Do unit numbers fall under "sensitive"?

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RedPenguin

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I've already seen on these forums that an agency can basically not give out their frequency/frequencies out because that's considered not part of the FOIA. Are unit numbers also considered the same?

The reason I ask is, I'm surprised because my local police department could care less if people know all the unit numbers, some officers even are nice enough to make sure your list is right. Yet my local bus company acts all hush hush about supervisor/misc numbers and one guy claims it's against the company policy to release "sensitive" information.

What I'm curious of, even if they may be considered "sensitive", exactly how are they? I mean, personally I would think knowing all the officer numbers would be more dangerous then knowing who's on the radio at a bus company.
 

loumaag

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The bottom line is that the agency (whatever agency is the subject of your query) is the only entity that determines what they consider sensitive and what they don't. I am not sure what you think that the FOIA has to do with that, as it is not concerning how it can affect you (or the public), so I am not sure the FOIA applies (however, I am sure I will be taken to task for saying so :roll: ).

The state of South Dakota has all the LE officials in the state on line by unit number, location, name, agency, etc. Now, I am not saying that they have kept that up to date, but the point is they posted it to begin with. Point being: Different strokes for different folks.
 

captclint

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What I'm curious of, even if they may be considered "sensitive", exactly how are they?
Often, it is basic ignorance by the person in charge. One forum was requested by a county 911 ctr to eliminate posting of ALL PL/DPL info in the name of security. :confused: The county just south of this one does a roll call where they ask what badge and/or name is on the next shift by unit number:cool: I would think that was revealing a bit too much about what officer was on duty in which car, but they certainly don't consider it sensitive :roll: As for mass transit, that is funny. Like I said, it is the people who do not understand radio communications and how easily this "sensitive" info is obtained by anyone who DOES understand.
 

hoser147

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Most places have car numbers and use them some use actual unit numbers like Lou said different strokes...Fortunately we have a Local Chief here that doesnt care nor his people they use both numbers all the time. I ask him about getting on the local Grant for digital radio's he said he was sticking with what they got, any mutual aid would be local only and he wants John Q to know if there is something going on so they can rely on tips, and also if there is something they want the locals to know they will put it over the air............
 

Boulder

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i think it's safe to say that if it is "sensitive" enough that someone didn't want you to know anything about their agency, then it would be encrypted
 

loumaag

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i think it's safe to say that if it is "sensitive" enough that someone didn't want you to know anything about their agency, then it would be encrypted
I think that you didn't understand the OP's point. This has nothing to do with acutal communications over the air.
 

MrRevesz

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One forum was requested by a county 911 ctr to eliminate posting of ALL PL/DPL info in the name of security.
Can they even request that?

Wouldn't this be "public" information so to speak?

What I don't understand is how they allow these loonies to keep at it. I know companies train for radio use and what not, but maybe it's time to step it up a notch and bring in a professional to train the trainer.... Ugh.... I sure hope the forum didn't take it down, i would have laughed at them and asked to show me where it's illegal to obtain and post public information.
 

N8IAA

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Can they even request that? Wouldn't this be "public" information so to speak? What I don't understand is how they allow these loonies to keep at it. I know companies train for radio use and what not, but maybe it's time to step it up a notch and bring in a professional to train the trainer.... Ugh.... I sure hope the forum didn't take it down, i would have laughed at them and asked to show me where it's illegal to obtain and post public information.
OK. So why do we have PL/DPL instant search on our scanners for????
Larry
 

MrRevesz

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OK. So why do we have PL/DPL instant search on our scanners for????
Larry
Exactly, it's not like they can hide it from us. Like I said, I consider it public information. We can get it legally from our scanners, so what if it's in writing.
 

zz0468

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Can they even request that?
Sure. They can ask. The question should really be, do they have authority to demand compliance? Probably not...

Wouldn't this be "public" information so to speak?
PL/DPL data is not necessarily public information. It's NOT part of the FCC database, which IS public information.

What I don't understand is how they allow these loonies to keep at it.
WHAT loonies? The people who don't give out technical data to whoever comes along and asks for it? I occasionally field calls for the agency I work at, requesting frequencies, site locations, PL's, talk group ID, etc. While we don't have a policy per se against giving out that information, I do not. Call me a loonie, if you must. The stuff is easy enough to find. If you NEED it, you already have it. If you want it, why should I make it easy for someone to get into our systems?

