Defund Encryption

657fe2

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I do not want to start a discussion about the pro/cons of encryption, I just want to let everybody know that I contacted my State Senator and State Assembly member to begin the process of drafting a Bill to ban Encryption on Dispatch channels in California. I have been very distressed by the events that have happened In our country in the past week. The last straw was the video in Buffalo that showed an officer shoving to the ground a 75 year old man now in hospital. The officers involved, lied and attempted to cover up the incident. Enough is Enough. Please join me and contact your elected representatives. We cant hide our problems forever.
 

KK4JUG

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I'm not sure the State can implement any laws that overrule/undermine/change/affect those regulations area already being handled by the FCC. Any publicity regarding the lack of transparency in the LE operation during these trying times might go a long way toward getting rid of or limiting encryption, however.
 

gmclam

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It looks like governments are going to have a budget shortfall for sometime. If this is true, it would seem that paying for Encryption is a luxury and not a necessity. Certainly not as high on the list as other budget needs. It certainly could be a time to get this suggestion considered.
 

mmckenna

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It looks like governments are going to have a budget shortfall for sometime. If this is true, it would seem that paying for Encryption is a luxury and not a necessity. Certainly not as high on the list as other budget needs. It certainly could be a time to get this suggestion considered.
Encryption is included in most radios now in some form. It doesn't really cost anything to implement.

What the budget will impact is the roll out of new radio systems.

I agree, the past few weeks have been disturbing and something needs to change. But banning encryption isn't going to solve it. All officers are carrying cell phones and can just switch the traffic to that if they don't want it heard. Same with mobile terminals.

The solution isn't banning encryption, the solution is getting rid of bad cops.
 

ScubaJungle

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I'm not sure the State can implement any laws that overrule/undermine/change/affect those regulations area already being handled by the FCC. Any publicity regarding the lack of transparency in the LE operation during these trying times might go a long way toward getting rid of or limiting encryption, however.
Definitely - legalities are uncertain, but if we make noise it will at least slow it down, and at the rate things are happening, that is needed.
Encryption is included in most radios now in some form. It doesn't really cost anything to implement.

What the budget will impact is the roll out of new radio systems.

I agree, the past few weeks have been disturbing and something needs to change. But banning encryption isn't going to solve it. All officers are carrying cell phones and can just switch the traffic to that if they don't want it heard. Same with mobile terminals.

The solution isn't banning encryption, the solution is getting rid of bad cops.
I agree with you - to a point. Yes, they will use their cell phones, and they do. But, in emergency situations like these, sometimes that is not practical (as fast), and something will end up going through the radio. Its not going to make things turn 180 degrees, but its a start, and if nothing else, its a "win" and is symbolic that the people won't tolerate any kind of iron curtain.

"
 

mmckenna

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I agree with you - to a point. Yes, they will use their cell phones, and they do. But, in emergency situations like these, sometimes that is not practical (as fast), and something will end up going through the radio. Its not going to make things turn 180 degrees, but its a start, and if nothing else, its a "win" and is symbolic that the people won't tolerate any kind of iron curtain.
Push to talk over cellular is available. All carriers have it, especially FirstNet. Encrypted LTE, no scanner is going to decode it.
 

bill4long

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The last straw was the video in Buffalo that showed an officer shoving to the ground a 75 year old man now in hospital. The officers involved, lied and attempted to cover up the incident. Enough is Enough.
It's shame the old guy got hurt. But he did get in the officers' faces when he was clearly told to leave the area. Doubtful the officer intended to knock him down. Hard to feel sorry for an agitator who intentionally gets into the fray in an "in your face" kind of way with police officers. The guy was not some random innocent victim. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, no matter what your age. I feel a lot sorrier for the business owners (including blacks) who've had their businesses destroyed by lawless thugs.
 
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alcahuete

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I have a perfect example of why to keep them in the clear. I was driving to work, listening to LA Co. Sheriff. On the route I normally take, there was a protest taking place, so I took an alternate route. A couple minutes later, that protest turned violent and they started attacking cars in the street, completely destroying several.

That would have been me! I literally would have been stuck right in that mess and very likely been attacked. I had no other way of knowing what was going on, except for what I heard on the radio.
 

bill4long

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I have a perfect example of why to keep them in the clear. I was driving to work, listening to LA Co. Sheriff. On the route I normally take, there was a protest taking place, so I took an alternate route. A couple minutes later, that protest turned violent and they started attacking cars in the street, completely destroying several.

