Encryption of police radio is criticized

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GrandpaFrank

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Taken from a local newspaper:

Open-government advocate questions move by Pasadena
Brian Charles, SGVN
twitter.com/JBrianCharles
Posted: 03/09/2012 10:23:51 PM PST

PASADENA - The move to digitally encrypt radio transmissions by the Pasadena Police Department marks a move away from government transparency, according to open-government advocate Terry Francke.

Full Article
Pasadena Star-News
 
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I bet Chief Sanchez thought that move to encryption would go unnoticed. Just loan the Star-News radios that are RX only! The fact that he doesn't want to even do that sounds shady.

District 7 Councilman Terry Tornek said the city should allow the same access provided to media by neighboring Glendale, which encrypts tactical operations and investigations, leaving basic calls for service open for the public to hear.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," Tornek said. "Glendale encrypts the tactical and operational communications so the bad guys can't listen in, and the public can listen to the rest."

Tornek criticized city staff for not working through issues related to media access before introducing the new system.

"This could have been anticipated when we rolled out the new encrypted system," Tornek said. "We should have been ready to implement this from day one."
Now this is a councilman who knows what he's talking about.
 
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k3cfc

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I think the term k.i.s.s. applies here. ( keep it simple stupid ) In stead spending countless millions of tax payers money on the radios do like the Williamsport Pennsylvanian police do. dispatch calls over the cell phones. they think there being coy here but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they are doing.
just some food for thought.
 

karldotcom

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I remember reading an article on ICIS about just how easy it is to get audio off the archives.....they were talking about how they use it to to back and listen to times/talkgroups where complaints were filed over sound quality....



>>>>>>>Pasadena police Chief Philip Sanchez says the department is doing as Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris advises.

Defending her position to refuse public records to the newspaper and other interested parties, Bagneris said the police department lacks the resources to comb through radio recordings to determine what could be released to the public.

"It may be because it becomes quite burdensome to go over that information," Bagneris said.
 

pepsima1

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Its kind of strange that a small city like Pasadena encrypts their transmission. It seems like alot of small cities are encrypting their new high tech radios and they feel like the big bad wolf. Why not just encrypt their tacticals like a lot of cities and counties are doing across America. I was searching Riverside county and The City of Beaumont encrypts their police transmission. This city is the arm pit of California. If you have ever been to the city of beaumont and drive through the city when you blink your eyes twice you are in the city and out of the city so why encrypt. It is just a desert dirt city. Makes no sense.

Now look at the LAPD. P25 Digital WIDE OPEN++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Also look at The City of Lynwood and Compton LA Sherriffs... WIDE OPEN Dispatch open..................

The problem is that Motorola has these high end sales reps that go into these cities and put on a dog and pony shows for city officals that make financial decisions and put on a great presentation with their high tech systems on a powerpoint presentation and sell in the bells and whistles and the cities buy the dog bait. Big bonus when you sell in a multi million dollar systems

I have been into radios for the past 30 years and I bought my first digital radio from GRE a couple of years ago and I still have trouble programing this high tech radio sometimes and do you think some 15 year old gang banger is going to know how to program a Project 25 Phase II (FDMA/TDMA) into a scanner and really know how to follow transmissions. I am still trying to figure it out sometimes....... Its a fulltime hobby to keep up with new and up-coming systems.

If you look at small towns across america they are still on 150 mhz single frequency system and everything is fine. I think its time to move back to a small city and buy an old bearcat 245xlt scanner for 5 bucks from a garage sale and keep it simple and enjoy life. I am just going off on a soap box tonight because of all of this encryption stuff is a bunch of horse crap and the honest people get the shaft...... Give the hackers about 5 to 10 years and this stuff will be hacked. If there is a will there will be a way. Do you think the Cowboys and Indians ever thought that someone would be-able to goto the Moon, probably not but just give it time and it happened.
 
