU's from the AG's office/DOJ aren't laws they are current political interpretations.

And as far as "officer safety" lol - what did they do for the last 5k+ years...without encryption....exactly.

Rights are like muscles, you don't exercise them, you'll lose them.
 

WX4JCW

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I think you know that's not entirely true. Many of us are here to help others, because that's how we go our start.

I've been in this industry for a long time. I've been to many conferences where this exact subject has been brought up and discussed at length. The arguments used by hobbyists to demand an end to encryption are not very convincing. I won't discourage hobbyists from trying, but you really need to find a new approach. I doubt you'll be successful, but there's no harm in trying.
Not really a point worth arguing, I've been on both sides and I've seen the comments both in person and online, one just has to search on here and other forums for the tons of snarky comments, yeah on both sides and I am guilty of it, personally, and you are right, we just haven't found the right argument yet, and it's probably a losing battle, but why not fight it, do you think we should always lay down and roll over every time some "higher" authority says so, every scanner hobbyist who is not live streaming should be a massive thorn in an agencies side every day (legally), got to keep you on your toes, and maybe one day it could happen, and mmckenna I have a ton of respect for you so please don't take this as being belligerent towards you.
 

wowologist

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And don't get me wrong I do think encryption, solely because it is available should be used for certain channels such as SRU/SWAT tactical channels, narcs and administration/IA. Because those are all mission/time/covert critical and radio traffic/information passed can still be accessed with FOIA request after the fact.

If you look at EBRCS ACSO I think Capt. McCarthy,EOC has done a spactactular job doing exactly what a posted above.

You also have to remember and this has already happened in East Coast agencies is when you have an encrypted radio out in the wild you have the problem of those keys becoming compromised by less then scrupulous officers/employees. A mid-sized dept/agency with 15,000 units and a bad apple and you just shot yourself in the foot.
 
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WX4JCW

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And don't get me wrong I do think encryption, solely because it is available should be used for certain channels such as SRU/SWAT tactical channels, narcs and administration/IA. Because those are all mission/time/covert critical and radio traffic/information passed can still be accessed with FOIA request after the fact.

If you look at EBRCS ACSO I think Capt. McCarthy,EOC has done a spactactular job doing exactly what a posted above.

You also have to remember and this has already happened in East Coast agencies is when you have an encrypted radio out in the wild you have the problem of those keys becoming compromised by less then scrupulous officers/employees. A mid-sized dept/agency with 15,000 units and a bad apple and you just shot yourself in the foot.
well I do have to say there is a fix for that OTAR, even if a key is given out, it would only work for a minimal amount of time before it is useless, and I can tell you right now if someone gave out a key and it caused issues, i wouldn't envy the doo doo they would be in, i complain about sysadmins but the encryption keys are guarded more than the system keys, i highly doubt someone would risk the hell they would be put through
 

FIRE321FIGHTER1985

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If you are a hobbyist, most of the Sysadmins and Techs on here are pretty much here for their own entertainment, they definitely make fun of hobbyists on other forums (Including several regular posters on here), but with this changing political climate that is anti-public safety, well who knows what might happen, and don't think the media is the hobbyist friend either because if they make a big enough noise, they get access, but you can't go into a representative's office and make half-cocked conspiratorial accusations, get a plan together, get together and figure out how to strategically attack the problem politically, just keep in mind that it's all political all down the line, you just have to shake the tree and make the right branch nervous, who knows maybe a compromise solution can be reached
I really do not see any reason to not dispatch in the clear. They can switch to DE on another channel when needed. I hope it is ok to say this, but as a taxpayer the money that is spent on these systems could be used for other purposes, like education paradises, the homeless, homeless veterans, feeding the hungry and a lot of other things.
 

mmckenna

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... and mmckenna I have a ton of respect for you so please don't take this as being belligerent towards you.
No issues, I didn't take it as belligerent, or anything else negative.
And I'd encourage any one that felt strongly about it to actively fight encryption. I wish them the best of luck. I think the current arguments that exist on this website are weak at best. I'd challenge people to come up with a better argument.
 