That would have been me! I literally would have been stuck right in that mess and very likely been attacked. I had no other way of knowing what was going on, except for what I heard on the radio.
Agreed. Normal dispatch unencrypted. When they need it, use it. The LAPD is trying to a job and they are not the Gestapo, and when encrypted comms are necessary to inform a problem, it's never too far from a court order. Some people actually thing the LAPD are trying to be evil in general. Stupid.,
 

657fe2

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I did not consider the FCC rules, hopefully the FCC just cares about where your signal is and how powerful it is, not whether it is encrypted or not. As for the comment that the old guy should not have been in the officers faces, you can certainly argue that, but this does not change the fact that the officer's lied about why the old man fell in an official report. I know that cops have access to secure comms like cell phones, but there have been instances of misconduct caught on the radio like the NYPD incident a couple days ago, this needs to be a part of the discussion.
 

avascan522

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I did not consider the FCC rules, hopefully the FCC just cares about where your signal is and how powerful it is, not whether it is encrypted or not. As for the comment that the old guy should not have been in the officers faces, you can certainly argue that, but this does not change the fact that the officer's lied about why the old man fell in an official report. I know that cops have access to secure comms like cell phones, but there have been instances of misconduct caught on the radio like the NYPD incident a couple days ago, this needs to be a part of the discussion.
I wouldn't be surprised if the NYPD incident was a stolen radio, or some idiot with a Baofeng, or even someone with more money and knowledge with a Motorola.
 

avascan522

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I have a perfect example of why to keep them in the clear. I was driving to work, listening to LA Co. Sheriff. On the route I normally take, there was a protest taking place, so I took an alternate route. A couple minutes later, that protest turned violent and they started attacking cars in the street, completely destroying several.

That would have been me! I literally would have been stuck right in that mess and very likely been attacked. I had no other way of knowing what was going on, except for what I heard on the radio.
Yes, but mmckenna and kayn1n32008, based on their viewpoints and public displays of support for encryption, do not care about your ability to gather information that could lead to your safe return home to your family. Better off we're all in the dark and have to take our chances in life, I guess. [sarcasm] "If you're not living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space."
 

mmckenna

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Yes, but mmckenna and kayn1n32008, based on their viewpoints and public displays of support for encryption, do not care about your ability to gather information that could lead to your safe return home to your family.
I can't speak for kayn1n, but you are misunderstanding what I'm saying.

I believe primary dispatch channels should be in the clear in many cases. That's my belief. The guys that call the shots may have a different opinion. In my line of work I do what they want me to do, ultimately they are paying the bills. I can make suggestions and recommendations, but ultimately it's up to them. At no point in my career has anyone ever uttered the phrase "…but what about the hobbyists?". I understand your desire to have full and unfettered access to public safety radio traffic. I have no problem with you wanting that. What I'm saying, though, is that it's an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion, to expect public safety radio systems to cater to scanner listeners. I'll go as far as saying it's naive. The ability to receive public safety radio traffic is an incidental benefit to those that have the technical knowledge, skill, money and time to pursue the hobby. Enjoy the benefit of your knowledge, skill and equipment as long as it lasts, but don't expect agencies to design their communications systems around your own personal desires. That is not what these systems exist for. No public safety system is designed as a way to provide public announcements to scanner listeners.

There are many reasons for this, and I'll avoid going into it all. There are much more efficient ways for agencies to get information to the general public. Scanner listeners are a very tiny small fraction of a percentage of the general public. May not be as fast as you want, or what you want, but public safety is looking to reach as much of the general public as they can with the messages they want disseminated.
It's not an attack on guys like alcahuete, no one is trying to endanger his life by encrypting traffic. His ability to receive that radio traffic is purely incidental. In this case, it was absolutely beneficial to him. Congratulations, he wins today.
 

GlobalNorth

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How would banning encryption prevent what happened to George Floyd? It wouldn't - no amount of clear comms would have saved his life and future quantum NSA encryption certainly didn't kill him.

If you want to promote the hobby, that's great, but the disconnect in predicate logic of your argumentation is immense.
 

avascan522

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I can't speak for kayn1n, but you are misunderstanding what I'm saying.

I believe primary dispatch channels should be in the clear in many cases. That's my belief. The guys that call the shots may have a different opinion. In my line of work I do what they want me to do, ultimately they are paying the bills. I can make suggestions and recommendations, but ultimately it's up to them. At no point in my career has anyone ever uttered the phrase "…but what about the hobbyists?". I understand your desire to have full and unfettered access to public safety radio traffic. I have no problem with you wanting that. What I'm saying, though, is that it's an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion, to expect public safety radio systems to cater to scanner listeners. I'll go as far as saying it's naive. The ability to receive public safety radio traffic is an incidental benefit to those that have the technical knowledge, skill, money and time to pursue the hobby. Enjoy the benefit of your knowledge, skill and equipment as long as it lasts, but don't expect agencies to design their communications systems around your own personal desires. That is not what these systems exist for. No public safety system is designed as a way to provide public announcements to scanner listeners.

