Legality of RadioReference Live Audio Broadcasts and Archives

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Confuzzled

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You are in the minority here, both on RR and in the radio hobbies. Your apparently pro-cop stance is actually anti-public safety (small p.s.).
It's not pro-cop, at least not in the sense of a public servant in America. It might be pro-cop in the sense of the former East German Secret Police.

I believe all public safety/service transmissions should be freely available with the exception of certain instances. I believe in transparency and accountability of public services and support anything that facilitates such. I don't believe in totalitarian, secretive regimes.

I really wish the Feds would step in and strike down all of these state laws. The FCC controls the airwaves and the licenses. States should not have any control over them at all.

Any and all laws in this area should be about use of the information, not how it's obtained.
 
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N0BDW

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It's not pro-cop, at least not in the sense of a public servant in America. It might be pro-cop in the sense of the former East German Secret Police.

I believe all public safety/service transmissions should be freely available with the exception of certain instances. I believe in transparency and accountability of public services and support anything that facilitates such. I don't believe in totalitarian, secretive regimes.

I really wish the Feds would step in and strike down all of these state laws. The FCC controls the airwaves and the licenses. States should not have any control over them at all.

Any and all laws in this area should be about use of the information, not how it's obtained.
I agree that only select channels should be unavailable, and only so long as the American public feels that those channels are not being abused. Recordings of those channels should be available after any incident using a FOIL request. If it is found that the privilege of having those channels encrypted is being abused, the agency in question should no longer have the ability to encrypt.
 

slash

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You are in the minority here, both on RR and in the radio hobbies. Your apparently pro-cop stance is actually anti-public safety (small p.s.).
If I were pro-cop I wouldn't be concerned about innocent people getting arrested. In fact, I wouldn't even be posting warnings about this issue at all.

If I were anti-public safety I would be saying that no one should be able to own scanners and listen to police/fire traffic.

There are plenty of police agencies in the USA that encourage the general public to listen in so they can be extra eyes and ears
And plenty that don't, for the same reasons they don't like citizens owning guns and sometimes impose restrictions when it becomes a problem, even though it's a very small minority of people who use them to commit crimes. Handguns were banned in Chicago for 28 years before the SCOTUS recently overturned it.

I completely understand the good things and bad things of providing a feed. I understand the argument that police make as I understand the argument that feed providers have. It's only been two and a half years since this audio platform exploded from acquiring ~500 feeds and now there are over 10,000 on this site.

If people want to listen to be an extra set of eyes and ears, go out and buy a real scanner that has zero delay in receiving radio traffic, with no restrictions on what channels they can monitor. It's what everyone did before streaming came around. My opinion is that delayed streams are good public policy for the average listener. Police will have nothing to complain about when it doesn't give criminals an extra edge.

If feed listeners and scanner users all get lumped into the same category and perceived as mostly law breakers, legislators will feel justified to intervene, and municipalities will feel they have more justification to spend ridiculous amounts of money to go to encrypted trunked systems and legally end the hobby of listening in for everyone including press, scanner hobbyists and ham radio operators. If you dismiss their concerns, they'll ultimately end up dismissing yours when they make the decisions.

Whatever your opinion, publishing frequencies, codes, and other info, and running live radio feeds, are all perfectly legal in the United States.
I have no problems with posting frequencies or police codes. That information belongs in the county's wiki, not on the feed where it only benefits feed listeners. Scanner listeners were around on this site before the feeds popped up.

Whatever your opinion, Supreme Court interpretations (and other appellate decisions left unreviewed) of the Bill of Rights are the law of the land.
While that might ultimately address the issue of warrantless searches of computer devices upon arrest, it's still a risk that a judge, jury or a majority on a panel of judges might not agree with you and it takes literally years of battling before there's a definitive answer.

More importantly, there are no constitutional protections to own a scanner or computer device that can listen in on public safety communications in real time. The only thing you have the privilege to is a FOIA request after the fact, and even that is on shaky ground.

