Is an I-phone a scanner under FL law?

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kayleesdad

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Is an I-Phone a scanner if it is downloading real time feed from the internet? Is a scanner device being used to avoid detection under FL statutes if target uses the internet feed over the I-Phone to listen in to a delta channel conversation about the subject? Has a crime been committed?

A bystander tipped off pd that the subject was listening to them on his I-Phone, but officers weren't real sure. This is what friends at work do with their I-Phones... pick up feeds from all over the country in real time. Not that internet feeds are that great since the can't be controlled remotely (maybe some can?), but if the bystander is correct then the target found a "use" for a pinellas county feed.

can pd take away a cell phone/I-phone while discussing matters on the radio?
 

sjlamb

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The issue won't be ultimately determined until such time there has been a "test" case and/or the FL Attorney General's Office renders a legal opinion as to whether an I-Phone is one of these:

"frequency modulation radio receiving equipment so adjusted or tuned as to receive messages or signals on frequencies assigned to police or law enforcement officers or fire rescue personnel.”

Technically speaking, I think the answer is "yes", if an I-Phone is being used in the above manner. An I-Phone... like any other mobile phone is, in reality, a FM transciever. However, I don't expect anyone to suddenly begin attempting to enforce the Florida Scanner Statute by targeting I-Phones or any other mobile phone capable of receiving streaming scanner audio.

If someone were to use a mobile phone to receive streaming scanner audio and LE wanted to push the issue.... could they prove it and successfully prosecute the case? Given the current written laguage of the statue.... in all probability, the answer would be "yes".
 

gloucester

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Interesting question. But it is not actually receiving messages over those frequencies. It is receiving messages remotely repeated, fed through the internet and retransmitted over frequencies not assigned to LE.

The same argument would applly to listening to a scanner feed on a laptop with an air card in a vehicle. I don't see the legal issues as being clear enough that the SA would want to spend their time with it.
 

N4DES

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The same argument would applly to listening to a scanner feed on a laptop with an air card in a vehicle. I don't see the legal issues as being clear enough that the SA would want to spend their time with it.
Unless it was being used in the commission of a crime.
 

n5ims

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Another question would be since the law specifically outlaws "frequency modulation radio receiving equipment" would the cell phone's digital signal use FM or would it use another type of modulation to transmit the digital signal.

Based on the law's wording, I guess if your radio receiver used something other than strict frequency modulation detection (such as using slope detection of the FM signal using an AM receiver possibly) a good lawyer may have a valid argument to try and have your case dismissed. Since I'm not licensed to practice law in Florida (or any other state for that matter since I'm not a lawyer or even a non-lawyer spokesperson), you're on your own if you try this.
 

N4DES

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Another question would be since the law specifically outlaws "frequency modulation radio receiving equipment" would the cell phone's digital signal use FM or would it use another type of modulation to transmit the digital signal.

Based on the law's wording, I guess if your radio receiver used something other than strict frequency modulation detection (such as using slope detection of the FM signal using an AM receiver possibly) a good lawyer may have a valid argument to try and have your case dismissed. Since I'm not licensed to practice law in Florida (or any other state for that matter since I'm not a lawyer or even a non-lawyer spokesperson), you're on your own if you try this.
All radios use FM...it's Freakin Magic!!! :lol:
 

talkpair

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i would hope any casual listener would have sense enough to just exit the application and disconnect the stream if approached.

Lets face it......anyone that's committing a SERIOUS crime doesn't care if they break a scanner law, and if they did, there are probably ways around it.......Such as having a lookout at another location with a scanner on the other end of a regular voice telephone call to tip the criminal off.
In this scenario, no special application is required.........only a telephone number in the 'recent calls' list, with no clue left behind of the content.

To get to your question though.......most scanner laws I've seen all seem to contain "any radio capable of receiving" in their text......It doesn't say "directly receiving" or "indirectly receiving"

Another thing to throw in the mix........What if you're not even listening to Florida scanners while in Florida?.....If you're visiting from out of state and just want to monitor things back home.
 

sjlamb

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Another thing to throw in the mix........What if you're not even listening to Florida scanners while in Florida?.....If you're visiting from out of state and just want to monitor things back home.
As the Florida law is currently written.... it wouln't matter who you were listening to if someone in authority WANTED to bust your jewels. The law was intentionally written is such a way as to be broad and sweeping, which it succeeds in being. The only questions that would need to be address by a legal authority that wanted to press the issue would be:

(1) Were you in (or on) a motor vehicle and in possession of some form of "frequency modulation radio receiving equipment"?

(2) Was that equipment adjusted or tuned so as to receive messages or signals on frequencies assigned to police or law enforcement officers or fire rescue personnel?

(3) Are you exempted from the prohibitions contained within the statute by current law?

Eventually.... and upon adequate legal challenge..... I envision a change in the statute's language where "frequency modulation radio receiving equipment" will simply be replaced with the words "any electronic device".
 
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gloucester

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And again, we are back to the same question whether the remote reception of those frequencies on a radio actually receiving on those frequencies which is then digitized, uploaded and narrowcasted through software that enables the reception of data on a totally different, non-law enforcement frequency, is covered by this language. Is software on a remote radio an adjustment. The law is broad, but if they are trying to capture this, they need to focus on the message rather than the means of communication. By the same logic, 911 dispatch tapes played over the airwaves by the media violate the law as well when received on a standard FM broadcast receiver. Or so it seems to me.
 

radiomanNJ1

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Do you want to be the test case? Don't do something stupid. Don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time. (Baretta) When in doubt turn it off. If you get stopped or approached if you disconnect at least you are not transporting or in possession of a scanner.
 

jamesa53

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We have the same issue here in Indiana (sorry for snooping on the Florida forum LOL). You cannot legally posess a radio capable of receiving police frequencies (not the exact text of the law) unless you have an amateur radio license. However my iPhone has the 5-0 Radio app (which is now free) installed.
 

Bolt21

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We need to get a pool going for predicting the longevity of this thread. I'm thinkin' it'll be a minimum 5-pager.
 
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