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Radio_Lady

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Defending her position to refuse public records to the newspaper and other interested parties, Bagneris said the police department lacks the resources to comb through radio recordings to determine what could be released to the public.

"It may be because it becomes quite burdensome to go over that information," Bagneris said.
It can be a time- and personnel-intensive process. Pasadena ain't Los Angeles, but LAPD's Custodian of Records' staff at Communications Division handles about 300 requests per week to locate and duplicate all phone and radio messages for individual incidents. Many of these require going over many minutes and even hours of multiple phone lines' and radio frequencies' recordings, and "pages" of MDC data, and are often high-priority for subpoenas and ongoing incidents and investigations.

I would imagine Pasadena's or any agency's requests are on a similar scale for their population and amount of police activity.
 
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Radio_Lady

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Now look at the LAPD. P25 Digital WIDE OPEN++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Also look at The City of Lynwood and Compton LA Sherriffs... WIDE OPEN Dispatch open..................
LAPD is indeed "wide open" for the basic details of the calls that they voice-broadcast, but the majority of their calls, the routine stuff, all go via MDC and are never heard. It's been that way for almost 30 years now. I believe LASD does it pretty much the same way.
 
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Radio_Lady said:
Now look at the LAPD. P25 Digital WIDE OPEN++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Also look at The City of Lynwood and Compton LA Sherriffs... WIDE OPEN Dispatch open..................
LAPD is indeed "wide open" for the basic details of the calls that they voice-broadcast, but the majority of their calls, the routine stuff, all go via MDC and are never heard. It's been that way for almost 30 years now. I believe LASD does it pretty much the same way.
Which is better than nothing.
 

Confuzzled

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It can be a time- and personnel-intensive process.

Many of these require going over many minutes and even hours of multiple phone lines' and radio frequencies' recordings, and "pages" of MDC data, and are often high-priority for subpoenas and ongoing incidents and investigations.
So hire some more people. They don't have to be LEOs. They could even be academy cadets working a few extra hours a week, or interns from local police sciences or communications programs.

Like it says in the opening post -- transparency!!!
 

Radio_Lady

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So hire some more people. They don't have to be LEOs. They could even be academy cadets working a few extra hours a week, or interns from local police sciences or communications programs.
I don't know how Pasadena handles it but LAPD has, in fact, been using civilian employees (more than a dozen of them, full time) for years to handle these requests, and that's just for Communications-related items. Records & Identification Division, similarly, has personnel for the vastly larger volume of other records for which they are the custodian.

Like it says in the opening post -- transparency!!!
Again I haven't looked into Pasadena's procedures, but these pages on LAPD's website, "California Public Records Act" and "Reports and Other Services", as you can see are opaque, but the information they convey is clear.
 
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DPD1

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They're not going to do any of that, because they obviously just don't want anybody to hear what the department is doing... Ever. Simple as that. They aren't finding solutions, because they don't want to. They blatantly lied from the start with this, first saying they would provide radios to media, then going back on their word. Then saying they'd make log requests available, now saying they won't. The Chief and City Attorney are obviously suffering from some sort of paranoia. The fact that the Chief is now using the Attorney as scape goat, just shows what the real motivation is... Liability risk management. Has nothing to do with safety or crime prevention.
 

Radio_Lady

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They're not going to do any of that, because they obviously just don't want anybody to hear what the department is doing... Ever. Simple as that. They aren't finding solutions, because they don't want to. They blatantly lied from the start with this, first saying they would provide radios to media, then going back on their word. Then saying they'd make log requests available, now saying they won't. The Chief and City Attorney are obviously suffering from some sort of paranoia. The fact that the Chief is now using the Attorney as scape goat, just shows what the real motivation is... Liability risk management. Has nothing to do with safety or crime prevention.
While my previous responses may have sounded like I was somehow defending Pasadena's handling of the encryption decision, that wasn't my intent. I can't disagree with anything you're saying.

