Palo Alto, CA Police Department Reverses Decision to Encrypt General Routine Dispatch Communications

blantonl

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News Release: Radio Encryption Change Provides Real-Time Access to Police Radio Transmissions

After a comprehensive analysis of options, the Palo Alto Police Department is planning a forthcoming change to radio communications by September 1 that will provide real-time access to police radio transmissions while safeguarding personal identifying information and officer safety.

“The change in operations furthers three critical priorities including safeguarding personal identifying information and officer safety, increasing public awareness of police activities, and continuing seamless interaction with our regional law enforcement partners,” said Acting Chief Andrew Binder of the Palo Alto Police Department. “Several variables contributed to this change, including proposed changes to state law and evolving information from the Silicon Valley Radio Interoperability Authority that removed initial barriers to radio communications approaches.”


Read the full news release here:

 

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jclowers

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News Release: Radio Encryption Change Provides Real-Time Access to Police Radio Transmissions

After a comprehensive analysis of options, the Palo Alto Police Department is planning a forthcoming change to radio communications by September 1 that will provide real-time access to police radio transmissions while safeguarding personal identifying information and officer safety.

“The change in operations furthers three critical priorities including safeguarding personal identifying information and officer safety, increasing public awareness of police activities, and continuing seamless interaction with our regional law enforcement partners,” said Acting Chief Andrew Binder of the Palo Alto Police Department. “Several variables contributed to this change, including proposed changes to state law and evolving information from the Silicon Valley Radio Interoperability Authority that removed initial barriers to radio communications approaches.”


Read the full news release here:

i don't read this as a reversal of encryption but as an enactment of some sort of streaming service you have to subscribe to and provide personal and identifying information
 

mlangeveld

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"The new procedures increase field personnel flexibility by providing three different options they can use to safeguard personal identifying information depending on the situation with which they are presented. Those options are a radio check that transmits only a person’s driver license number, a radio check that splits individual components of personal identifying information into separate transmissions, or a cell phone call to our 24-hour dispatch center."

I know of another communications center that is doing this, and I fail to see how that complies with the DOJ memo. Are identity thieves not capable of correlating a driver's license number with a name/DOB if the officer broadcasts them in two transmissions instead of one?
 

mmckenna

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I know of another communications center that is doing this, and I fail to see how that complies with the DOJ memo. Are identity thieves not capable of correlating a driver's license number with a name/DOB if the officer broadcasts them in two transmissions instead of one?
Remember, this is mostly based off two things:

1. A news article written by a journalist. While they may be an excellent journalist, it doesn't mean they know which end of the radio to talk into, or how to not poke their own eye out with the antenna. Even less likely that they understand how encryption works.

2. Higher level brass in the department who is repeating what a radio guy told them. As a radio guy that often has to translate technical jargon into easy to understand language for people who are radio users, not radio techs, I have to take some liberties with the language and description. Sometimes the descriptions resemble cartoons rather than indepth manuals. It's not that they are ignorant, just that their experience lies in different areas. Just like when they describe some complex law enforcement protocol to me, they dumb it down to my experience level.

And maybe 3 things:

3. Dumbed down for John Q. Public that doesn't know the difference between a CB radio, an FRS radio, WiFi, a television set, or a public safety radio. I've had people who didn't understand why CB channel 3 wouldn't talk to FRS channel 3. To them, it's all magic, smoke and mirrors.

In other words, don't read too much into it.
 

mcjones2013

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I know of another communications center that is doing this, and I fail to see how that complies with the DOJ memo. Are identity thieves not capable of correlating a driver's license number with a name/DOB if the officer broadcasts them in two transmissions instead of one?
I’m aware of a (small) agency that does this, and in their explanation of it in a recent board document said it’s because scanners won’t know which frequency to go to next, thus allowing PII to be secure.

Basically they say the last name (break for new frequency), first name and DOB. Since scanners can’t trunk-track, it won’t know which frequency to go to next, per their explanation in the document.