I know companies train for radio use and what not, but maybe it's time to step it up a notch and bring in a professional to train the trainer.... Ugh.... I sure hope the forum didn't take it down, i would have laughed at them and asked to show me where it's illegal to obtain and post public information.
Training has little or nothing to do with a decision not to share certain information. That's entirely up to the agency in question, and perhaps even the individual on the phone with you. There are always FOIA requests, which I have responded to, but it better be in writing, and it better go through our counsel first. And then I'll be happy to provide what you ask for.

But PL is an access code of sorts. No different than if a DTMF code was required to access an amateur repeater. You don't give out your access codes, and you're not required to.
 

MrRevesz

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No, not the loonies who don't give out every little piece of information. The loonies who think a PL will causes a huge security risk. It's one thing posting a way to get into an encrypted system, vs something that could stop interference from 2 different companies or agencies on a frequency. The loonies who are paranoid because the public can monitor what they're doing. For your agency, by all means you aren't crazy because you don't want to give out information, I don't blame you if someone calls or comes up to you and asks for it. The point is, people overreacting for something so small is not only needless, but pointless. Chances are those guys got the tones from their scanners and wanted to share with their neighboring radio/scanner enthusiasts.

Now, if a bunch of people all of a sudden started to send their own home made 2 tones or interfering on the 911 frequencies, then by all means I agree. That's a real risk of security and safety which should be taken care of asap.
 

RedPenguin

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Yes

To extend on my original post:

My local bus company CamTran uses "Portable" numbers.

So for example, Dispatch Supervisor is "Portable 5", Roads Super (Detours) was "Portable 9" before 5 took over this job also when 9 retired. Also "Portable 4" is mechanics/garage.

Many of this I found out from bus drivers and some because bus drivers will first say a "Portable" number then end up saying the persons name and I will realize who that "Portable" actually is.

It was the Dispatch Super/"Portable" 5, who actually said, "It is against CamTran policy to release 'sensitive' information".

I find it funny, why the make it obvious who some people are, if it's so sensitive, who's who. Why permit the drivers to sometimes call you buy your real name then, LoL? I mean, other people besides just me, have figured out who a few of the "Portable"'s are. So much for their sensitiveness. LoL.
 

loumaag

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To extend on my original post:

My local bus company CamTran uses "Portable" numbers.

So for example, Dispatch Supervisor is "Portable 5", Roads Super (Detours) was "Portable 9" before 5 took over this job also when 9 retired. Also "Portable 4" is mechanics/garage.

Many of this I found out from bus drivers and some because bus drivers will first say a "Portable" number then end up saying the persons name and I will realize who that "Portable" actually is.

It was the Dispatch Super/"Portable" 5, who actually said, "It is against CamTran policy to release 'sensitive' information".

I find it funny, why the make it obvious who some people are, if it's so sensitive, who's who. Why permit the drivers to sometimes call you buy your real name then, LoL? I mean, other people besides just me, have figured out who a few of the "Portable"'s are. So much for their sensitiveness. LoL.
This is called monitoring...it is, after all, what this hobby is all about. ;)
 

RedPenguin

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Yes

This is called monitoring...it is, after all, what this hobby is all about. ;)
Exactly and I'm glad I decided to do some more monitoring.

Yesterday we had a Halloween Parade, and something told me to monitor only their channel.

They had like I thought, decided to put a bunch of portables out, and I discovered much of the missing pieces by just listening for first names when referring to the portables.

Basically, I had a list of who the Supers were, from talking to bus drivers, their website, and other various sources.

So basically, I liked Portable 2, because everyone referred to him by his name, so I obviously knew who he was, but I remembered his "go ahead", from when he also works as a Dispatcher. Then he in turn gave up the info on the other two portables that were out, and immediately I knew who two of the other missing portables were. Only one was not identified, Portable 10.

I will just have to wait until the next special effect, usually when streets are blocked off/or and there will be a huge amount of passengers.

Anyway, I have to laugh how sometimes people will not give you information, yet you can so easily obtain it by just monitoring.

Also, does anyone know why they would do this? One guy for the longest time was Portable 5, then this night he switched to 8. Also another guy replaced the guy who was 7, but I know the original guy, didn't retire or something. Is it most likely, they have a certain set of radios that they switch around with or something?

