• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

High-speed network for first responders raises concerns

gmclam

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… The network is secure, encrypted and off limits to the public. But it has raised concerns among media advocates that the secrecy shields police and others from scrutiny as more agencies cut access to their traditional radio communications....
There's already a trend toward silencing police radios for the public. A growing number of agencies, including Anchorage police, have cut access to scanner radio traffic, citing safety concerns. The move eliminates a traditional resource and oversight tool for journalists and others. ...

High-speed network for first responders raises concerns
 

sc8

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Isn't FirstNet a cell phone and data system? And isn't it supposed to be in addition to a radio system not in replacement?

FirstNet's real dirty secret is who is eligible for the system.
 

GTR8000

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FirstNet is AT&T LTE on Band 14 (758-768 MHz), nothing more, nothing less. It's no different than Verizon LTE on Band 13 (746-756 MHz) as far as core functionality.

The key differences are that FirstNet allows for higher power base stations and devices than you'd normally get with LTE, and that public safety get priority access to the network.

What most people don't know is that the general public also has access to Band 14, as that was part of the agreement with AT&T: they ensure that public safety gets priority and preference on the band, but during "nothing unusual going on" periods (i.e. most of the time), anyone with an AT&T phone that works on Band 14 can and will use the same bandwidth as public safety.

That article is BS for the most part, as it's actually easier to encrypt existing LMR systems than it is to switch to VoLTE systems. Guess what? Any agency using cell phones or LTE data instead of a traditional LMR system is already doing the same thing as FirstNet would accomplish, even if they're not actually using FirstNet yet.
 

MTS2000des

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What the reporter is trying to get it is that, as LMR is replaced/supplanted by LTE, how will the media get access? Sure, cell phone billing records are usually obtainable as well as SMS (text) messaging, but the content of voice calls, including PTT over cellular, isn't captured by the provider (including First Net) by default, so there isn't a way for the media (or anyone) to get access to this under FOIA/Open Records.

The case to start gathering and cataloging this data is what they are trying to make, in a very poor way.
 

sc8

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A bit off topic but I'm still not quite sure about some of the basics of FirstNet

The area where I am in emergency services has poor AT&T service. Are they building new towers just for FirstNet or will AT&T poor areas be just as poor

They are also advertising FirstNet as specifically for emergency responders and their families. What type of access do the families have and is it any different then what the general public could get on Band 14?
 

zz0468

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What the reporter is trying to get it is that, as LMR is replaced/supplanted by LTE, how will the media get access? Sure, cell phone billing records are usually obtainable as well as SMS (text) messaging, but the content of voice calls, including PTT over cellular, isn't captured by the provider (including First Net) by default, so there isn't a way for the media (or anyone) to get access to this under FOIA/Open Records.
They'll have to do what they're already doing. Voice traffic is logged, and the tapes are discoverable, in a legal sense. If a news agency wants copies, they usually have two options. One is the agency's PIO. If no luck there, then FOIA.

The only thing really changing is real time access to the voice traffic, as encryption becomes more ubiquitous. Until PTT group call service is available, FirstNet is just another cellphone based device. When that service is deployed, agencies are going to need to log it, if they want to stay out of legal trouble.
 

paulears

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in the UK, nobody has access to emergency radio, and the benefit to the user services is total privacy. it's secure and the bad guys don't know when they're being targeted and talked about. Our press and media have never been allowed to listen in, although many did when it was in the clear. Of course the hobbyists were cross, but nowadays the notion people can listen into the Police, Fire and Ambulance is simply gone. Even worse, we now have personal data rules that mean anyone who has personal data on another cannot communicate it. Nobody could pass a name and address in a way that others could listen in - it would be illegal. It's had no negative impact, and while appreciate that in the US, your rights are very different, it has to come eventually.
 

