Just a question about future scanning...

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Hello all, I've been doing a lot of reading on the forums today and have came across a lot of talk about encription of signals. What I was wondering is... Is the future of scanning a relativly short road?

I know that there are a lot of locations out there that haven't made the switch (mine being one of them) yet, but a couple of groups have such as the highway patrol (in progress) and DOT(done). I'm assuming it's only a matter of time and money before EVERYONE makes the switch to digital and learns how to flip the switch to encode everything. Once that happens are we just out of a hobby? Or are there ways for us hobbiest to get around those barriers? Which brings up the legal debate. I know "THEY" want to shut us out so we can't listen, but on the other side of that same coin, I believe that to a point anyway that having people listening in keeps the "law" in check or more so anyway. We all know that there are crooked cops out there. So if nobody can listen then there isn't going to be anyone out there to say hey wait a minute we've got a problem here. Obviously these examples are hypathetical, but that being said if "big Bro" is watching us, who is watching "Big Bro"?

The main reason I bring this up is... I've been listening to scanners and such virtually my whole life, and recently have decided to make it more of a major hobby of mine. After reading some of the stuff though I have to wonder, is investing in all the radios ect. really worth it. Or am I trying to buy a dead horse? I currently have three scanners that all work fine excluding the digital stuff, but if everyone is flirting with encription when they switch to digital then I don't see any point in investing several hundred dollars into a fancy paper weight.

Be interesting to hear your thoughts on this. Not wanting to start any debate fights or anything so lets just keep it a civilized discusion. Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts.
 

gmclam

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There are a lot of threads here on RR related to this topic. There are some very compelling reasons some agencies should not use digital. There are even more reasons for "being in the clear". Plus there is the fact that going digital does cost quite a bit.

As far as the hobby goes, there will be things to scan in our lifetimes. For example, it is totally unlikely aviation will switch from AM to digital. That's a lot of radios from many countries.

Now if you ask whether a specific "channel" that is used for 'undercover' work might become un-scannable, that's another story. But do a search here on RR and you'll find more than you want to read on the topic.
 

ibagli

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I'm assuming it's only a matter of time and money before EVERYONE makes the switch to digital and learns how to flip the switch to encode everything.
Maybe. But it will probably be a very long time before there is a universal move by public safety across the country to digital (if it ever happens). And when it happens, a lot of them (most, even) probably won't be encrypted. The sky will most likely never fall all the way down.

Or are there ways for us hobbiest to get around those barriers?
No.

I currently have three scanners that all work fine excluding the digital stuff, but if everyone is flirting with encription when they switch to digital then I don't see any point in investing several hundred dollars into a fancy paper weight.
Not everyone is flirting with encryption.
 
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DPD1

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Overall, I don't think it's bad as some like to try and paint. It may SEEM bad to the unlucky few that happen to live in an area that has gone encrypted. But people have been predicting the hobby will die any day now for decades. I remember when people said CB would be dead, HF would be dead, ham would be dead... Some people are always going to go to the negative side. But at this point, I certainly wouldn't let it stop me from buying stuff. If your only goal is to listen to one emergency service in your area and that happens to go encrypted, then I guess you're out of luck. But for most people here, you're either into radio as a whole or you're not. And if you are, then there will always be something to interest you in your lifetime. All that said... My personal view is that the fairly recently public nature of the hobby (last ten years or so) has probably helped speed along the process of the industry/services looking into a way to stop monitoring. All the public info, discussion, streams and everything is great, but it's a two edged sword... Those are also all things that potentially lead people in the industry to pursue encryption even faster. I've seen many instances where people didn't exactly use their best judgment with this stuff... ie: People who view themselves as some sort of dudley-do-right and feel the need to snitch out people who they feel did something inappropriate over the radio... People who have streamed undercover ops or posted realtime info on undercover ops... People who streamed AF 1 and other sensitive things... In my opinion, these are all things that are potentially shooting ourselves in the foot and should be avoided.
 
