Is your local PD inviting identity theft?

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nydxa

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In another discussion, about encryption, it was mentioned, “Utility companies, and other service firms (towing contractors, taxicab and car services, etc.), can argue a need to encrypt channels/talk groups used for customer service… Credit card numbers being put over the air can create a problem for the company should some unintended party copy the numbers, begin making fraudulent purchases.. and so on.

Well I may be opening a real can of worms, but has anyone ever noted how many times your local PD gives out a persons name, address and often their social security number, over the air, while running a license check? It’s as if they feed identity theft.

There should be legislation that mandates this ifo being sent via MDT or some other encrypted means. Any thoughts?
 

902

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nydxa said:
There should be legislation that mandates this ifo being sent via MDT or some other encrypted means. Any thoughts?
Well, isn't the Communications Act of 1934 and the ECPA good enough <smirk>?

Seriously, this is a national problem. Many agencies have stopped providing complete information and only stop at what is needed to identify the individual. Some states have switched away from using social security numbers as driver's licenses. But most law enforcement agencies still claim being in the poorhouse when it comes to communications technology - or they buy completely low-end equipment that was not intended to support life-safety missions.

I don't see too many new police cars with 1970's vintage lightbars. I don't see ANY new fire trucks with 1970's vintage lightbars. I've seen new police cars and fire trucks with 1970's vintage radios, however.

I attribute that to (in this order) pretentious politicians who refuse to apportion what's necessary to operate, poor budgeting and a lack of understanding or unwillingness to consider technology. But that's just me.

Some agencies are all show and no go.
 

rdale

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n4voxgill said:
this could easily lead to the outlawing of all scanners.
No it couldn't, and even if it could - it would NOT be easy.
 

wyldman

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I know it's not identitiy theft,but along the same lines.......

I see a lot of sensitive info being given out over the radio as well.The fire dept does it all the time,with entry codes,alarm codes,etc.I heard them one night give out the keypad security entry code to a big telephone switching station.Imagine the stuff someone could do if they got in there (ie tapping phone lines,taking down the entire system,etc).I've also heard them give out combinations to key lock boxes,so anyone could gain access to that house or business later on.

The police around here don't give out much,just the name and D\L number.
 

tuckerone

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I think having been a dispatcher for many years that too much info is being given out, I live in a poor County here in Ohio (Clark) the Sheriff's office is still using old Motorola and GE High Band radio's from the 70's, they have car's with well over 100K miles on them. They do use nextel for dispatches they do not want to transmit over the high band frequencies, but I doubt if any time in the near future Clark County unless it gets a federal grant, will go on the States MARCS system, or even the City of Springfields EDACS.. Bottom line use only license numbers and descriptors. The only other thing we do here in Clark County is give out the complaintants name and address, so you call the Sheriff cause your neighbor is being a jerk, he just happens to listen to a scanner, next thing you have a neighbor problem.
 

ctrabs74

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nydxa said:
Well I may be opening a real can of worms, but has anyone ever noted how many times your local PD gives out a persons name, address and often their social security number, over the air, while running a license check? It’s as if they feed identity theft.
For the most part, Chester County, Pa. usually does most license checks via MDT (at least that's my guess). The only time I hear name and DOB info over county radio is when there's a "hit confirmation" off the NCIC system, and that's fairly rare.

Some departments (Downingtown Boro. and Birmingham Twp. are two examples off the top of my head) simply send their stop via MDT, with county responding only with "copy your stop" (though there are one or two dispatchers who do give a location when a stop is forwarded via MDT; that should be SOG, IMHO so back-up officers will have an idea what's going on). Most of the other depts. on county dispatch will simply give a location, tag, and # of occupants, with the driver/vehicle info sent via MDT.

OTOH, West Chester PD, which self-dispatches 24/7, will more often than not provide the registration info over the air. Additionally, for NCIC/COAST (Pa. version of NCIC) checks, WCPD will put names and, when neccesary, DOB over the air, but the only time an SS# is involved is on a NCIC/COAST hit confirmation, and even then it's usually only the last four digits.

