Rising Police-Scanner Secrecy Irks Orlando-Area Enthusiasts

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zerg901

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"I dont like ENC myself, but it isnt my job nor my place to tell a cop or PD how to run their comms systems."

I wonder if there are any countries where they cut off your hands if they find you with a scanner? Probably no one tells the police in that country how to run their comm systems. Probably no one in that country tells the police how to do anything.

Its all a trade off. Security for freedom. Do we need to ban all scanners to save us from the "terrorists" and the "criminals"?

If all police radio traffic is encrypted in the USA as in England (and maybe France) - will that make the USA "safe"? I think we might have the highest crime rates and imprisonment rates in the world. Do we need to put everyone with a scanner into jail also?

Peter Sz

(If someone wants to debate crime stats - please account for the differences in ambulance services between countries). (Please see the recent Human Rights Watch report on the police in Brazil for some good stats)
 

mikepdx

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If all police radio traffic is encrypted in the USA as in England (and maybe France) - will that make the USA "safe"?

(If someone wants to debate crime stats...
If all police radio traffic were encrypted in the USA it wouldn't make us safer.
It would appear to make us safer. It would be a 'feel-good' measure.
We have a lot of those laws on the books.
The people demand something be done, and something is then done to appease.
Whether that something is effective or not, isn't always the top priority.

As far as crime stats, no need to debate.
Consult the US Department of Justice website.
Nationwide crime in the vast majority of categories has been falling for some time.

It only appears (there's that word again) that crime is rising
thanks to our news-media covering every single last police story,
newsworthy or not.

I read a few months ago that while crime has not been on the increase,
the reporting of crime stories by the media had increased something like 600%
over a similar period.

Naturally, the glued-to-the-boob-tube masses think the boogie-man is hiding behind every tree.

As they say in the media business:
If it bleeds, it leads.
 
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zerg901

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The Right to Petition

The right to petition the government in the USA derives from the Declaration of Independence.

It seems reasonable to me that US citizens have a right to "petition" their government to not encrypt all police radio systems. The "petition" might have to be delivered thru the ballot box. (I am not a constitutional lawyer.)

Peter Sz
 

rwwheat

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As DVP encryption technology improves and progresses forward, three things will occur: 1. The cost of obtaining--licensing the technology will increase expotentially. 2. Fewer agencies will be able to budget for and purchase the newest technology because of it will be cost prohibitive. 3. Technical advances, expiring patents and relaxed licensing of older technology will permit development and availability of DVP sweepers and decoders which will further this hobby.
 
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Searay

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I could not disagree more. Who are we to decide what is tactical or not. Do you really want some of these people (including some on this site) determining what is tactical or not? Yes, the police work for us. But the number one rule in public safety is Protect the Responder First. Not, Make sure everyone can hear us and that we push enough watts out to cover the next 5 counties.

There will be plenty to listen to when LE goes/completes its transition to digital/encryption. There is a big push to exclude the FD's from P25 because it is horrendous on the Fireground.

But to say that WE should decide what is enc and what isnt, or what is tactical and what is not could not be further from a reasonable solution for some hard-up hobbyists.

I dont like ENC myself, but it isnt my job nor my place to tell a cop or PD how to run their comms systems.
Very well said! You are right on the money.

Matt
 

jdacal

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If I may borrow a saying from the NRA (which I rarely agree with):

Scanners don't kill people, people kill people.

By encrypting they are only making it hard for the hobbyist. The criminals are always going to get whatever equipment or tools they need to do their job.

And if they end up encrypting, why not have the FCC create a license for Scanner Hobbyists that, after background checks, etc., requires law enforcement grant access to, say, two levels of encrypted channels. Keeping the final level of encryption for the real high security, top secret, undercover stuff. Wouldn't that be a fair trade-off for the use of the public airwaves? And help keep honest people honest?
 

cja1987

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And if they end up encrypting, why not have the FCC create a license for Scanner Hobbyists that, after background checks, etc., requires law enforcement grant access to, say, two levels of encrypted channels. Keeping the final level of encryption for the real high security, top secret, undercover stuff. Wouldn't that be a fair trade-off for the use of the public airwaves? And help keep honest people honest?
I like that idea alot, similar to a concealed firearms permit, you must have a virtually clean record, can't be a felon, etc. It is a great concept especially for us scanning types.