Now here is my question, Is it illegal/wrong to tell someone else the info in the form of a list or even on a website? Only thing I wonder is, if they ever seen it on a web site, is if they would decide to switch everyone around. I doubt it though, but you never know.
 
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Eng74

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That is a fine line. The way I read it you know that Portable 2 is a person and not a unit. That to me is "sensitive" if you post a person's name. Now to list it as Portable 2 as maintance is ok but to list Portable 2 is John Smith would be wrong. To have that for your own use is fine but to put it out for everyone then it is "sensitive". Now about an agency giving out information a lot of the time it is easier to say no than to 1.) know what it is, 2.) know if it is ok to give it out, 3.) know who to ask to about 1 or 2. Remeber most radio users are just that, users. I could talk two half our department or more and ask what the dispatch freq. is and they wouldn't know without getting the radio book from the engine or patrol.
 

Viper43

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Maybe you need to consider post 9/11 mentality, mass transit is considered a valuable target for terrorist, a single officer in a car isn't as big a risk...... is it so funny in that mindset?

V

bit too much about what officer was on duty in which car, but they certainly don't consider it sensitive :roll: As for mass transit, that is funny. Like I said, it is the people who do not understand radio communications and how easily this "sensitive" info is obtained by anyone who DOES understand.
 

RedPenguin

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I agree

That is a fine line. The way I read it you know that Portable 2 is a person and not a unit. That to me is "sensitive" if you post a person's name. Now to list it as Portable 2 as maintance is ok but to list Portable 2 is John Smith would be wrong. To have that for your own use is fine but to put it out for everyone then it is "sensitive". Now about an agency giving out information a lot of the time it is easier to say no than to 1.) know what it is, 2.) know if it is ok to give it out, 3.) know who to ask to about 1 or 2. Remeber most radio users are just that, users. I could talk two half our department or more and ask what the dispatch freq. is and they wouldn't know without getting the radio book from the engine or patrol.
I agree, though even if I did ever share the list with anyone, I would easily just say Portable 2 is just for Dispatcher use, when doing duties that are not Dispatch, but more like a Detrour/Roads guy.

I would never give names, anyway, especially not last names, but not even first names, either way.

Though, I'm amazed that these guys who claim to know what they are doing, by stating "sensitive" information, at the same time, seem to have sloppy radio practices, by giving first names at times when referring to each other.

So, even if a person never puts them on the site, I'm sure anyone who just knows a little bit of the names of the office workers, could easily get the names of exactly who is who, exactly like I did.
 

rdale

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I can't imagine too many people (well, I can't imagine ANYONE) caring about last (or even first) names of bus drivers. Cops -- maybe that's a different story.
 

RedPenguin

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I know what you mean

I myself, don't really care too much. I mean, I just listen to them every now and then, because in my city, we occasionally have wild emergency happenings invloving Police and/or EMS. Normally Fire doesn't seem to get weird and bizzare happenings around here, from what I hear.

So when nothing else is going on, I just put the local transit on, because you hear about people being thrown off for arguring and sometimes it's great to listen to in the winter or special events, because they have wild stuff going on it seems like and often have to reroute much of their bus operations. Often the buses get in to accidents where in the winter, cars just decide to run in to them.

Anyway, I found it funny how they claimed it was "sensitive" information, yet if someone really wanted to, they could easily find out the information that is "sensitive" through not even that much digging.

For example, I was able to figure out their whole frequency plan except PL/DPL on the last two channels if there is one, and have through occasional listening have discovered who most of these "Portable"'s who are sensitive, are.

So like I said, I'm have not devoted my life, time, or effort to extraordinary degree to this channel, but just found it funny, how what they hide, could so easily be sought.

EDIT: I am also amazed at how, my local police department, fire departments, and EMS normally are not caring when information is given out about their unit numbers. My local police department doesn't even care if the public knows which area each police unit patrols, know how they break down the areas, even if you know some of their slang.

So that is why I basically have to laugh, because if knowing all of that police, fire, and EMS information is not sensitive, I fail to see how knowing which radio a "Portable" or Staff member has or uses daily, then is super top secret. I guess unless they feel, if someone hates one of them, they can hear them giving locations with their portable number and go attack them or something. I wonder if they even have a set plan, because I've heard guys switching from one portable number to another once in a while.
 
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Viper43

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One thing I have found over the years is that departments that are "free" with information are also the same departments that have very good community relations, and those that are "tight lipped" have poor community relations at best.

V
 
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