DaveNF2G

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One must wonder, though, whether the UK's history of privacy of emergency communications would have been the same had services been offered primarily by volunteers, as in the early USA.
 

milf

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FirstNet is in the beginning going to be purely data in most locations. It is not really meant to replace LMR, but as is stated by a few agencies, that dog won't hunt and they will go pure FirstNet for ALL needs... Specifically so no one can ever know what they are doing ever again. But that dream is still a LONG ways off as there is no reliable coverage nationwide and will not be for a long while yet. In some areas in major metropolitan areas, sure.. Out in the boonies where you would more than likely actually need it,.. Not so much. All in all its a big game to make money for big poppa AT&T.... And the politicians that are in cahoots with AT&T. The limitations of this fact thank God are recognized by several states which have outright stated that ONLY data will be on FirstNet. Now that this has been hashed out in now about a dozen threads, on with the show.
 

paulears

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We were actually very stupid in the uk in the 70s. We had the BBC national radio stations on FM between 88 and around 94mhz. We then got the BBC local radio station network at around 102-106MHz. the Police and Fire county services were around the 100MHz mark, in AM. Slope detection meant everyone could listen to the police on virtually any broadcast radio. They kept this going but put local UHF comms in the 450MHz band, so US imported scanners were fine. Then we went encrypted. Listening to the police has always been illegal, but as the old system was in the broadcast band, they were stuck. UHF became better - only the keen or the criminal could listen. The enthusiasts were cross when it encrypted, but as what they were doing was actually illegal, what could they do? Not sure if you've noticed, but NONE of the UK airport comms are available as a streaming service. Occasionally one goes up though ignorance and the authorities get it removed quickly. We're very private when we need to be here. Lots of legislation exists to make sure what is secret, remains secret.
 

sc8

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We were actually very stupid in the uk in the 70s. We had the BBC national radio stations on FM between 88 and around 94mhz. We then got the BBC local radio station network at around 102-106MHz. the Police and Fire county services were around the 100MHz mark, in AM. Slope detection meant everyone could listen to the police on virtually any broadcast radio. They kept this going but put local UHF comms in the 450MHz band, so US imported scanners were fine. Then we went encrypted. Listening to the police has always been illegal, but as the old system was in the broadcast band, they were stuck. UHF became better - only the keen or the criminal could listen. The enthusiasts were cross when it encrypted, but as what they were doing was actually illegal, what could they do? Not sure if you've noticed, but NONE of the UK airport comms are available as a streaming service. Occasionally one goes up though ignorance and the authorities get it removed quickly. We're very private when we need to be here. Lots of legislation exists to make sure what is secret, remains secret.
But that's not the point; the US has the ability to maintain confidential information as well. The point is that different countries have different laws and you can't compare across countries.
 

jets1961

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Yes but public stuff that happens is that public. Police are public servants and file criminal charges in public court so why all the real time secrecy... just to avoid scrutiny here or in the UK, same junk.
 

ab8sf

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Here in the states, you can lobby your state politicians to ban encryption of routine communications. There can and should be an option for certain tactical communications to be encrypted. An alternative would be to require agencies to live-stream routine communications if they want to maintain over-the-air encryption. As public distrust of law enforcement grows, this may become more possible. In many states, citizens have the right of initiative. This means that a statewide public vote can be initiated by citizens who garner enough petition signatures.
 

DaveNF2G

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That's great in theory, but an awful lot of average citizens do not listen to police radio and do not understand why anyone would, or should.
 

kh11

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I switched to FirstNet from AT&T a few months ago. It's nothing special, and from the looks of it, they are being slow to roll out their own sites. The AT&T store staff mostly didn't know how to set up the service. I had to go to three different stores before I found someone who really knew it well enough to get it provisioned properly. The biggest appeal to me is unlimited voice and data for less than I had been paying AT&T. My phone isn't band 14 capable, so it's not getting the full benefits, I suppose. As far as who can get it, First Responders can get personal accounts, as I have. Family members don't get access - instead they are steered to discount plans at AT&T.
 

milf

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Umm okay. FirstNet IS AT&T. AT&T won the FULL contract. So if your on FirsNet, your using AT&T. Curious as to how any State can let anyone other than State First Responders on until they fully test it out and see whats gonna work and whats not. Its called being responsible. Not to mention ITS NOT FULLY BUILT YET!
 