And most importantly, the NDAA of 2012 has the very real potential of whisking away any feed provider in aiding the enemy. There's no court of law to challenge anyone's assertions. I don't see why any feed provider isn't crapping bricks right now over wondering whether their actions could be misconstrued as aiding the enemy if that enemy commits an act of "terrorism". I think of stories like the Christmas Tree bomber and wonder, had he been successful with a police scanner feed at his immediate disposal, (he did have a cell phone he used to try to remotely detonate a bomb) what would have happened to the feed provider who provided aid to him?
 
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DaveNF2G

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You forget one small but vital detail in your "what if" scenario. They would have to prove that the feed provider intentionally or knowingly provided assistance to that individual for the purpose of that activity.
 

POSTAL24060

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"what would have happened to the feed provider who provided aid to him?"

While they are at it why not prosecute Uniden and GRE as well since they provided the equipment that allowed the info to be received in the first place.
 

slash

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You forget one small but vital detail in your "what if" scenario. They would have to prove that the feed provider intentionally or knowingly provided assistance to that individual for the purpose of that activity.
If you're referring to the NDAA, they don't have to prove anything. Nor can you contest any of their allegations in front of a judge.

On my feed page, I had an individual who was badmouthing law enforcement for going after people allegedly using drugs with the Facebook social plugin. His Facebook page was littered with references to illegal drug use. That was the final straw before I demanded my feed be terminated, because I now knew my feed was being used by a criminal, and without any way to exclude this individual from listening, I would be criminally liable if that individual committed a crime utilizing my feed in the future because I made it available to him.

The test for civil liability is even lower, in most, if not every jurisdiction, you don't have to have intent to, or knowingly provided assistance to a criminal, only that you "should have known" for it to be considered negligence.

"what would have happened to the feed provider who provided aid to him?"

While they are at it why not prosecute Uniden and GRE as well since they provided the equipment that allowed the info to be received in the first place.
It's the same reason gun manufacturers aren't criminally liable for when a person kills another person with a firearm, and why cough syrup makers that include pseudoephedrine in their products aren't liable because a methamphetamine cook uses it to make the drug.

Both products have legitimate uses, one is for self defense or sport, the other is for curing coughs and colds. Both can be used for bad reasons. Neither makers are generally criminally or civilly liable unless intent can be proven, and often times there are laws passed preventing these companies from being held civilly liable on a "should have known" basis. It helps having powerful lobbyists.

Scanners have many legitimate uses, I don't think I need to explain that here :)
 

POSTAL24060

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"Scanners have many legitimate uses, I don't think I need to explain that here"

And you don't think that a feed that is provided to the general public does not have any legitimate uses and would not be looked at the same way.

All a feed does is provide information in a more accessible format. Any one of the listeners to my feed can purchase a scanner of their own and listen to the same thing that I am providing.

Based on your arguments this would make the scanner manufacture liable for how the information they provide is used.
 
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DaveNF2G

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The whole "scanner feed provider prosecution" argument is a straw man. There are too many valid defenses for any agency to even bother, unless an individual with direct ties to a criminal organization is providing targeted feeds for criminal purposes. Even that can be tough to prove if the perp makes the feed public.

The only ones who need to worry are those who will worry anyway. They are the ones who will preemptively give up their own rights.
 

wten77

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When your right your right

Lets all give Lindsey a round of applause at succeeding in being the reason why LE agencies are encrypting there communications systems. Attached is a Alert bulletin internally issued to LE agencies in Maryland regarding officer safety and specifically names this site as being the enabler for people to listen to Live audio via smartphone apps and endanger police officers. I guess Roberto the " troller" was right all along.

_________

EDIT:

Attached was removed per the request of the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center's message to be below:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in reference to a Law Enforcement Sensitive document that was posted on your website. On January 1 of this year, RadioReference.com user wten77 posted a bulletin, concerning radio feeds provided by your website, which was issued by the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center. This user did not have permission to post the document, which is a requirement of our center’s non-disclosure agreement. This document contained information that is not intended to be released to the public.