However, I don't think its realistic as the demand is not really there for us to be a strong enough interest group. The only semi influential entity that could work in favor of such a law would be media agencies BUT most encrypted agencies have made provisions for the media to listen in anyways so they have little incentive to throw time and money at the issue. Otherwise you would be asking the FCC to oversee another layer of bureaucracy which involves a whole lot of red tape and in the end, I doubt we have enough people to make enough noise. Somebody would have to make a scanner that can take encryption keys and a provision would have to be made for the local agencies to provide the keys in real time to the FCC who then distributes them to licensees or find some other way of getting the keys out. What happens when a friend of a bad guy with a clean record goes out and gets the proper equipment and keys then gives the scanner to a bad guy? Similar to a straw purchase with guns but the difference with guns is the rabbit is out of the box on that one and we are never gonna ban all guns (good thing if you ask me). With future "special scanners"/encryption keys, the rabbit would not yet be out of the box so why let it out and have an extra thing to police? Just playing devils advocate. I do think there is a remote possibility somewhere down the road for something like this but it may be an online type thing where you have a unique license number to listen in.

Think of how huge the gun lobby is in the USA, I'd venture to say its far larger and backed by far more money then the scanning hobby. Even still, we can't manage to get some type of national standard for concealed carry permits with national reciprocity, which is unfortunate if you ask me. Think of the same sex marriage movement, its huge, but still not large enough to make it legal nationwide.

I'm not of the opinion that the sky is falling on the PD scanning hobby. You may have a hard time making that argument to somebody in central Florida but by in large most are in the clear. $$$ will always be a factor in encryption. I know we are moving towards narrowband and P25 very fast but most agencies that go digital do not opt to go F/T encryption. The state of NH is pretty much all P25 state wide but I don't believe anybody runs F/T enc right now (one did and is now partially open and another is getting ready to go full enc).

The death of listening to ANY sort of emergency responder communications will be if or when a terrorist is ever caught with a scanner. It will be the next thing we throw billions at and everyone will be enc 2 years later. Just pray that it never happens.
 
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N0IU

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I like that idea alot, similar to a concealed firearms permit, you must have a virtually clean record, can't be a felon, etc. It is a great concept especially for us scanning types.
Well then let's take this to the next logical step and give away a scanner with every handgun purchase. That way you can actually go help the police do their job since there are so many people who want to be able to keep tabs on our public servants because they believe they are just slacking off at the donut shop all day instead of arresting criminals. When you hear a call come over your scanner, you can hope in your whacker mobile since it already has a light bar on it anyway and make a citizens arrest and have the perp in handcuffs all nice and tidy when the real police arrive!

Problem solved!
 

radioman2001

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I have decided that this post as usual is going nowhere. I have my beliefs and right to say what I believe, if some one doesn't like it-TOO BAD. I've chosen at the appropriate time to make my beliefs known to my local representatives, and it worked. What needs to be encrypted or transmitted over another form of medium is. As far as some one to decide what is tactical or not I would leave it to someone elected by the people, not LE. To-scottaschultz's I don't make personal attacks, but I do make assesments based on interactions with different groups. That's what I meant. You have both sides for and against encryption, with both citizens and LE, about being able to receive you local, or even county or state agency, and yes you do have a RIGHT to receive them, or have their transmissions made available to the public. All phone calls, radio transmissions, documents, and paperwork ARE to be made available to the public. Its call Freedom of Information Act, a Federal Law. Encryption is an option, not a right. Maybe in some states LE and others have been able to hoodwink the public into thinking that they will be safer if no one knows what the police are doing. I'm not convinced. Even though I live in a state with the most unfriendly scanner law on the books, but I go through the motions of getting the permissions allowable by law. I have worked on both sides, in LE and as a Comm Tech. I am not affraid to stand up to the bullying from some LE that think it is their right(it's not) to keep all LE documentation and radio transmissions secret.
As usual some people miss the point that once you lose something it will be very hard to get it back, I believe that's whats going to happen to ALL radio monitoring.
 

cifd64

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So ask for the tapes. For the right price you can have them. FOIL does not include real-time information and is not free. Which is why you can not listen into CIA covert ops and the president speaking to foreign dignitaries.

