Making a Case for Non-encryption in Gwinnett County

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KJ4NHS

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Possible to make a case for Non-encryption in Gwinnett County???

Was just curious. When did Gwinnett County Police go encrypted? Was there any debate, conversation, or concern brought up by Gwinnett Citizens at any commission meetings?

Can anyone point to an instance where citizens convinced their local government to un-encrypt, at a minimum, the dispatch channels?

If one were to speak at a commission meeting for non-encryption what would be some good reasons to present for not encrypting?

Thanks in advance for any information.

-Cory
 
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MTS2000des

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It happened in 2008 when the county implemented their current Motorola Astro 25 digital radio system and migrated over from their legacy Smartnet II analog trunked radio system.

There was some dissent by members of the media. IIRC a reporter from the AJC asked then PIO Illana Spellman (who now is with the TBI in Tennessee) how citizens and media, "are we able to be informed of ongoing and developing incidents since all public safety traffic will be encrypted?"

Ms. Spellman replied something to the effect of "you can always contact our dispatch center with any questions or concerns you may have".

Gwinnett county will likely never disable their ADP software encryption on law enforcement, even FD talkgroups were initially encrypted (and they can enable it at any time) but they disabled it for interagency interoperability.

Gwinnett county officials are very secretive and even refuse to use social media. This has been pointed out recently by WSB-TV in a recent story.

“What can I say? We are just so darn conservative,” Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

Gwinnett County looking at using social media after snow storms | www.wsbtv.com

With such a "conservative" mindset as this at a time when other governments like Cobb county and the city of Marietta, for example, utilize Facebook, Twitter and Nixle to keep it's citizens up to date on everything from traffic accidents, crimes in progress to weather events, and soliciting citizen complaints and requests for services via cellphone apps:

http://www.mariettaga.gov/city/services/mymarietta

It sounds to me like Gwinnett county will never become a more progressive place because the elected officials don't want it to be.

Vote them out, or vote with your tax dollars and move somewhere else.

I doubt anything else will cause the "status quo" to change around there.

If one were to speak at a commission meeting for non-encryption what would be some good reasons to present for not encrypting?
The only case that can be made is that the use of proprietary software encryption like Advanced Digital Privacy (ADP) that Gwinnett county radios utilize, can hinder interoperability as it is vendor specific.

Of course you would have to be able to cite specific incidents in your area where mutual aid communications were affected because all LE talkgroups are encrypted and a responding agency from say, Dunwoody PD (who use EF Johnson radios which do not support proprietary encryption like ADP) could not communicate.

This would mean doing in-depth research, filing open record requests, and putting together a fact based comment.

What will fall on deaf ears is this "the public has a right to listen" mantra. Don't waste your time. They clearly are NOT interested and will just respond with a "homeland security" and "officer safety" B.S. response and tell you nicely to go "enjoy" yourself.
 
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rapidcharger

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Was just curious. When did Gwinnett County Police go encrypted? )))
2008

(((If one were to speak at a commission meeting for non-encryption what would be some good reasons to present for not encrypting? )))
Reasons?

Here's a reason. " I don't want it."

That's how democracy works. If you don't want something, you don't need all kids of good reasons, facts, figures or evidence. Those bubbas were elected to represent the people who voted for them and if they aren't going to do that, it's time to vote for someone who will.
 

MTS2000des

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Reasons?
Here's a reason. " I don't want it."
Not trying to pick a fight with you RC, but this is NOT going to be an effective tool for getting the powers that be in your county to see the light.
People complain ad infinitum to government officials about everything from the number of stop signs, school buses, to stadium projects.

Those who come prepared with a fact based case and an attitude of "I want to HELP work with you" are more likely to get what they ultimately want.

Those who just shout talking points, well, sound like the rest of the hot air pieces on the AM (and now FM) radio dial and are dismissed accordingly.

If you want to be effective, you want to be these folks' ally, not the enemy. Alienating ourselves as radio hobbyists WILL bring more of the dreaded "E" word as much as unauthorized online streaming and recording already do.