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Overall, I don't think it's bad as some like to try and paint. It may SEEM bad to the unlucky few that happen to live in an area that has gone encrypted. But people have been predicting the hobby will die any day now for decades. I remember when people said CB would be dead, HF would be dead, ham would be dead... Some people are always going to go to the negative side. But at this point, I certainly wouldn't let it stop me from buying stuff. If your only goal is to listen to one emergency service in your area and that happens to go encrypted, then I guess you're out of luck. But for most people here, you're either into radio as a whole or you're not. And if you are, then there will always be something to interest you in your lifetime. All that said... My personal view is that the fairly recently public nature of the hobby (last ten years or so) has probably helped speed along the process of the industry/services looking into a way to stop monitoring. All the public info, discussion, streams and everything is great, but it's a two edged sword... Those are also all things that potentially lead people in the industry to pursue encryption even faster. I've seen many instances where people didn't exactly use their best judgment with this stuff... ie: People who view themselves as some sort of dudley-do-right and feel the need to snitch out people who they feel did something inappropriate over the radio... People who have streamed undercover ops or posted realtime info on undercover ops... People who streamed AF 1 and other sensitive things... In my opinion, these are all things that are potentially shooting ourselves in the foot and should be avoided.
Yeah I tend to agree with you. I've met a few of those that think because they have a scanner they are better than the average civilian and portray themselves basically like a cop without a badge. Which I think is completely irresponsible and condemming to those of us that just like to hear what's going on around us. I'm also a HAM, so I listen to just about anything the scanner can pick up and that I have freqs. for. I find it particularly interesting to listen in on the PS/HP during bad weather events. Not to capitalize on the misfortunes of others, but it's amazing how many (and I use the term loosly) stupid drivers that are out there driving. I live in Iowa and snow and ice isn't anything new here, but EVERY year the first few weeks of snow or slick conditions there dropping like flies out there. Last night was our first snow here in my area and there must of been 50+ calls of cars in the ditch or involved in accidents.
 

ab3a

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Many other radio users, including other police forces, use scanners to monitor each other. In other words, the people who buy these things aren't just people who like to listen to cops on the road. Our police force at work (watershed rangers) use scanners to follow what the county police are doing in their area.

I don't think on the air encryption will ever be in widespread use. The problems it would create in a disaster with the tower of babel of different radio systems would be horrendous.
 

DPD1

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Yeah I tend to agree with you. I've met a few of those that think because they have a scanner they are better than the average civilian and portray themselves basically like a cop without a badge. Which I think is completely irresponsible and condemming to those of us that just like to hear what's going on around us. I'm also a HAM, so I listen to just about anything the scanner can pick up and that I have freqs. for. I find it particularly interesting to listen in on the PS/HP during bad weather events. Not to capitalize on the misfortunes of others, but it's amazing how many (and I use the term loosly) stupid drivers that are out there driving. I live in Iowa and snow and ice isn't anything new here, but EVERY year the first few weeks of snow or slick conditions there dropping like flies out there. Last night was our first snow here in my area and there must of been 50+ calls of cars in the ditch or involved in accidents.
Try a rainy day in L.A... Between people floating down the rivers, houses sliding down hills, and car wrecks every 5 miles... it looks like a scene from the 2012 movie.
 

idontknow82

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I know that there are a lot of locations out there that haven't made the switch (mine being one of them) yet, but a couple of groups have such as the highway patrol (in progress) and DOT(done). I'm assuming it's only a matter of time and money before EVERYONE makes the switch to digital and learns how to flip the switch to encode everything. Once that happens are we just out of a hobby? Or are there ways for us hobbiest to get around those barriers? Which brings up the legal debate. I know "THEY" want to shut us out so we can't listen, but on the other side of that same coin, I believe that to a point anyway that having people listening in keeps the "law" in check or more so anyway. We all know that there are crooked cops out there. So if nobody can listen then there isn't going to be anyone out there to say hey wait a minute we've got a problem here. Obviously these examples are hypathetical, but that being said if "big Bro" is watching us, who is watching "Big Bro"?
I also question who keeps the law in check. It sounds like chaos to me...I don't give it more then 5 years and this encryption problem will be more widespread.
 

whiskeytango

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was there a gap between the time that trunking came out and when scanners were trunk track capable? i honestly cant imagine that too many neighboring pd's would find it a good idea to encrypt so that the local sheriff has to wait for his dp to hear from pd's dp about the fleeing suspect that drove right by him in those crucial 30 seconds. but the govt continues to suprise me. i do think that undo's and other sensitive tx's should be encrypted, and should have been already.

my $0.02
 

N8IAA

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One thing that I have noticed in my metro area, is that, the SO's and PD's don't like the media hounding them at every step. I do sympathize with the LEO's on this one. The big market stations here go nuts over what they consider is "breaking news". I believe, also, in a free society, that we need to be able to listen to our public safety forces who we fund with our tax money, accountable to us. Unfortunately, due to the "sky is falling" mentality of the common public, many of our rights have been curtailed. Do I care to hear all the traffic stops being done by my county PD, not really. I do want to know when there is a wreck somewhere that my travels take me. I don't want to wait on the local radio stations to update me on what is going on. It usually is 10 to 15 minutes behind what is happening. I miss the days when the PD wasn't paranoid about how bad its personnel were behaving with the public. The bigger our government gets, the smaller we grow.
JMTCW,
Larry

Sorry for the rant.
 