GTR8000

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Curious as to how any State can let anyone other than State First Responders on until they fully test it out and see whats gonna work and whats not. Its called being responsible. Not to mention ITS NOT FULLY BUILT YET!
Huh? As I stated previously, FirstNet is LTE in Band 14 with AT&T as the carrier. What exactly is there to "test" that requires limiting it to public safety only? It's LTE, not rocket science. Verizon has had LTE operating in Band 13 (also 700 MHz) for years, and it works just fine, as expected.

Some of you are seriously over-thinking/over-complicating this whole FirstNet thing. It's 4G LTE data just like your phone gets now, with priority access to public safety, built on a core that is separate from their commercial services core. That simple, really!
 

kh11

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FirstNet is an independent authority within the NTIA. Yes, they awarded the contract to AT&T for the system implementation and management. When a phone is provisioned for FirstNet service, it takes a different SIM card from the normal AT&T SIM, and network information on the phone shows the unique FirstNet MCC/MNC. There is a separate customer service system (though that may be being handled at AT&T call centers - I'm not sure. It certainly sounds different from the typical AT&T support call centers). And clearly, much if not the majority of the FIrstNet service is currently being handled on existing AT&T sites, since the deployment map for the new FirstNet nodes shows sparse coverage at the moment. (The last I looked, it appeared that they were trying to tackle the more rural areas first.) FirstNet is not limited to band 14, since as I pointed out, my phone isn't even band 14 capable.

As far as the idea of it replacing the existing public service radio systems, I don't see that happening. To us, it's just a cell service that gives us priority. We use it to provide voice service for phones, and data service to tablets and laptops on our trucks.
 

milf

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Huh? As I stated previously, FirstNet is LTE in Band 14 with AT&T as the carrier. What exactly is there to "test" that requires limiting it to public safety only? It's LTE, not rocket science. Verizon has had LTE operating in Band 13 (also 700 MHz) for years, and it works just fine, as expected.

Some of you are seriously over-thinking/over-complicating this whole FirstNet thing. It's 4G LTE data just like your phone gets now, with priority access to public safety, built on a core that is separate from their commercial services core. That simple, really!
What is there to test indeed? Hmm wonder WHY IPSC is testing it at events as much as they can then? Why deploying portable/mobile sites at big events to see if it CAN handle big loads and stress events? Why run tests of how it responds to MCI drills, Active Shooter Drills, Primary Data System failure drills? Hmm why indeed? Could it be that we do NOT want to get caught with our willies dangling in the breeze by a system that can't do everything its promised to actually do? Yes, the State of IN takes things very seriously in Public Safety Communications, and I promise they are testing it just as hard if not more so in MS, and LA. And other areas as well. You want a tool that works, so you see just what it will take to break it if you can. And then if it does break, you fix it so its even harder to break before you deploy it for full time daily use. ESPECIALLY when its AT&T doing this as they are one of the primary reasons for issues in our and other Statewide Radio systems deployments.... If they can not fully deliver on connectivity etc on an LMR contract... Are you REALLY going to trust them to do the job right on this?
 

sc8

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I switched to FirstNet from AT&T a few months ago. It's nothing special, and from the looks of it, they are being slow to roll out their own sites. The AT&T store staff mostly didn't know how to set up the service. I had to go to three different stores before I found someone who really knew it well enough to get it provisioned properly. The biggest appeal to me is unlimited voice and data for less than I had been paying AT&T. My phone isn't band 14 capable, so it's not getting the full benefits, I suppose. As far as who can get it, First Responders can get personal accounts, as I have. Family members don't get access - instead they are steered to discount plans at AT&T.
So I guess AT&T is looking for an FCC/FTC complaint against them?

They are sending out targeted ads to public safety agencies talking about first responders and family members on FirstNet.

If family members are then being steered to "discount plans" (discount meaning poor service too?). That sounds awfully like false advertising and bait and switch
 
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