I know your type, we have them on Long Island who feel that every bit of information is their right to have. This may be so. So if you want to listen to Encrypted transmissions, take a civil service test, become a cop or dispatcher and do something worth while instead of spewing your "pro-American" nonsense on this site. If you cant become a cop or dispatcher, pay the price to listen to taped transmissions. The benefit there is you can listen to them as many times as you want, because you own it. And, after all, that IS what you want.
 

N0IU

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While radioman2001's position may be a bit extreme, maybe we need people like him on our side. As for me, maybe I am not even qualified to refer to myself as a scanner "enthusiast" since it is nothing more than recreational entertainment for me. Pretty much it is just background noise while I do other things in "the shack". Personally, I much prefer interactive radio where I get to participate in the conversation instead of merely being a consumer of electronic transmissions which is why I got my amateur radio license almost 20 years ago.

WhileI am sure every law enforcement agency will tell you that the reason they must keep some of their traffic private (as opposed to "secret" as the article claims) is so they can effectively do their job, I am absolutely certain that there are those that take advantage of that "privacy" for their own personal gain. In other words, they do not put these encryption schemes in place so that they can carry out illegal activities, but some of them are more than willing to use it to their advantage.

After giving this some serious thought, if guys like radioman2001 feel that passionate about scanner's rights, than I do not think that anyone should get in his way. Personally, his zeal for the hobby is a bit over the top for me, but maybe I should be thanking him instead of criticizing him for looking after my rights. I am completely serious about this and am not being patronizing in any way.
 

cja1987

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Well then let's take this to the next logical step and give away a scanner with every handgun purchase. That way you can actually go help the police do their job since there are so many people who want to be able to keep tabs on our public servants because they believe they are just slacking off at the donut shop all day instead of arresting criminals. When you hear a call come over your scanner, you can hope in your whacker mobile since it already has a light bar on it anyway and make a citizens arrest and have the perp in handcuffs all nice and tidy when the real police arrive!

Problem solved!
I don't think thats what I was implying. I was comparing what jdacal suggested to purchasing handguns/obtaining permits, not trying to relate scanning to possessing weapons so you can go out and be a whacker. I then stated some reasons why I believe it most likely would never work.

I did not give my opinion on ENC either way or accuse LEOs of hanging out in the donut shop or otherwise slacking off. Myself, I see no relation between ENC departments and police corruption. There are good and bad apples everywhere, encrypted or not. I could care less about "keeping tabs". I never implied that I'm diametrically opposed to encryption or feel I have a right to monitor.

Don't go calling me a whacker when you have no idea of my motives, who I am or what I may actually do for work.
 

cja1987

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we have them on Long Island who feel that every bit of information is their right to have. This may be so. So if you want to listen to Encrypted transmissions, take a civil service test, become a cop or dispatcher and do something worth while instead of spewing your "pro-American" nonsense on this site. If you cant become a cop or dispatcher, pay the price to listen to taped transmissions. The benefit there is you can listen to them as many times as you want, because you own it. And, after all, that IS what you want.
My position exactly.

I personally find ENC unnecessary in many situations and have witnessed scanners being used by both LE agencies and the general public in a positive way. I've seen the other side too (criminals scanning) but it is far less common. The few times I have come across criminals scanning they have been on the wrong talkgroups/freqs. Many LE agencies would be slowed down significantly not being able to monitor nearby departments. Massachusetts State Police come to mind, they are ALWAYS scanning the local towns both in their vehicles and at the barracks.

However, if somebody feels like encrypting, that is their prerogative, I may not agree with it or like it but I'm not going to get all crazy and question their legality in doing so.
 
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N0IU

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Don't go calling me a whacker when you have no idea of my motives, who I am or what I may actually do for work.
Someone needs to switch to decaf! I am sure glad they don't hand out infractions to people for trying to have a sense of humor!

Sheesh! Lighten up!
 