I am requesting the document, titled Officer (1).pdf, be removed from your site. I will be happy to discuss my request should you have any questions, and may be reached by response to this e-mail or at the telephone number listed below.

Thank you.

xxxxxx
Assistant Director, PPRD
Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center
 
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Jay911

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They'd be mentioning whatever the site name was prior to RR acquiring it (sorry to the live audio admin, my mind is blank right now) if RR wasn't involved. Not a big deal. They're also not blaming RR any more than they're blaming Apple for allowing the live scanner apps on their store. (Notice nobody has ever brought that particular tidbit up.)

There's also not a peep in that document (which is FOUO, might I add, so you're kind of the pot calling the kettle black by publishing it) about encryption - more correctly it's mentioning that LEOs and LEAs need to be more cognizant of the fact that criminal elements are using "emerging technologies" in their undertakings. This is the LE equivalent of governments having to make themselves aware that protesters are communicating their intentions to one another over Twitter.

A criminal could just as easily pick up a scanner from Radio Shack, especially these days when scanners have the entire DB onboard and just need to be turned on in order to start receiving. It's hardly RR's fault - not to mention the fact that RR isn't the cause of these criminal acts in the first place. It's like saying that Bass Pro Shops or your local gun store is "the reason why" drive-by shootings occur.
 

blantonl

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Lets all give Lindsey a round of applause at succeeding in being the reason why LE agencies are encrypting there communications systems. Attached is a Alert bulletin internally issued to LE agencies in Maryland regarding officer safety and specifically names this site as being the enabler for people to listen to Live audio via smartphone apps and endanger police officers. I guess Roberto the " troller" was right all along.
Sorry, but this looks like something that was put together by a government contractor that charged $300 an hour to a DHS/State fusion center for an "analysis" of an emerging threat(s).

Give me a break.

Most of this analysis is cut-and-paste content directly from this site. Additionally, not a single one of our feeds has a delay of 3 secs or less. The least amount of delay that we see is 15-20 seconds, with a common delay of 30 to 90 seconds minimum. The assertion in this release is a flat our lie (or misconception by the writer).

Additionally, officers were ON SCENE when they heard their own transmissions on the referenced smartphones with said suspects in custody. Sounds like officers were doing their jobs wonderfully and our live audio feeds had no impact on LEOs abilities to do their jobs.
 
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blantonl

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Lets all give Lindsey a round of applause at succeeding in being the reason why LE agencies are encrypting there communications systems. Attached is a Alert bulletin internally issued to LE agencies in Maryland regarding officer safety and specifically names this site as being the enabler for people to listen to Live audio via smartphone apps and endanger police officers. I guess Roberto the " troller" was right all along.
By the way wten77, if you are so focused on officer safety, why would you post a U//FOUO//LES document to a public Web site?

And, where did you receive this document?
 

Jay911

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After a second read of that document, it is claiming that the feed has the agency's "secure" law enforcement channel available, which is more falsehoods... unless the agency is considering "secure" to mean "we didn't publish it", or the common/usual "it's digital/ProVoice/800MHz so it's secure!"
 

wten77

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Sad Reality

Lindsey is indeed laying a smackdown. A smackdown against cops by letting criminals have the uppper hand. To all of you who commeneted on the document I posted, you are idiots. This was distributed to every LE agency in the state of Maryland. The events in the bulletin really ocurred, and RR is mentioned specifically. RR supports all these apps. The live audio comes from RR. All of you can defend him as best you can because you like scanners, but the sad fact is the live audio feed is forcing agencies to convert to encryption. Dozens of municpalties have or are in the process of going encryption. As long as these feed supported apps exist police will continue to go secure and leave us in the dark. In fact I just sold 10 encryp boards to a local PD and the Lt. stated to me he wanted them because of RR. This alert was not issued based on misinformation or lies, it was issued due to facts and the life threatning danger that RR and the apps pose to police officer everyday. So those of you who reply in a weak, uneducated attempt to defend a scanner website you should really put yourself in the position of a cop and how you would feel if the criminal element was listening to your every move. Nit picking the alert will change change the fact that police are aware of RR and the smartphone apps, and therefore move forward with switching to full encryption. Lindsey runs a business and of course will make some sort of attempt to try to defend his product. To him it is about the bottom dollar not safety. As long as the money keeps lining his wallet no changes will be made even if it costs a officer his/her life.
 