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whiskeytango

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its the good ole information age...info is moving faster than ever and the media takes full advantage. i hate it, i think theyve over stepped....but at the same time you do want to know when certain stories develop. we just found out about caltrans rediculous spending of money on employee activities, without a prodding media certain things like that would never get out. the double edge sword
 

JoeyC

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What's being said on the radio does not constitute "everything".

Yes, it doesn't even constitute a little of what is going on.


idontknow (and the rest of the conspiracy crowd) you really don't know do you?

All the plotting, scheming, lawless activity that you accuse the police of are NOT BEING DISCUSSED ON THE RADIOS!!! DUhhh. Basically what you are saying is that ALL cops are crooked. Why? All this secret information that goes over the air, the plotting against innocent civilians and fabrication of evidence, etc is being heard by EVERYONE on the force. You don't think that even ONE cop with a conscience would come forward and expose the rest for all this unlawful activity you accuse them of? Certainly someone with some integrity would have resigned from the force by now and exposed all this felonious activity to the press. I haven't heard of any such reporting by the news media that would LOVE to bust the cops for shutting them out from listening.

All this hiding crap from the public because of encryption is just that, CRAP.
 
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ab8sn

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Most of the activity here in WV is in the clear, but with the new WVIRP trunking system, there are a few full-time encrypted talkgroups. They are mostly used for special operations and investigations. Even a few county and city law enforcement agencies in the state still use digital encryption and voice inversion on their everyday frequencies for sensitive information, but go right back in the clear.

I've been hearing the "push the scrambled button for good" logic for quite some time now but I don't look forward for that to happen. Also sometimes the public safety agencies, when considering encryption, do not stop to think about how many times a listener will help them out in dangerous situations or to give them a "heads up" on a fleeing suspect or where a particular location is. Plus encryption is a huge cost added to a radio system whether it is digital or not.

Everyone have a good day

Chad
 

idontknow82

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Yes, it doesn't even constitute a little of what is going on.


idontknow (and the rest of the conspiracy crowd) you really don't know do you?

All the plotting, scheming, lawless activity that you accuse the police of are NOT BEING DISCUSSED ON THE RADIOS!!! DUhhh. Basically what you are saying is that ALL cops are crooked. Why? All this secret information that goes over the air, the plotting against innocent civilians and fabrication of evidence, etc is being heard by EVERYONE on the force. You don't think that even ONE cop with a conscience would come forward and expose the rest for all this unlawful activity you accuse them of? Certainly someone with some integrity would have resigned from the force by now and exposed all this felonious activity to the press. I haven't heard of any such reporting by the news media that would LOVE to bust the cops for shutting them out from listening.

All this hiding crap from the public because of encryption is just that, CRAP.
Hey you never know if a whole police dept is crooked, maybe its a small town and has one or two officers. Every think of that one? Whos going to turn them in? Basically I don't trust any law enforcement that has to encrypt. If you don't encrypt plain and simple talk great! No problems.
I think conspiracy theories are different ways of looking at things. You must be on some government mind control, JoeyC
 

zz0468

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Hey you never know if a whole police dept is crooked, maybe its a small town and has one or two officers. Every think of that one? Whos going to turn them in? Basically I don't trust any law enforcement that has to encrypt. If you don't encrypt plain and simple talk great! No problems.
I think conspiracy theories are different ways of looking at things. You must be on some government mind control, JoeyC
If a whole police department is corrupt, listening to the radio is not going to identify and solve the problem. You have to realize that the reason departments consider encryption at all is because they have the perception that it will enhance officer safety. I say 'perception' because that doesn't always go hand in hand with the reality... but then again, sometimes it does.

Law enforcement isn't worried about the usual good old fashioned bad guys anymore. They want to be prepared to deal with organized crime, drug cartels, and terrorists. And encryption is just another tool that might help.

Most departments don't care one way or another if people listen on scanners. But if they perceive that encryption will help them do their job better and safer, they're not going to give the slightest second thought to the listening public.

There is no collusion, there is no conspiracy. It's done for safety and effectiveness only.
 

N4DES

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As an individual who manages a TRS system that has numerous LE and investigative agencies, I can tell you that not a week goes by where someone asks about the use of encryption. They are very interested in it and now with Motorola offering $10.00 ADP encryption for the option included in the original purchase of a P25 radio how can they say no and I can tell you that some agencies will begin to make the purchase even before the infractructure is in place to handle it.

It is something that is going to happen with either agencies moving to P25 with encryption or a proprietary technology that scanners can't monitor as a selling point. Either way it is not as expensive as you guys think and with a large scale purchase I wouldn't be suprised if Motorola started provided the encryption for free.

Mark
 
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DaveIN

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My question is why do they really need encryption, when theses agencies all use cell phones for sensitive information, other than as a selling point for the radio system?
 
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