Editorial to Asbury Park Press Concerning Encryption

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car2back

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w4rez said:
This is true, but they should take public opinion and perception into consideration when choosing a comm system. Are you forgetting that we're the ones that pay for it?....
it maybe our tax dollars that helped pay for the radios but that in no way gives us any sort of ownership of them.

Last year there was a little girl murdered and dumped in a residential neighborhood in Tulsa. a vehicle disrcription was given out in a BOLO as well as later on the news. We had to put another dispatcher on evening shift for a week just to help deal with the "I saw a white minivan" calls we got from the public that continued several days after the suspect was spotted and arrested by Tulsa PD.

Like I said earlier, there are good examples where the listening public helps out; but 9 times out of 10 in my experiance the person (even though they have good intentions) calling in after hearing something on a scanner isn't helping at all.

:lol: I even had some old lady call in a suspicious person complaint, then call back 5 minutes later wanting to file a complaint b/c she has a scnner and knows an officer had not been dispatched to her residence, when in all reality there had been , but it had been done on our agency's 800mhz Talk group and not on our VHF freq. Try explaining to a 75 year old women over the phone what trunking is! ;)
 
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w4rez

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phil_smith said:
it maybe our tax dollars that helped pay for the radios but that in no way gives us any sort of ownership of them.

Last year there was a little girl murdered and dumped in a residential neighborhood in Tulsa. a vehicle disrcription was given out in a BOLO as well as later on the news. We had to put another dispatcher on evening shift for a week just to help deal with the "I saw a white minivan" calls we got from the public that continued several days after the suspect was spotted and arrested by Tulsa PD.

Like I said earlier, there are good examples where the listening public helps out; but 9 times out of 10 in my experiance the person (even though they have good intentions) calling in after hearing something on a scanner isn't helping at all.

:lol: I even had some old lady call in a suspicious person complaint, then call back 5 minutes later wanting to file a complaint b/c she has a scnner and knows an officer had not been dispatched to her residence, when in all reality there had been , but it had been done on our agency's 800mhz Talk group and not on our VHF freq. Try explaining to a 75 year old women over the phone what trunking is! ;)
Well yeah I'm sure there's stuff like this that happens as well, but it's been my experience that there's more good help than "bogus" help (whether unintentional or otherwise).

I haven't heard it so much since I've lived in NC (but then again I spent many years where I was too busy doing other stuff to listen to the scanner) but when I lived in southern WV there was one community (Gilbert, WV) that got *everybody* involved when they were after somebody, Fire, Rescue, scanner listeners, etc., and by golly they usually got whoever they were after, too.
 

gmclam

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Encrypting keeps your friends in the quiet

There is an old saying: "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". Just because the gov't encrypts their transmissions does not mean that those who are out to do them harm will not be listening. It's foolsih to think so. People in gov't are of the opinion that when they pass a law prohibiting something that people will stop doing it. Well good people might; but that is not the stated intention here.

While I listen, I often hear officers talk about their scanners - so they can hear other agencies in the area. While Sacramento has now gone to a single trunked system for all agencies, there are several Police Depts (several cities), Sheriff (at least 4 counties), numerous Fire agencies and the CHP all on different systems. Encrypting here would keep public safety workers from adjacent depts from knowing what is going on around them. THAT to me seems like a situation to get more of them killed.

George
 

KC2GVX

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Printed 10/13/2006

If anyone wants to see and read the article, it was published in Friday 10/13's APP on the last page in the commentary section.
 

OpSec

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My God...people are writing editorials about encrypting radio traffic now? Have you nothing better to do, or were you looking for somewhere to vent?

The bottom line here is that agencies will encrypt their traffic as THEY see fit, no matter how many self-labeled good samaritan's there are or what they have to say about it. No, the radio channels don't belong to the public at large. When I see an FCC license that says "155.xxx licensee - The public at large" then I'll change my tune.

Why is it so hard for so many people to understand that scanning as a whole is a hobby, not a birth right. I enjoy listening to what's going on in my town as much as any of you, but if my local departments decided to encrypt their traffic I'm not going to huff and puff and write an editorial about how they are hiding information from me. Granted, in the published article it seems that encrypting dog catchers is a bit much....but who cares? Do you think the dog catchers are conspiring against you?

Accept this for what it is - An agency has a right to control it's communications as they want. You as a citizen don't have a say in it, no matter how much you complain or feel wronged by their choice.
 

w4rez

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stateboy said:
Accept this for what it is - An agency has a right to control it's communications as they want. You as a citizen don't have a say in it, no matter how much you complain or feel wronged by their choice.
And I think he also has a right to gripe about their choice to do so.

Furthermore I don't see him saying "I paid for your radios so by golly I have a GOD GIVEN right to tell you how to use them." which would be nearly as absurd as saying "I paid for this comm system with my tax dollars therefore I demand to be able to transmit on it."

Public policy and law can be changed, although not as often as what I would like to see. In order to start the process of change, however, somebody has to express discontent with the status quo. I feel that it's not only our right, but our DUTY as citizens to let the government know that they're doing things we don't like. Maybe not every little thing, but if it's important, then absolutely...raise hell about it. How else is the government supposed to know?
 

kb2vxa

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Hi Dave and readers

Hmmm, maybe a shorter and more to the point letter would be in order? That's a long, rambling read and if published will likely be edited for available space. That means the editor picks what he wants and just might dump the important bits like scanner listeners are the eyes and ears of the police who become ineffective if treated as mushrooms. You know, kept in the dark and fed poop.

One point that hits like a hammer is encryption prevents the newsies from picking up on events and all those white porcupines on wheels they have become practically useless. The Press would lose thier primary means of gathering local news.

