Encryption and Scanners

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tcarroll4

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Been away from Sanning for a few years.Just got back into it again.What i was wondering is if all the Police would soon switch to encryption?I see a few already have.

Thank's

Tim
 

W2NJS

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Many people believe that the decisions made to encrypt are political ones, but the fact is that more and more PS agencies are doing so. There's no way of predicting the future, and I'd would bet that there never will come a time when all agencies use encryption, but again, who knows what the future will bring?
 

SmitHans

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I think what will be more of an influence on what we hear (or don't hear) on scanners is that most agencies will be going to almost exclusive use of computer dispatch and messaging, and what isn't on the computer will be on cell phones/Nextel.

In some areas, this is already the case, and the police bands are usually pretty quiet when at one time they were busy.
 

Ensnared

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Encryption

Yes, I believe some agencies have unwarranted use of encryption. Some officers seem to understand the hobby while others don't.

Here is what I get when I am stopped by LE agencies. Generally speaking, the first thing out of their mouths is, "were you listening to me?"

I had one odd officer who thought I was training binoculars on IH35 & reporting such on the CB. What a weird situation that turned out to be. As I have stated many times, I told him you must have been talking about the leather case on my scanner.

When you have an agency enabled in your radio, and you are stopped, what are you doing to do? If they ask for you to turn it on, like several have done, they are going to hear their radio traffic on your radio.

Many officers don't understand how most people scan, for anything that moves in the general area. Ha.

Since I don't have anything to hide, they can waste their resources if they like.

In my opinion, Homeland Insecurity has elicited a hyper-alert level that does not apply to most citizens. I think some LE agencies are losing sight of this. Well, that is my opinion.
 

SmitHans

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Yes, I believe some agencies have unwarranted use of encryption. Some officers seem to understand the hobby while others don't.

Here is what I get when I am stopped by LE agencies. Generally speaking, the first thing out of their mouths is, "were you listening to me?"

I had one odd officer who thought I was training binoculars on IH35 & reporting such on the CB. What a weird situation that turned out to be. As I have stated many times, I told him you must have been talking about the leather case on my scanner.

When you have an agency enabled in your radio, and you are stopped, what are you doing to do? If they ask for you to turn it on, like several have done, they are going to hear their radio traffic on your radio.

Many officers don't understand how most people scan, for anything that moves in the general area. Ha.

Since I don't have anything to hide, they can waste their resources if they like.

In my opinion, Homeland Insecurity has elicited a hyper-alert level that does not apply to most citizens. I think some LE agencies are losing sight of this. Well, that is my opinion.
I've only ever had 1 officer question me in detail about my radios on a traffic stop.

I turn the radios off when I am stopped, and if the cop asks about them (most do not) I simply tell them i am a ham radio operator. This is sufficient 99% of the time. I was only asked once to show my radio license, and after i did, he never said any more about my gear.

The 1 cop who questioned me further was apparently interested in my stuff, as we ended up having a fairly long conversation on the side of the road about my radios, what I can hear, what frequencies, what I do with them (at the time I was storm chasing), etc. I'll never forget his statement; "I thought the equipment in my squad car was fancy, but this is incredible!"
 

AC9BX

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I suspect we'll have a mix. While there will likely be more encryption in the future many will not use it. One reason is cost. If communication doesn't particularly need to be encrypted why bother with it and the system administration that goes with it?
Some argue they do it for the privacy of the public. Example, a few fire departments encrypt so that you and I don't know what happened to whomever. Meanwhile other fire departments encourage listening via scanner to drum up interest in what they do. My local FD has the frequency right there on the main page of their website.
Since listening isn't theft compared to viewing satellite TV signals without paying for example, it does really come down to politics and cost.
 

medic611

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In the 20+ years in public safety alot has changed and so has the scanning hobby in many ways. My first scanner had crystals and was given to me by a retired volunteer firefighter on low band (33.86). Now theres multiple trunk tracking scanners, and multiple banked trunked radios with in some cases 500+ talk groups in them that you need a template to figure out where everything is at. The race to encryption has in some ways been fast forwarded in my opinion by modern technology with cell phones and apps. It's so easy now to have a smart phone and listen to the apps that stream radio traffic. On occasion I have used it to listen to departments as I travel. My opinion is too many bad people are using those apps for criminal activity. Thus the almost daily reports of people committing crimes while listening to a smart phone seems to increase daily. Post september 11th we live in a completely different world , and on the street many departments now have officers wear ear pieces, and other devices so only the officer hears the radio traffic. Too many code lists have been posted which years ago was a big NO NO. Thus encryption and on many state or regional systems was inevitable. Does every channel or talkgroup need encrypted? That's a upper management/ chief decision , however many departments are doing it. There may come a day where all public safety traffic maybe encrypted time will tell.
 

northscan23

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I read a comment in a article about police opting for encryption that it could happen that some the agenices that use it fully could reverse their decision. There was a police department recently (in Alabama I think) that I read that they were going to be dumping the encryption due to technical reasons. A few other public safety agencies have dumped their digital systems. We will have to wait and see.
 

stlouisx50

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I think going to encryption can be good for private issues, while general encryption is extremely bad.

I say extremely bad because there are many cases where I have called an agency to notify them of incorrect locations, or when a agency can't find a street, address, intersection etc. or in the case of just offering knowledge that they may not have on their end.

The other reason is , how are agencies going to be able to assist or be made aware of certain calls that may be of interest, safety or general assistance? Many officers carry scanners now to listen to outer agencies and dispatch can only alert via their radios as the information gathers and gets passed along. There is quite a delay in this respect. Which is not a good thing at all.
 
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