Increased encryption is probably inevitable, but there's no reason for an agency to be duplicitous about it. (Or maybe I should be more kind and suggest that there's an outside chance that the different spokespeople were all on different pages. Right.)
 

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Why is everyone blaming encryption of Pasadena radios for causing a lack of transparency? It is plainly showing that the chief is a blatant liar.
 
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DPD1

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While my previous responses may have sounded like I was somehow defending Pasadena's handling of the encryption decision, that wasn't my intent. I can't disagree with anything you're saying.

Increased encryption is probably inevitable, but there's no reason for an agency to be duplicitous about it. (Or maybe I should be more kind and suggest that there's an outside chance that the different spokespeople were all on different pages. Right.)
I wasn't really aiming it at anything you said. Whole thing just sort of annoys me. I'm not one of those people that's always whining about how tax money is spent and all that. In fact, these days... seems like I'm the one having to defend government a lot. All the reason why it's so insulting when they act like these people are. I have friends who are convinced that the 'police state' and 'marshall law' is right around the corner. You do everything you can to try and reassure those types that something like that can't happen. But then you have government people acting like this, and it just feeds the insanity.
 

N0WEF

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do you think some 15 year old gang banger is going to know how to program a Project 25 Phase II (FDMA/TDMA) into a scanner and really know how to follow transmissions. I am still trying to figure it out sometimes....... Its a fulltime hobby to keep up with new and up-coming systems.
Though, for the most part I agree with your post, this is a dangerous and wrong way of thinking.

Gang members aren't idiots. For the most part if you gave them IQ tests, the Bell Curve would look the same as if you tested the members here... And more so, our futures/freedom don't depend on getting the programming right. Heck, even if they were idiots, they know how to navigate to RR where someone would most likely assist them(or make them a file) Just last month I watched people fall over themselves to assist Occupy members in CA.

Gang members are committing white collar(financial/cyber) crimes, and were able to make cocaine more addictive, while lowering their costs at the same time, with just what is found in most kitchens.... Freescan/WIn/ARC isn't going to confuse them.

With that being said, they don't need scanners... Lookouts, runners, stash houses and decoys are much more effective than scanners.

And I couldn't be happier the Pasadena Chief is dicking the media around. WHY? Because the media is the one group of people you don't piss off. I suspect these stories will start being published with growing frequency till he gives in and shares info with the media (Which will only make him look like a weak willed idiot.)
 
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dgower

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If I remember correctly, these same objections were raised and ignored about 12 years ago when Orange County law went encrypted. I'm certain the same will happen here. It is much easier to encrypt a digital signal than an analog one, and although the encryption option does cost a few hundred dollars more per radio, it costs nothing more for the system, who knows what kind of discounts get applied with system or other large purchases.

I also remeber one of the motivating factors behind OC law encryption was the rash of problems Westminster PD, Huntington Beach PD, Santa Ana PD, Orange PD and others had with people transmitting bogus or interfering messages on their green channel during special operations and other events. For awhile, it was getting really bad, and more than a few of the culprits were found to be "private patrol" security guards that had tx-enabled radios in their "patrol cars". I was living in Garden Grove at the time and actually heard some of this go on. True, encryption won't eliminate interference, but it will eliminate participatory interference, ie bogus calls.

I doubt Pasadena will change it's mind and bend to the "transparency' argument. And later on down the road, when LA-RICS gets built out and everything is digital, who knows whoelse will encrypt. We can dislike it all we want but if they decide to do it, we won't have much say, I suspect.

Just my $0.02, not any kind of informed opinon at all.
 

pepsima1

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If I remember correctly, these same objections were raised and ignored about 12 years ago when Orange County law went encrypted. I'm certain the same will happen here. It is much easier to encrypt a digital signal than an analog one, and although the encryption option does cost a few hundred dollars more per radio, it costs nothing more for the system, who knows what kind of discounts get applied with system or other large purchases.

