Michigan State University Active Shooter - possible Suspect with Scanner

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hruskacha

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During the tragic active shooting at Michigan State University, police units requested tactical/encrypted channels but were then notified by the dispatcher that interoperability may be compromised since not all units on scene have access to the same encrypted channels. This was becoming a greater concern as they believe the suspect may have access to a scanner and might be actively listening to police operations on scene, giving the suspect an undesired advantage to commit more harm.

This post is to discuss everybody's opinions regarding Public Safety Radio Transparency vs Security and the growing world of Broadcastify. I am a broadcastify feed provider myself and I believe that a lot of radio communications should be non encrypted and available to the general public for transparency and news reporting. However, being a strong supporter of all departments of Public Safety, I firmly believe that any advantage we can give our First Responders during an active shooter, or any other mass casualty event, such as complete encryption of communications should be granted, and every source that can assist in restricting the leakage of sensitive information, like broadcastify, should do so.

Now there are multiple factors at play, such as Encryption Interoperability (not all departments have access to same tactical/encrypted channels), and sensitive information being said on clear channels.

Michigan Public Safety Communication System (MPSCS) has numerous encrypted talkgroups with varying strengths of encryption, so encrypted / tactical channels were in use during this event, but sensitive information was still said on clear channels, like TGID 1008 - STATW1, which acted similarly to a operations / scene dispatch channel.

This brings me to the big debate.

If this suspect was using broadcastify calls, which would give the most information regarding the movements and operations on scene, what should Broadcastify do in an event like this? Like I said before, I highly value the transparency of public safety communications, but at what point should that be limited to protect our first responders on scene?

Like if it were Broadcastify Calls, I think a simple mandatory 5 minute delay should be implemented upon request of the Local Jurisdictions Dispatch Center, or Government official.

What do you guys think? There has to be a balance between Transparency and Security, but if a line had to be drawn, where would it be?
 

enosjones

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Remove swat as part of the scanned channels that go on to broadcastify, like car to car channels aren't allowed, swat shouldn't be in there due to high sensitive stuff on swat channels
 

Dog

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I think all this has been hashed out multiple times. I am sure you could do a search. My understanding is he didn't have a a scanner and his actions proved it. I also understand that dispatched was asked to put a delay on broadcastify but that didn't happen. I don't know how that works and if it has been done before. Also my understanding Tac talk groups whether encrypted or not are not broadcast on calls platform. And some other talk groups.
 

Dog

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Remove swat as part of the scanned channels that go on to broadcastify, like car to car channels aren't allowed, swat shouldn't be in there due to high sensitive stuff on swat channels
From my understanding Swat and Tac channels also some other talk groups, are not broadcast as due to broadcatify policy.

Feed Provider Terms of Service - What can and cannot be broadcast​

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Broadcastify Support
February 04, 2023 08:48
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Feed Provider Terms of Service - What can and cannot be broadcast​



Feed Providers are not allowed to broadcast:
  • "SWAT type" operations if on channels or talkgroups dedicated to those operations
  • Narcotics / CID / Investigations or other tactical operations on channels or talkgroups dedicated to those operations
  • Dedicated channels or talkgroups for Ambulance to Hospital Communications
  • Dedicated Federal Government or Military Communications (exceptions include any fire fighting operations, NASA space communications, park ranger operations)
  • Any commercial service broadcast (FM/AM/TV etc)
  • Music or talk show of any kind (commercial or non-commercial)
  • DJ or other type of similar activity (commercial or non-commercial)
  • Open Microphones
 

mmckenna

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Full time encryption of suitable talkgroups/channels.
Proper cooperation between agencies (sharing encryption keys on mutual aid channels)

As for transparency, I do not agree that scanner hobbyists are the only resource available to ensure transparency in law enforcement. This one smells the same as the ham radio "When all else fails" thing. Self importance at its best.

Agencies, if they choose to share radio traffic with the general public:
- Some modern logging recorders in dispatch centers have the ability to stream radio traffic to the internet and add a set time delay. There is also an option for a button that dispatcher can hit that immediately suspends the feed.
- Add streaming delays of a suitable amount of time to prevent the subjects from getting information in time to react.

But, as said above, this isn't going to go well. There are already a number of discussions going on about encryption….

As with many of them, those discussing encryption from the hobbyist point of view do not have full understanding of the reasons behind it. It is important that anyone discussing this keep an open mind.
 

mmckenna

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If you have never read the Feed Providers terms of service you might take a look. It isn't hard to read.
Feed Provider Terms of Service

I never had until now. Some interesting stuff of you care. lol

Not all public safety streaming is through Broadcastify.
Any 15 year old kid with an internet connection and a scanner could stream traffic.
Any consumer with a few bucks can buy a radio that will allow reception of public safety radio traffic.

I understand what you (and others) are saying about the TOS for broadcastify, but that alone won't solve the issue.
 
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