There are many reasons for this, and I'll avoid going into it all. There are much more efficient ways for agencies to get information to the general public. Scanner listeners are a very tiny small fraction of a percentage of the general public. May not be as fast as you want, or what you want, but public safety is looking to reach as much of the general public as they can with the messages they want disseminated.
It's not an attack on guys like alcahuete, no one is trying to endanger his life by encrypting traffic. His ability to receive that radio traffic is purely incidental. In this case, it was absolutely beneficial to him. Congratulations, he wins today.
Thank you for your response. Well put.
In some terms, I imagine keeping dispatch channels in the clear, or having the ability to patch to a clear "media access" channel would be an even compromise to agencies that feel they would benefit to "locking down" a system/frequency group. News stations, radio stations, community groups can monitor that channel for any updates and can alleviate agencies from hiring a "PIO" or social media/media contact person, especially in light of current economic times and budget restraints. Put the patch on, take the patch off. Click of a mouse.
 

mmckenna

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Thank you for your response. Well put.
In some terms, I imagine keeping dispatch channels in the clear, or having the ability to patch to a clear "media access" channel would be an even compromise to agencies that feel they would benefit to "locking down" a system/frequency group. News stations, radio stations, community groups can monitor that channel for any updates and can alleviate agencies from hiring a "PIO" or social media/media contact person, especially in light of current economic times and budget restraints. Put the patch on, take the patch off. Click of a mouse.
Thanks for taking that in the spirit it was meant. There's a lot of good questions in this thread.

I got my start with a scanner, then a short wave radio, then a CB, then got my ham license, then landed a job doing this stuff professionally. I know what it's like. I'm not slamming the hobby, only trying to provide a point of view that most hobbyists will never have into how these things work. I do understand the frustration.

Your suggestion for a patched clear channel is a good one. I can tell you, though, that dispatchers have their hands full. I've sat in our dispatch while they are working active incidents. All the while, the routine calls are still coming in, phone is ringing, other radio channels going. Dispatchers have an awful lot of work to do, and tasking them with additional work to benefit non critical needs during a hot incident is asking a lot. It also requires additional resources on the back end. Those resourced, both staff and equipment, cost money. There is actually a lot of benefit to using a PIO for releasing info. It gives the agency control over what info is released when. It frees up staff to focus on their jobs, rather than having to focus on the needs of the media. Sort of a different discipline.
I know, not what scanner listeners want. All I can say is to enjoy the unencrypted communications while it's available.
 

alcahuete

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It's not about hobbyists vs. non-hobbyists for me. Has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's a simple matter of accountability to the public. There are absolutely communications that should be encrypted because they could adversely affect officer safety. I.e. Do I expect the SWAT teams raiding a meth lab to broadcast in the clear? Do I expect the Secret Service to broadcast in the clear? Of course not. However, outside of those types of ops, everything should be in the clear.

I'm not anti law enforcement by any stretch of the imagination. I have plenty of friends who are LEOs, I work with LEOs on an almost daily basis, I've never been in trouble with the law, etc., aside from a single speeding ticket. But even with that, I have personally experienced police corruption and abuse of power.

While I don't agree with how the 1st Amendment Auditors conduct themselves, you can very clearly see from what they do that police have a very real problem with public accountability. 99.9% of the time, a judge is going to side with the officer, even in instances of wrongdoing. But the video tape never lies, and that's exactly why they don't want the camera to be a witness. Same goes for the radio. Unencrypted traffic cannot be hidden or altered.

Sure, even encrypted traffic is subject to FOIA or Public Information Request (depending on the agency), but how many times have you seen official recordings magically disappear, or fail during the timeframe of the request? How many times have officers magically forgotten to turn their body cams on, or that footage was magically erased? Haven't seen it? I have personally, and on way more than one occassion. What would have happened with all this Floyd stuff had there been no video recording made by the public at large? My personal opinion is that the officers would have stated that nothing out of the ordinary took place and the medical examiner's autopsy findings would have held. The fact that an officer had his knee and all his body weight on the carotid artery of the suspect for almost 8 minutes after he was already in cuffs would have never come out. I can almost guarantee that.

So therein lies my problem with encryption. If a byproduct of forcing traffic in the clear is that hobbyists and scanner enthusiasts benefit, that's fine with me, but would in no way even factor in to my reasoning for getting rid of encryption.
 

mmckenna

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It's not about hobbyists vs. non-hobbyists for me. Has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's a simple matter of accountability to the public.
…...
So therein lies my problem with encryption.
I understand your concerns. But that's a much larger issue than stopping encryption is going to fix. That's an oversight issue. If agencies had a way to address bad members and make sure the job of serving and protecting the citizens was carried out, then a lot of this would be moot. That's a bad cop issue. That's a bad leadership issue. So many things wrong that go way beyond encryption.
 
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