Encryption or other means is necissary to prevent the bad guys from intercepting surveylance and such, only sensitive transmissions need to be encrypted as per FCC regulations. The bottom line is these important points may be lost and you come off as a disgruntled hobbyist unless such letters are short and to the point.

"I got a reply today asking for my phone number and residence, for verification."

Oops, I never had such a "reply", my letters always got published exactly as written without question. I hope that was because they were properly written in a format fitting that of a newspaper article rather than journalistic style.
 

KC2GVX

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While my article will likely change nothing with the current encryption status here on the Jersey Shore, it certainly has merit being in the commentary section of the local paper today (10/13). It was published, so apparently I do have a right to write about how my government is run. I have just as much a right to write to the paper about what makes me unhappy, as the next guy does about tolls going up, or complaining about other "trivial" things in society. That is why my article is in the commentary/editorial section, and not on the front page. If it didn't belong there, the editor wouldn't have put it in there today. To answer the other person's question, yes I have lots to do. I work a full-time job and have other interests, it just happens I enjoy the hobby and was up late last Sunday evening. What makes this country great is how we have outlets to express our dissatisfaction with local government at outlets like newspapers and this website.
 

Dubbin

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KC2GVX said:
To answer the other person's question, yes I have lots to do. I work a full-time job and have other interests, it just happens I enjoy the hobby and was up late last Sunday evening.
IMO you didn't even have to post an answer that stupid comment.
 

KE4ZNR

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I can say we in Central North Carolina are very lucky that the people in charge of comms for Wake County are very open and forthgoing about the Motorola Mixed Mode system they are using...heck they even publish a scanner guide on the County Government website!
Yes, they have the ability to encrypt certain sensitive talkgroups (ie: swat, drug, etc) but the main dispatch talkgroups are in the clear...and I have NO problem with the sensitive talkgroups being encrypted but encrypting everything is a very big mistake as I agree with the earlier statements that if your brother agencies cannot monitor your channel how the heck are they supposed to come to your aid??? Overall, Great article Dave and thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts into words! :)
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

mciupa

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KC2GVX , if there is any feedback in the local press regarding your letter , would you let us know ?
It would be kind of interesting to know how John Q. Public feels about this issue and on the flipside , how a local law enforcement officer feels about "open airways".
 

w4rez

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KE4ZNR said:
I can say we in Central North Carolina are very lucky that the people in charge of comms for Wake County are very open and forthgoing about the Motorola Mixed Mode system they are using...heck they even publish a scanner guide on the County Government website!
Marshall KE4ZNR
Wow I wish I'd known about that when I lived in Raleigh.

I miss Wake County. :(
 

KE4ZNR

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w4rez said:
Wow I wish I'd known about that when I lived in Raleigh.

I miss Wake County. :(
Don't worry Jeff...everything in that guide is here at RR.com so you have not missed out on anything...believe me as I know where the info came from :D
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

kd7rto

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stateboy said:
No, the radio channels don't belong to the public at large. When I see an FCC license that says "155.xxx licensee - The public at large" then I'll change my tune.
It is well established that the airwaves are the collective property of the people. That is why radio stations are required by their licenses to keep records to be made available to any person who requests them during normal business hours.
 
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stateboy said:
No, the radio channels don't belong to the public at large. When I see an FCC license that says "155.xxx licensee - The public at large" then I'll change my tune.

Accept this for what it is - An agency has a right to control it's communications as they want. You as a citizen don't have a say in it, no matter how much you complain or feel wronged by their choice.
No, the Agencies themselves belong to the public at large and it's about damned time those in charge and those in the employ of those Agencies were reminded of that. We also don't have accept their control of anything. In fact it's about time they started accepting a little control themselves and the choke chain needs to be snapped back so hard that they never forget just who exactly is in charge. The sooner the better.
 

rabidjade

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If the police/fire/ems/meter maid/dogcatcher wants your help, they will ask for it. Being a former fire fighter and dealing with several police agencies I am glad they are going encrypted. Nothing creating more confusion than several people showing up to a scene before you do adding to the already chaos of the situation. We always called the scanner buffs around here "instant witnesses" as they only showed up to be a witness.

If you see a stolen car that was just aired over your local PD dispatch, great, call it in and move on with your business. However most times this is not the case as the person who has a scanner wants to do more than be a witness, they want to be involved. They follow the vehicle and spook the thief creating more problems than before. Someone who sits at home and waits for the next police call on their scanner might not realize how many "bad" guys listen to the police bands and wait for the best time to strike. Also you might not know about the underage binge drinking house parties that listen to scanners to know when to quiet down or run when they get called on.

There is no need to listen to the police bands unless 1) Entertainment or 2) Ulterior motives.

If you want to help the police without being a hindrance, then join or start a community policing watch group. At least you're help will be wanted and appreciated for it instead of showing up to something without invitation or training and getting in the way of those who you listen to on your scanner.

Rabidjade
http://www.policeposers.com
 
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KE4ZNR

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rabidjade said:
There is no need to listen to the police bands unless 1) Entertainment or 2) Ulterior motives.
Rabidjade
http://www.policeposers.com
:roll: So I guess you missed my post above about local agencies that provide mutual aid to their brother agencies? And most of those agencies rely on scanners to keep them informed as to what situations are going on in the surrounding areas....sorry you have had bad experiences in the past with a few nutjobs but to paint the entire hobby as "policeposers" is ignorant...and again there should be no reason to encrypt normal dispatch channels...sensitive tactical channels (swat, drug) yes...but there is no rational reason to encrypt calls for traffic accidents and other routine calls...
Marshall KE4ZNR
 
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