webstar22

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Lindsey is indeed laying a smackdown. A smackdown against cops by letting criminals have the uppper hand. To all of you who commeneted on the document I posted, you are idiots. This was distributed to every LE agency in the state of Maryland. The events in the bulletin really ocurred, and RR is mentioned specifically. RR supports all these apps. The live audio comes from RR. All of you can defend him as best you can because you like scanners, but the sad fact is the live audio feed is forcing agencies to convert to encryption. Dozens of municpalties have or are in the process of going encryption. As long as these feed supported apps exist police will continue to go secure and leave us in the dark. In fact I just sold 10 encryp boards to a local PD and the Lt. stated to me he wanted them because of RR. This alert was not issued based on misinformation or lies, it was issued due to facts and the life threatning danger that RR and the apps pose to police officer everyday. So those of you who reply in a weak, uneducated attempt to defend a scanner website you should really put yourself in the position of a cop and how you would feel if the criminal element was listening to your every move. Nit picking the alert will change change the fact that police are aware of RR and the smartphone apps, and therefore move forward with switching to full encryption. Lindsey runs a business and of course will make some sort of attempt to try to defend his product. To him it is about the bottom dollar not safety. As long as the money keeps lining his wallet no changes will be made even if it costs a officer his/her life.
Yeah the cops find rr.com to be soo bad yet my feed the cops/fd/ems are the biggest listeners. I've had them use my feed to listen to what the other agencies are doing when something happens as they don't have direct comms.

wten77 you seem kinda angry. Did RR.com reject your feed and this is now an attempt at "getting them back"
 

al95

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Wten77 do you work with LE agency? it seems you are defending them all the way. Why not sue the cell phone company for making smartphone? BTW there is a 20-30 seconds delay i have tested it with my computer and scanner radio after I hears the transmission on my raio then i hear it on my computer there is not a 3 seconds delay. Tested your self then post your findings.
 
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DaveNF2G

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In fact I just sold 10 encryp boards to a local PD and the Lt. stated to me he wanted them because of RR.
Interesting. What is your connection to the source of the document in question? Were you able to obtain a copy because you were involved in its production or distribution?
 

KC1UA

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I'm a little mystified about wten77's listed location of Clearwater Florida given his possession of this document that is purportedly from the State of Maryland. I'm thinking this is someone with too much time on his hands. In any event....I'll say it again...

If the feed being listened to is scanning multiple agencies, using it for criminal activity even without a delay would be hit or miss. Unless I'm missing something there are no apps out there that allow for end user manipulation of what he or she is listening to. In other words, the criminal element can't stop on a single frequency or talkgroup and monitor it exclusively. With that in mind they're far better off using a scanner for their illicit activities.

From what I've observed here, and I obviously haven't listened to every feed, but the ones I have listened to scan multiple agencies/frequencies/talkgroups. That, combined with the delay, makes it in my opinion improbable that such a "tool" could be used in the commission of a crime with any decent rate of success. Again, the perp would be far better off with a scanner locked onto the channel they "need" to monitor. It appears to me that there are some dedicated feeds here from Law Enforcement agencies that may be dedicated to single channels. Just my opinion on the subject but I would question a private citizen providing a dedicated feed for a single department's operation channel. I expect that a department being fed in this manner might not be "overwhelmed" by that....but aside from that one issue I find the entire argument about scanner feed apps being used in the underworld a by and large ludicrous assumption.

Incidentally, I've worked for a local police department for over 23 years. Just my .02; obviously some peoples' mileage may vary. :D
 
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