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N_Jay

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I have decided that this post as usual is going nowhere.
As always
I have my beliefs and right to say what I believe,
Yes, but it is important to keep track of which are beliefs and not facts.
if some one doesn't like it-TOO BAD.
Mostly true, except I would say that when a false belief is presented as a fact, we have the right (and some might say the social responsibility) to point that out so others don't mistake it for fact and become misinformed.
I've chosen at the appropriate time to make my beliefs known to my local representatives, and it worked.
All very good. Probably the most effective thing any of us can do is to work with local officials towards having systems stay open.
What needs to be encrypted or transmitted over another form of medium is. As far as some one to decide what is tactical or not I would leave it to someone elected by the people, not LE.
This seems very presumptuous of you.
I would trust LE (or most other professional) to know what is best for doing their profession. To think that the political structure around them knows better has got us into a lot of bad situations at many levels. Why is this different than (to pick a particular hot topic) healthcare?
. . . , and yes you do have a RIGHT to receive them, or have their transmissions made available to the public. All phone calls, radio transmissions, documents, and paperwork ARE to be made available to the public. Its call Freedom of Information Act, a Federal Law.
Here is where your "beliefs" start becoming incorrect, and also where you start presenting incorrect information as fact.
First, FOIA applies primarily to Federal Information, and very little at the state or local level.
Second, each state has its own open records laws and I don't think any (or many) are as all encompassing as you imply.
Third, you do not have the RIGHT to "all" information, and certainly not on a real-time basis.
Encryption is an option, not a right.
How do you figure?
Unless specifically disallowed, the use of encryption is just as much a right (or maybe more so) than your right to listen.
Maybe in some states LE and others have been able to hoodwink the public into thinking that they will be safer if no one knows what the police are doing. I'm not convinced.
OK, you are not convinced, but you are also not the premier expert on the subject. Your use of the word "hoodwinked" makes it appear that you BELIEVE that some how this was/is done by way of trickery or deception. I do not believe this is a fact.
Even though I live in a state with the most unfriendly scanner law on the books, but I go through the motions of getting the permissions allowable by law. I have worked on both sides, in LE and as a Comm Tech. I am not afraid to stand up to the bullying from some LE that think it is their right(it's not) to keep all LE documentation and radio transmissions secret.
It may or may not be their right depending in the laws of the state and the circumstances.
However, it is completely within there rights to restrict the dissemination of real-time information, and that is what encryption does.
As usual some people miss the point that once you lose something it will be very hard to get it back,
AND others miss the point, that they DO NOT have the RIGHT to demand open radio systems.
AND the agencies DO HAVE TEH RIGHT to implement encryption if they so desire and without explanation.
I believe that's whats going to happen to ALL radio monitoring.
I also believe that over time many more systems will become unmonitorable. But I chalk it up to the evolution of technology making receiving more difficult and less rewarding for the average listener, and the slow shrinking of the market, rather than the loss of some inalienable right by subversion.
 

SoMuchStuff

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Oh no, here we go again; another day in Troll City and another resurrected horse!
This is the same attitude too many hams have had and they have lost not only frequencies, but the requirements are easier now to become a top ham operator (extra class). Ham radio is not only unnecessary now, but totally useless except for a bunch of people to go on the air waves and jabber about nonsense. With satellite communications no one needs a ham radio operator in an emergency, but the government makes them feel like they are needed and they get a big ego boost thinking they are doing something important. Even a simple satellite phone will work where hams cannot. During an emergency the government can allow anyone to operate any type of radio on any frequency they want. You do not need a license.

It is true that our government sells the air waves to the people with the most money. Your air space is sold ( no you don't get any money and you don't have a say as to who can buy it ). Highest bidder wins. Then again they can take your property for the good of the community etc.

You cannot keep harmfull radiation from going across your property even though the law says you own everything above and below that property. Maybe now you will realize you own nothing except what the government wants you to own. If you block or jam radio waves going across your property because you were not paid for the use of you airspace you will go to jail.

Encryption is allowed under laws that override FCC regulations and deal with local as well as national security. It is easy enough for any law enforcement agency to justify using encrypted radios. You will have to look at the National Security Act and all related laws and Presidential directives. With a swipe of a pen all sales of radios could be stopped including scanners.

This is because the governemnt and other agencies do not want you to know what they are really doing. They make mistakes, they violate peoples rights and they sure do not want someone to hear this or be around when this happens. Newspapers used scanners for years to get a scoop on a story and sometimes they arrived when people were doing what they should not be doing.

They can't have this anymore so they go to encrypted. They also go to encrypted for security reasons. Sometimes it is for the publics security. You would not want to hear of a chemical attack and tell everyone you know and have the news people post that on radio and tv. There would be a panic, right. We can all rely on our officials to do the right thing of course.

Wow. I think there could be another topic here on "airwaves" and who has the right to them etc. We have very strict laws on airwaves that a lot of countries do not have. Then again, those countries may already use encrypted communications.

Yet we can still smile because we live in the greatest country for now anyway.
 
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