Encryption ..the end of the road for scanning?

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FoeHammer

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Windsor Ontario
I always wonder , if those that dont seem to mind public services they pay for,.. going encrypted ,..are not to concerned because they themselves have managed to get a radio just like their local agencies use & have it programmed to get on the system & avoid detection, of course who would admit that ,....
Or perhaps they work for said agency ,..
It could also be denial ,...the old "It hasn't happened to me yet , so its not going to ,..& if it ever does there's so much to listen to like....taxis ...& drive through windows...."
How else could you really be in this hobby & not be concerned about powerful agencies you pay for , operating in secret
It seems there is always going to be those that try to make light of those concerned about the issue
Maybe if debates on weather publicly paid services should be able to operate under full encryption
could have gotten somewhere in the early days , & while it does seem futile now to stand up & say anything
I think thats why it is so easy to implement for them in the first place , because the public is so uneducated on the issue
& scared of speaking out, believes what they are told ,So there never has been any unified voice with numbers to oppose it,...So pretty much they just do what they want & laugh at how complacent we are .
Can anything be done about it? I really don't know but its moving like a wave across North America
& sooner or later I could see all public service off limits
But I think one should not be angry at those with the "who cares " type views , all it shows is that perhaps they
don't understand the issue & its implications well enough to have concern .
 

KMA367

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Redwood Coast, N Calif
Maybe MDCs/MDTs will be the death knell?

Who says the police have to VOICE-broadcast their calls at all?

For almost 30 years LAPD has reduced radio traffic on their voice frequencies by sending virtually all their non-emergency calls and status messages by MDT, which means that between 50-75% of their calls are never heard by anyone. (I know, I know - some people have claimed to be able to "crack" the MDC system, but I've yet to see a single MDT/MDC call or message posted online, other than those which LAPD itself has released).

From what I understand, Los Angeles County Sheriff has much the same procedure and percentages, and it's probably done elsewhere where radio congestion is likewise a major issue. Or even if it's not.

I remember that "the end was near" when TV Ch 14, and then TV Ch 20 were released for public-safety 2-way in Southern California, but most scanners went only to 469.975. And then, when - OMG - 800 Mhz was on the horizon, the weeping and gnashing of teeth. And yet again when trunking showed up. And then DIGITAL.

I'm just worried sick. But I'm still listening to just about everyone I want to hear.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
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0
Location
Virginia
Who says the police have to VOICE-broadcast their calls at all?

For almost 30 years LAPD has reduced radio traffic on their voice frequencies by sending virtually all their non-emergency calls and status messages by MDT, which means that between 50-75% of their calls are never heard by anyone. (I know, I know - some people have claimed to be able to "crack" the MDC system, but I've yet to see a single MDT/MDC call or message posted online, other than those which LAPD itself has released).

From what I understand, Los Angeles County Sheriff has much the same procedure and percentages, and it's probably done elsewhere where radio congestion is likewise a major issue. Or even if it's not.

I remember that "the end was near" when TV Ch 14, and then TV Ch 20 were released for public-safety 2-way in Southern California, but most scanners went only to 469.975. And then, when - OMG - 800 Mhz was on the horizon, the weeping and gnashing of teeth. And yet again when trunking showed up. And then DIGITAL.

I'm just worried sick. But I'm still listening to just about everyone I want to hear.
KMA-367, what a great argument you have made. Look, why do we all listen to our scanners? Is it to listen to the minor fender bender call, petty theft, defrauding of the innkeeper? No, we listen to hear about the shooting, stabbing, armed robbery, man with a gun call that is happening NOW. Most dispatchers don't have the time to input that information to an MDT, they've got to make a broadcast immediately which, if they're unencrypted, we get to hear. We listen for the rush of listening.

So if your locality one day happens to go entirely encrypted, then get on the RR online scanner and listen to Chicago or New York or San Francisco and get your rush that way. Here in Orange County just about all law enforcement has gone encrypted, so I occassionally listen to the Long Beach (CA) police broadcasts which are still analog. The other night I heard a gang shooting as it happened. It was no less compelling to me just because the incident occurred 30 miles from where I live.

Honestly, the only broadcasts that seem to be going encrypted are large police agencies. I haven't come across one fire or ambulance service that is encrypted, and these are a font of information. Listening to the fire agencies here in Orange County I can easily learn about shootings/stabbings/domestic violence/barricaded suspects, etc., because the cops usually ask for fire department assistance, even if it's on a stage away basis.

And, as I said in an earlier post on this subject, in the very unlikely event that ALL public service agencies encrypt their broadcasts, find another way to enjoy your radio hobby. Get a HAM license and talk to someone in Russia via satellite, or just talk locally on 2 meters using a cheap handi-talkie. Most of these units are now cheaper to buy than some scanners. And you get to be an active participant, not just a passive listener. "KMA"

Dave
KA6TJF
 

bowser22

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Maybe a darker side of scanning will open up. Someone working on ways around the encryption. Albeit totally illegal methods but methods they are.
 

ZachSmith

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Location
Kansas
I personally feel that EMS/fire should be something available to the public, and more "encryption" on the LE side of things. HOWEVER, I also am starting to believe in supporting the implementation of encryption for EMS as well. There seems to be an increasing number of situations involving patient names being put over the radio (which is a massive HIPAA violation) by dispatch, and even some first responders, as well as stating all of their medical information. Even if they don't mention the name, everyone listening knows the address, as well as all of their pertinent medical history via the PT report.

With all of the fines being slapped on agencies for HIPAA violations via radio, I think encryption may be something necessary for EMS just to simplify and save $$$. And frankly to give people a right to privacy. Similar to releasing 911 tapes to the public without permission from the caller. Why do people have a right to be exposed in their weakest, and most terrified moment in their lives?

I don't personally see an issue with fire as they aren't doing anything requiring too much privacy.

Law enforcement, IMO, needs to have a lot of what they do encrypted because of the nature of their job. Most agencies openly put out peoples DOB, SSN, DL, tags, etc. over open frequencies. It is needed for the job, but hell, if a criminal wants to collect personal information, buy a police scanner. Also incidents involving search warrants, possible drug labs, etc, are often (from personal experience), not on an encrypted channel but just referenced using some code words that anyone listening to a scanner for a reasonable time could pick up on.

They also allow you to know fairly accurately the location of law enforcement at any given time. Which can be a great tool for a criminal. When I'm driving, even while listening to music and drinking my morning coffee on the way to work, I can barely listen in and know where the closest PD unit is to me and know when and where I'll drive by a unit. This includes unmarked units and radar locations.

I am with a volunteer fire department, and I work part time EMS and as a police officer. I enjoy scanning as much as all of you, but in reality believe encryption should be implemented for a lot of the traffic coming across. And I do admit I can be slightly biased as whatever encryption is put into effect, I'll be provided the necessary equipment to still listen to my agencies.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
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Location
Virginia
I personally feel that EMS/fire should be something available to the public, and more "encryption" on the LE side of things. HOWEVER, I also am starting to believe in supporting the implementation of encryption for EMS as well.
I lock out all of the MED channels here in Orange County, not necessarily for privacy, but because I miss alot of other calls while the paramedic is busy giving the hospital vital signs, etc.

Dave
KA6TJF
 
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