Most of the surrounding counties have NCIC/COAST/data check channels or talk groups where it's simply registration info and D/L info, but never SS#'s (at least from what I've been able to hear). For most NCIC checks in Philadelphia, they more often than not give out the last 4 of a SS# when responding to a check. The only dept. in SE Pa. that I know of that has put full SS# over the air is SEPTA Transit Police (why they do so, I don't know; overall, that department is an embarassment to law enforcement, but that's another rant for another forum).

The few times that I've monitored NJSP, I have heard troopers regularly read full SS# over the air.

I certainly agree that there's no legitimate purpose to put SS# over the air, unless only the last four digits of an SS# are given out. Then again, that's probably risky as well, since how often do certain businesses (read: banks) or payroll departments require those last four digits?

My feeling is that where possible, PDs should use MDTs for all NCIC checks as opposed to going over the air with same info. I don't see any need for that info to be broadcast at all.
 

PortCop

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ctrabs74 said:
The few times that I've monitored NJSP, I have heard troopers regularly read full SS# over the air.

I certainly agree that there's no legitimate purpose to put SS# over the air, unless only the last four digits of an SS# are given out. Then again, that's probably risky as well, since how often do certain businesses (read: banks) or payroll departments require those last four digits?

.
Actually, in NY and NJ to do a complete and thorough NCIC check, the SS# is crucial, that's why they use it. And believe it or not, there are still agencies that don't have MDTs in vehicles. This basically leads to the question about encryption. I think this is why alot a departments opt for encryption. I have no problem with encryption used on warrant check channels.
 
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902

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n4voxgill said:
this could easily lead to the outlawing of all scanners. that doesn't have a budget impact.
That's a good point, and one that fits well with they typical knee-jerk reactions of politicians (you guys probably have picked up on me not liking politicians). But there are plenty of uses for monitor receivers that 'can' pick up law enforcement communications, particularly if they are used to monitor fire, EMS, business radio or other stuff (trains, critical infrastructure, whatever). Sadly, today everythng is suspect. "You listen to _____?! You shouldn't be able to do that!"
tuckerone said:
...snip... I live in a poor County here in Ohio (Clark) the Sheriff's office is still using old Motorola and GE High Band radio's from the 70's, they have car's with well over 100K miles on them. They do use nextel for dispatches they do not want to transmit over the high band frequencies, but I doubt if any time in the near future Clark County unless it gets a federal grant, will go on the States MARCS system, or even the City of Springfields EDACS.. ...snip...
I empathize with your neighbor situation. But look at the economy of using Nextel versus taking the money and investing it into your agency's communications system:
Nextel cost ~$30/ mo. for service. Over the 10 year usable life of a two-way radio, the Nextel costs $3,600; more if data services and messaging are used. With cooperative buying agreements and regionalization, a public safety communications system can incorporate both coverage and security for less than the total costs of all of the Nextels used.

More banditos are on the way for your public safety dollar. Look for Morgan O'Brien's CyrenCall and Verizon's 700 MHz data proposal to 'help us out.' Anything for a recurring revenue stream. That will be the death knell of monitoring. CyrenCall says its network will run voice AND data. Transmissions will be vocoded and will all IP based. They will go ONLY to units which are registered and have the proper IP address and proper device name. Your only ability to monitor then would be if the agency benevolently decides to webcast.
 

Thayne

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I remember about 20 years ago the Police would send somebody out with an engraver and put your Social security # on anything you wanted--I just threw out an old Tuner and had to grind it off with my Dremel--Who woulda thunk it :)
 

902

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Thayne said:
I remember about 20 years ago the Police would send somebody out with an engraver and put your Social security # on anything you wanted--I just threw out an old Tuner and had to grind it off with my Dremel--Who woulda thunk it :)
They did that on my old job every time they issued something to me. It was only supposed to index Social Security, not be the universal ID. Gotta love it.
 
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