I also remeber one of the motivating factors behind OC law encryption was the rash of problems Westminster PD, Huntington Beach PD, Santa Ana PD, Orange PD and others had with people transmitting bogus or interfering messages on their green channel during special operations and other events. For awhile, it was getting really bad, and more than a few of the culprits were found to be "private patrol" security guards that had tx-enabled radios in their "patrol cars". I was living in Garden Grove at the time and actually heard some of this go on. True, encryption won't eliminate interference, but it will eliminate participatory interference, ie bogus calls.

I doubt Pasadena will change it's mind and bend to the "transparency' argument. And later on down the road, when LA-RICS gets built out and everything is digital, who knows whoelse will encrypt. We can dislike it all we want but if they decide to do it, we won't have much say, I suspect.

Just my $0.02, not any kind of informed opinon at all.
Its just plain is sad. I was looking at 3 counties in Arizona area with the RWC system and they are using a nice fairly new Project 25 Phase I (FDMA) APCO-25 Common Air Interface Exclusive system and by studying it a little bit they have taken into account that some of their tactical talkgroups are encrypted but the whole RWC system police dispatch like Chandler,Peoria,Scottsdale,Surprise, and Tempe are all digital and in the clear, but alot of their tacticals are Digital Encrypted.

I commend them for doing what they are doing. At least the dispatch is digital and in the clear and if they have anything that is critical and needs to be secure they goto their tactical channels and they are encrypted. They at least trust their own citizens for all of their counties and they let their people monitor what is going on in their own town. When they designed the system they at least took into account what needed to stay in the clear and what needed to be encrypted.

Please anybody can chime in and help me understand why a state like Arizona puts a nice new digital trunking system in for all 3 counties and did it completely right and is not so paranoid about their own people trying to listen into what is going on and some little weak city like Pasadena encrypts everything.

I like the thread above that it does not matter who encrypts and who does not. People who do crimes are going around the encryption and be smarter than the police. People are digging millions of dollars worth of tunnels that goes for miles and miles under the border of California, Arizona, and Texas from the Mexican borders to do their crimes like smuggling billions of dollars worth of drugs. These smugglers can build their own trunking system with their own money and fund their own encryption and keep the polic out of their business. Why not. The federal government has been trying for decades to fight crime and drug smuggling and they are loosing the battle. They are not winning. Encryting radio transmissions won't ever out smart somebody that really wants to do harm. I just think that the police have something to hide and want to have horse talk in their own private club.
 
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DPD1

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Los Angeles is a different planet compared to the rest of the country. The ratio of lawyers to citizens here is ridiculous. Then on top of that, you've got a bunch of idiot actors and extremist liberals running around trying to pretend they're in charge of everything. Everybody is just looking for an excuse to sue somebody over something. But still... That is no excuse to lie to the public repeatedly and treat everybody like criminals.

A few years back, I happen to have the radio on during the day. Over Pasadena DS comes a call where some kid had apparently called them and said his teen girlfriend had claimed that her dad had been molesting her and her sister. They proceeded to give this call out to a patrol car over the air, announcing the guy's full name and address. And I'm not saying like, a quick number code for the call... I'm talking, like a detailed verbal explanation, word for word, what the kid had told them. And I recall it was definitely a good part of town. I was amazed. This wasn't at 3am or something... This was in the middle of the work day. Obviously, guilty or not, this is something that could potentially destroy a person. #1. Why was that call even given to a patrol car? #2 Why was it given over the air? #3 Why was his full name and address given over the air? This was a call that in most cases would normally be privately sent to an investigator, and they would go out and see what's what. This was not an emergent call.

So would that scenario be grounds for a lawsuit if the guy was innocent? Probably. Is that the radio's fault, or the public's fault? No... It's a huge policy/personnel mistake. That call should have never been given over the air, and it was stupid to do so. So these are the real things they are trying avoid... They aren't trying to protect the department and the public from criminals... They're trying to protect themselves from themselves, and the dumb things they do.
 
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