mmckenna

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i highly doubt someone would risk the hell they would be put through
We really like our cushy gubmin't jobs and wouldn't risk them for that.
And by cushy, I mean working 36 hours straight sometimes, missing family events, birthdays, etc. Long hours. Falling asleep at the site because you're too tired to drive back down the mountain. Sunburn, bug bites, eating an MRE that's been rolling around in the tool box for several years. Having to argue with some IT guy who's sitting in a warm office about why you need a hole poked in the ACL's, waiting forever for purchasing to get the parts you need. Cuts, bruises, etc. Rain, snow, dark.
then getting up the next day and doing it all over again because it is seriously the best job in the world. Watching the sun rise from a mountain top all on your own, and drinking a cup of instant coffee that you just brewed on the tailgate is a wonderful thing.
 

buddrousa

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And people cry about $500 scanners where do you think you are going to come up with MILLIONS to fight this?
You can not collect enough money to pay the salary for just 1 Big M lawyer much less a large staff plus the lobby swamp in DC.
Just a real perspective on my part.
 

mmckenna

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I really do not see any reason to not dispatch in the clear. They can switch to DE on another channel when needed. I hope it is ok to say this, but as a taxpayer the money that is spent on these systems could be used for other purposes, like education paradises, the homeless, homeless veterans, feeding the hungry and a lot of other things.
The trouble is the 'remember to switch channels', or 'remember to flip the switch'. With officers required to know and do so much, adding to the list of things they have to remember isn't popular. It's easier to just strap it for 100% encryption and leave it at that.
 

gmclam

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Not really a point worth arguing, I've been on both sides and I've seen the comments both in person and online, one just has to search on here and other forums for the tons of snarky comments, yeah on both sides and I am guilty of it, personally, and you are right, we just haven't found the right argument yet, and it's probably a losing battle, but why not fight it, do you think we should always lay down and roll over every time some "higher" authority says so, every scanner hobbyist who is not live streaming should be a massive thorn in an agencies side every day (legally), got to keep you on your toes, and maybe one day it could happen, and mmckenna I have a ton of respect for you so please don't take this as being belligerent towards you.
I believe the argument FOR having transmissions in the clear is ... wait for it .. officer safety. Yes, the very reason they claim communications should not be in the clear.

First, they are complaining about the number of arrests (lately) where suspects are in possession or scanners and/or phone apps. Gee, how well did that work for the suspects in avoiding arrest? Not well. It's those who were not caught that should be of concern.

Second, when everyone can hear what is going on we can all be eyes and ears for them. Heaven help an officer in distress who's call isn't received because of one of many reasons. And even when received by their dispatcher, it takes time to get that call to a neighboring agency and dispatch someone to help. Yeah some cities might be ok but there are plenty of "small agencies" working adjacent to one another where it is much safer for others to hear what's going on directly.

The one place I continue to laugh about being encrypted is Yreka CA. How many radios are actually authorized at any one time? Wouldn't it be better if at least Siskiyou Sheriff, let alone dozens of others, could also hear their signals in the clear? I wonder if their position would change if an unspeakable incident occurs.
 

K9DAK

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This... I remember at least twice that, as a "hobbyist," I helped my previous local PD apprehend criminals... without getting involved in the incident itself of course! Kids were driving around smashing mailboxes... heard it on the scanner... and sure enough a few minutes later heard the bam, bam, as they were driving down my street... called the non-emergency PD number and reported it, and within minutes the juveniles were arrested... they had destroyed over 135 mailboxes between their town and our town. Another was a call for a teen male dressed in all black threatening kids with a knife at the neighborhood park while working on my car in the garage... I had seen the kid walk towards the park earlier, and just after that dispatch saw him walking double-time towards his house a few doors down from me. Couple minutes after that, a squad came down the street and I walked out to it and pointed out the house... another arrest.

In my current town... a former police chief told me (when I worked with EMA) that he would never want to turn on E for that very reason. Unfortunately he's long gone and now we have E on the new county system.

That's obviously not a good enough argument for legislation... just my experience.

Second, when everyone can hear what is going on we can all be eyes and ears for them.
 
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