Recording of Scanner Traffic (creating legal public record storage)

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cmpsa

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Most states in the USA have some sort of "Public Records law" or "Freedom of Information Act"as the Feds call it. Here in MA, almost anything created or made, or exchanged by state or municipal government are public records, that residents/citizens have to right to access. There is a small list of exceptions of things that are exempt from public view too.

E-911 audio recordings are under the definition of MA public records, as when the recording device records audio, that is where the creation of that public record begins.

I believe some or most public safety agencies have their two-way radios connected to some sort of audio recording device (i.e. E-911 equipment or other).

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Hence my Question:

If someone sets up a scanner, leaves it on a certain channel/frequency and has it directly connected to a current digital technology audio recording device (with date & time stamping capabilities) and records the user 24/7/365. Since FCC radio frequencies are public in the FCC database, the radio frequency is open to the public to listen (via scanner like we listen now) - so audio recording them is perfectly legal (in accordance to MA State laws & federal laws).
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When one is audio recorded via telephone, the MA two-party consent law where both parties have to consent to being audiorecorded (i.e. "your call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes"), but this is only one sided audio, so that law wouldn't apply.

The actual purpose fo this idea, is to create a public record and offer these records to private parties (i.e. media requests).

Thanks in advance...
 

SCPD

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I don't know if it's legal but you'll piss off enough agencies, who want audio recordings to be given to the public under moderation, to the point where they'll find any part of the law you are breaking just to get your recordings taken down. Lets just say I know from experience (it never made it far enough for me to get in trouble but they started picking a part the law)
 

rananthony04

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I live in Los Angeles County and I have a dedicated computer running 24/7/365 recording my city's police(dispatch) frequency. I'll typically let it record about 7 days(which amounts to approx. 8&1/2 to 10 hours)., then begin a new file. I'll then go through the entire recorded audio and listen for any hot calls that I might have missed. If I come across a good listen, i'll edit it and either post it to YouTube or archive it. In fact, I was contacted by a San Bernardino Co. DA a couple of months ago inquiring about raw audio of a pursuit that I had posted on YouTube. Also, some officers in my city know about the audio being posted on YouTube, and have yet to say anything against it...for now. ;)
 

cmpsa

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Thank you for the two replies - so far. Your info is helpful.

There is the motivator why I'm asking. It has to do with a news media agency doing past public records requests for a certain police dept's audio recordings which contain inappropriate things said from 2 certain police officers at a municipality level. The gentleman told me the chief had listened to what he was asking for (in his records requests) but said he won't give them to him, trying to protect the dirt under his nose.

Three woman had gone to this news media agency and told of complaints of being pulled over by these officers and the officer were communicating sexual related messages via two-way radio.

So that news agency reporter got a referral to a particular individual knowledgable about scanners & radios and asked said person to set up a scanner and records the dept's radio traffic, which would in turn obtain a variety of actual radio recordings that could be used by the news media agency on TV to prove their case against the police dept. The source of the "audio recording" proposed entity is a private business, and not a government entity. So neither the State or Feds have any say over what a private business does, operates, sells, etc. Example, the state police don't go to McDonald's and tell them they are using too many radio frequencies or tell them how to operate the annual McDonald's Monopoly game sweepstakes.

The top this proposal off to a reality, a proposed deposit of $7,500 paid by corporate check was a payment for starters, and they (news media agency) are willing to pay an financial annual fee to the private business' as it's offering a service, which is can charge reasonable fees for the service it creates/offers.

So I guess it's a way for a private business to earn money from a government entity's daily stupidity on their FCC licensed frequency.

So the news media agency is finding a way when municipalities lie and screw citizens/residents to obtain the right to know public records, including failure to comply with State & Federal laws, - now this is certainly a way to get poetic justice. Release the recordings on TV and watch then run like cowards & little &itches.
 
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rananthony04

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Interesting. This news media outlet seems pretty confident that this type of "misconduct" happens all the time. I can tell you, i've been monitoring my city's police freq since 2000, not to mention countless other agencies, and have never heard any type of misconduct. But just to clarify, only the chief has access to the audio? Or had it been recorded and sent to the news? Or does it even exist at all?
 

n5ims

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So the news media agency is finding a way when municipalities lie and screw citizens/residents to obtain the right to know public records, including failure to comply with State & Federal laws, - now this is certainly a way to get poetic justice. Release the recordings on TV and watch then run like cowards & little &itches.
Actually what this will do instead of "Release the recordings on TV and watch then run like cowards & little &itches" will actually be "Release the recordings on TV and watch them encrypt all channels quicker than you can say 'details after Suzie with the weekend outlook'".

For proof, you only need to look at the Jacksonville FL SO who encrypted and leased radios to the media so they could do their jobs and suddently asked for them to be returned so things could stay "in house". http://forums.radioreference.com/community-announcements-news/216824-jso-take-police-scanners-media-jax-fl.html
 
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