That's how democracy works. If you don't want something, you don't need all kids of good reasons, facts, figures or evidence.
Oh, we are a democracy? Wasn't aware of this. Last I checked, we have elected representatives, and THEY make the decisions regarding what THEY need/want. But I may be wrong. It sure appears that way though.
Those bubbas were elected to represent the people who voted for them and if they aren't going to do that, it's time to vote for someone who will.
No argument there, but convincing the voters to agree with you about a problem they don't think is a problem is the road you have ahead.

Most people (and ask your neighbors how they feel about the issue) could CARE LESS that they cannot listen to the po-po on a scanner, cellphone, etc. They watch mass media and the media tells them that "terrorists and criminals use scanners to stay one step ahead of the good guys" and "new upgrades will make the folks answering our 911 calls safer, response times quicker, and lives will be saved."

It's hard to counter this with anything but facts that this may not be true, and you have to convince not just the commish, but people on Main Street to be on board with you.

Most people do not understand how this stuff works, and don't care to learn either. They are programmed to listen to a panel of pundits on CNN tell them that something is "good" or "bad" and with attention spans of most folks lasting about 5 minutes, they will not be responsive to anything else.

When you come up with a good plan of getting people to CARE enough (outside of the small niche radio hobby community) let me know, I'll be on board with going to meetings. I've been there, done that many times over in my county.

Heck it's a hard enough time getting folks within the radio community to agree on anything alone, let alone your neighbors. :wink:
 

RRR

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Oh, we are a democracy? Wasn't aware of this. Last I checked, we have elected representatives, and THEY make the decisions regarding what THEY need/want. But I may be wrong. It sure appears that way though.
Why do some people keep claiming we live in a "Democracy"?

The USA is a Constitutional Republic.
 

rapidcharger

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Why do some people keep claiming we live in a "Democracy"?
Because it is.
Technically, it's a constitutionally limited representative democratic republic.

I know when you listen to the right vs left talk shows on AM hate radio, they like to leave out part of the name depending on what slants better in their favor. Never the less, I never said we lived in a democracy. I said "that's how democracy works."
Once again people read wayyy beyond what is actually written and you gotta love when people from outside the area, even way way way outside the state want to come in and chime in on something that they know nothing about.

This county has had a troubled past when it comes to openness and transparency and keeping the actions of the police secret is not how you go about instilling trust and confidence in the community and build ties in the community.

If you never ask, you never speak up, never make yourself heard, never demand openness and transparency, you'll never get what you want. You may never get it anyway, but you sure aren't going to get it in this county without speaking up. This is a metro area where people do not get involved in the process. They let the process walk all over them and they may complain about it but they never ever speak up. That's too much work. It takes too much time. But I have kids. But I have work. I don't want to tick off the people in power (aimed at another poster in the thread). Wah wah wah.
 

RRR

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....."....To the REPUBLIC for which it stands..."....
 

SCPD

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Unfortunately if they encrypt there is nothing we can do about it which is sad. It's a whole lot easier to do it now with the new radio systems. It sucks big time but our complaints fall on deaf ears, been there tried that.
Some agencies play nice and others are more secretive than the NSA.
 

davidmaynor

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Does Gwinnett have a citizen review board? An argument could be made that encrypting locks out these reviewers.

A lot of announcements about departments upgrading around the same time. I bet it's federal money paying for these systems. Some towns/cities have specific rules about where money spent in certain areas can be spent.

Lastly you could always get a lawyer to get an injunction against encrypting for reasons of public safety or what not:
 

rapidcharger

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Lastly you could always get a lawyer to get an injunction against encrypting for reasons of public safety or what not:
If we can find a lawyer who will do this for a reasonable cost, and even though I did not listen to GCPD before nor do I plan to after they stop hiding, I would be willing to donate some money to the cause if others are committed to doing the same.

Anyone?
 

pepsima1

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spend your time and money somewhere else that is more productive then trying to get a city or county to ease up on their BIG "E".

That's my real honest opinion. You have a real up-hill battle that you will not win. Once a city or county has gone to full encryption, that's it. Its over with. Get use to it. Or join the force
 

davidmaynor

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If we can find a lawyer who will do this for a reasonable cost, and even though I did not listen to GCPD before nor do I plan to after they stop hiding, I would be willing to donate some money to the cause if others are committed to doing the same.