Except trunk-tracking has existed for what, at least 25-30 years now? 😂
 

rockettradio

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In reading it, i interpreted 'separate transmissions' likely meaning switching channels/talkgroups, very common in other agencies. ie: ch1 open, ch2 encrypted. with new speakermic button programming, it's really easy to flip talkgroups without fumbling, same on the console.
Having lived in PA area during the UHF days <2018, two channel ops on the fly was common for them due to the Stanford University dispatching.
 

mlangeveld

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Basically they say the last name (break for new frequency), first name and DOB. Since scanners can’t trunk-track, it won’t know which frequency to go to next, per their explanation in the document.
The agency I'm talking about does it this way too. Officer gives last name, first name, DOB, break. Dispatcher says go ahead. Officer gives DL#.

I don't think they understood the DOJ memo.
 

tsalmrsystemtech

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All I can say is that Palo Alto is doing the right thing and staying transparent and finding a new way of opening up their dispatch talk-groups.

Then you have the OC fire department in 100 percent encryption in California and three years later its still an issue. So called budget issue. Please save it for dummy. Palo Alto just joined a while back and is making the change by September 1st. OTAP and OTAR on the fly. If a police department that went encrypted and then turning the clock back means that no fire department should be a 100 percent fully encrypted.
 

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Then you have the OC fire department in 100 percent encryption in California and three years later its still an issue. So called budget issue.
Have you spoken directly with Chief Fennesy about this? I also said you should offer your talents at OCC, they have 20+ open positions. I am certain the OCFA Chief would be happy to share the OCC quote to remove encryption from the OCFA talkgroups. We're not talking change here, it's real money. You of course are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts which allow you to keep insinuating something nefarious and dark is happening, when the reality is something different.
 

tsalmrsystemtech

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Have you spoken directly with Chief Fennesy about this? I also said you should offer your talents at OCC, they have 20+ open positions. I am certain the OCFA Chief would be happy to share the OCC quote to remove encryption from the OCFA talkgroups. We're not talking change here, it's real money. You of course are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts which allow you to keep insinuating something nefarious and dark is happening, when the reality is something different.
If you look back in this forum there has been communication with the OCFA Fire Chief. I see that you keep following conversations when I post but you do nothing about it by asking if I keep asking the fire chief. Why don't you put in some work instead of trolling. I did get email communication back. So why don't you put in some work? If you want to P/M me about it then go a-head offline. I am not trying to be an A hole but other people need to put in effort too, not just put my name on the line with OCFA. At least I put myself out there and ask questions in a professional way to OCFA and make effort. Oh and BTW I can backup my talk the talk and walk the walk. I have a folder in my email with communications all the way back from three years ago and to this date. Also, from last night too with the PIO and Chief. Plus I have a very professional word document that was sent to me professionally explaining what is happening right now with the idea and budgets and so on.

As to open positions with OCC it would be great and have tried multiple times in the past few years. Keep in mind that their background process for OC Sheriffs is the toughest in the country and its really hard to get past their background process. Not everybody can make it thru for whatever reasons. Past stuff from 20 or 30 years ago and so on. Nobody is perfect. When you go thru OC Sheriffs background process and they do not ever tell you why. They have a non disclosure policy. Also, OCFA had positions open in the past and I came out seventh on the list for a position and put myself out there for a job out of 200 people. So please save it and move on. So when you keep speaking and you do not put yourself out there in the world and try then just be quiet.
 

iowajm780

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I guess for the listeners of Palto Alto it's like winning their version of winning the Mega Millions.
 

AM909

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Then you have the OC fire department in 100 percent encryption in California and three years later its still an issue. So called budget issue. Please save it for dummy. Palo Alto just joined a while back and is making the change by September 1st. OTAP and OTAR on the fly. If a police department that went encrypted and then turning the clock back means that no fire department should be a 100 percent fully encrypted.
Earlier in this saga, we heard that unencrypting fire was going to require radio techs to re-program each radio because OTAP was not enabled in the existing system and/or load, and that the bill to do it was going to be expensive. With all your communication with them (apparently), what part of that are you saying is untrue? Or do I misunderstand what "So called budget issue. Please save it for dummy." is supposed to mean?
 

marcotor

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So when you keep speaking and you do not put yourself out there in the world and try then just be quiet.
I don't need to, and remember I have not had multiple accounts banned for encryption rants ;) As to why you cannot pass the OCSD background, is a mystery to me. If you're warm to the touch and pass the check, you're hired. Did you apply at OCComms or somewhere else?
 
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