Anyone?

As members of the law enforcement community, we must always be vigi- lant to ensure that the public we are sworn to protect and to serve is also protected in its rights to know what its government is doing.

A quote from the Law Enfircement Guide to GA ORA. I'm not a lawyer but it seems, in GA at least, you could argue encryption violates ORA.
 

MTS2000des

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A quote from the Law Enfircement Guide to GA ORA. I'm not a lawyer but it seems, in GA at least, you could argue encryption violates ORA.
Show me where allowing real time unrestricted access to law enforcement communications (radio traffic, email, MDT messages, GCIC inquiries, etc) is required under the Georgia Open Records Act, and I'll gladly be the first one to ask my former county commission chair now State Attorney General Sam Olens, to pursue it.

http://law.ga.gov/sites/law.ga.gov/files/imported/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/62/51/186385699r1.pdf

There is the Act, now good luck finding such text, because it isn't there. anymore than suggesting that you can get real time access to all of your chief's email sent or received to his/her department email.

you file a request to the custodian of records, pay whatever fees involved in reproducing said record(s), (which means some information MAY be redacted), and receive them.

Nothing in the act prohibits the use of encryption on radio, telephone or any electronic communications used by our government.

It just ISN'T there.
 

davidmaynor

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Show me where allowing real time unrestricted access to law enforcement communications (radio traffic, email, MDT messages, GCIC inquiries, etc) is required under the Georgia Open Records Act, and I'll gladly be the first one to ask my former county commission chair now State Attorney General Sam Olens, to pursue it.

http://law.ga.gov/sites/law.ga.gov/files/imported/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/62/51/186385699r1.pdf

There is the Act, now good luck finding such text, because it isn't there. anymore than suggesting that you can get real time access to all of your chief's email sent or received to his/her department email.

you file a request to the custodian of records, pay whatever fees involved in reproducing said record(s), (which means some information MAY be redacted), and receive them.

Nothing in the act prohibits the use of encryption on radio, telephone or any electronic communications used by our government.

It just ISN'T there.

In a lawsuit I don't have to show anything, that's what lawyers are for. The lawyers don't have to show an explicit law on the books for relief to be granted just that there is a precedent for the injunction. A precedent can be any ruling in a GA court in relation to government record keeping and ORA. At that point it depends on who's lawyer makes a better argument.

You are right, not in the act prohibits the use of encryption. But as a former GaTech Information Security engineer I am very familiar with ORA and that encryption/not storing data are not valid reasons for being out of compliance.
 

RadioPatriots

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Not trying to pick a fight with you RC, but this is NOT going to be an effective tool for getting the powers that be in your county to see the light.
People complain ad infinitum to government officials about everything from the number of stop signs, school buses, to stadium projects.

Those who come prepared with a fact based case and an attitude of "I want to HELP work with you" are more likely to get what they ultimately want.

Those who just shout talking points, well, sound like the rest of the hot air pieces on the AM (and now FM) radio dial and are dismissed accordingly.

Hey MTS, There is an equally grievous dilemma with this approach as well. In contrast to what RC has said, your argument then becomes solely about a logistical or technical issue. You argue that there will be problems with proprietary software/hardware and inter-agency compatibility. Their next step is to then solve the proprietary and interoperability issues. Because your argument was founded on logistical and technical issues, they now say the problem is solved, no longer open to dispute, and you have no ethical/moral argument to fall back on.

Even though it may not be the "best" initial, disputatious approach, let's remember that RC is, at the most base level, correct in arguing that it is not what the citizens want. And based on our form of government, or what it was created to be, this should be more than enough. If it isn't, someone is fundamentally dropping the ball in a very big way.
 

N8IAA

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In October, 2008, the whole system went encrypted. The FD, not being able to communicate with Hall, DeKalb, Forsyth, and Fulton on inter-ops, went 'in the clear'.

The PD/SO didn't want the media beating them to the crime scenes anymore.
Larry
 
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