Scanner Law Update

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rdale

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The state senate will have a request made in January to modify the scanner code to expand the definition of "radio" when used in a criminal act to monitor police. No additions or changes to any other sections. Just widening it out a bit to include smartphone scanner apps.
 

W2GLD

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The state senate will have a request made in January to modify the scanner code to expand the definition of "radio" when used in a criminal act to monitor police. No additions or changes to any other sections. Just widening it out a bit to include smartphone scanner apps.
Good, maybe that will protect the hobby a bit in the end. These idiot criminals abuse every angle they can to benefit themselves and they should have to pay accordingly.

Shame Michigan does support the death penalty at the moment; there's allot of the idiots that should just be put down and save us taxpayers the money for real needs in the community.

Thanks for posting this update!
 

slash

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The state senate will have a request made in January to modify the scanner code to expand the definition of "radio" when used in a criminal act to monitor police. No additions or changes to any other sections. Just widening it out a bit to include smartphone scanner apps.
Great, thanks to your previous admission that you contacted Senator Rick Jones about this, everyone who is suspected of a 90-day misdemeanor automatically gets their smart phone, tablet, ipod or computer with a wireless card confiscated and searched with all their personal information on it.

Police are going to go nuts when they can search the smart phone of every 20-year old college kid caught sipping a beer at a party.

Bravo. Thanks for working to expand the government's powers even further on ordinary citizens. Words can't describe my utter disgust with your foolish actions.
 

Thunderbolt

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I understand the Indiana State Legislature is currently reviewing their scanner law as well. Recent incidents in the Indianapolis area have arisen where criminals were operating a sophisticated crime ring that was using smartphones to not only keep tabs on the police while committing crimes, but as part of a counter surveillance operation on the local law enforcement community as a whole. Therefore, the lawmakers now want to make it a misdemeanor to carry a smartphone on your person, or in an automobile that has software to listen to live scanner feeds.

If this amendment to the state scanner law passes, I am sure that Michigan won't be far behind.

73s

Ron
 

OCO

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......... Therefore, the lawmakers now want to make it a misdemeanor to carry a smartphone on your person, or in an automobile that has software to listen to live scanner feeds.........
And presumably scanners also (since it doesn't make sense not to) ... Well, it was nice to be able to carry a scanner in the car while it lasted. I'm guessing this will fly through the legislatures, since it's hard to defend the hobby of Monitoring as a whole.:(
 

rdale

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If this amendment to the state scanner law passes, I am sure that Michigan won't be far behind.
Indiana's law is different so no comparison to Michigan, since there it's illegal to have a scanner in the car. Unless you're hearing something else, the new bill being introduced won't do anything other than expand the definition of "police scanner" when used in commission of a crime to include scanner smartphone apps.
 

kb7wox

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Every since the start of the cellular phone it’s been downhill for scanners (ECPA etc.), now it’s this “smartphone” app crap. As usual the broad sword of the law kills the innocent.
 

OCO

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Thanks, Rob - I forgot that Indiana already bans scanners in vehicles...(how could I forget that thread??) ;)
 

rdale

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I just want to see how they plan on enforcing that one. Big can of worms there...
 

slash

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I understand the Indiana State Legislature is currently reviewing their scanner law as well. Recent incidents in the Indianapolis area have arisen where criminals were operating a sophisticated crime ring that was using smartphones to not only keep tabs on the police while committing crimes, but as part of a counter surveillance operation on the local law enforcement community as a whole. Therefore, the lawmakers now want to make it a misdemeanor to carry a smartphone on your person, or in an automobile that has software to listen to live scanner feeds.
Nice! I didn't even consider that, now if you have Ford Sync or something similar fused into your dashboard, they can search your car's computer now and admit it as evidence too. Brilliant.

When you look back and wonder where this all started, you can thank this website for creating a toxic environment to strip us of our hobby, and turn presumably well-intentioned but clueless ignoramuses into the greatest enemies of it.

Woo! The terrorists have won!
 

rdale

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you can thank this website
Live streaming occurred long before this website started doing it.

And this is going to stop criminals from doing bad things while keeping upstanding scanner listeners legally safe, so why are you opposed to it?
 

kc9cra

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Great, thanks to your previous admission that you contacted Senator Rick Jones about this, everyone who is suspected of a 90-day misdemeanor automatically gets their smart phone, tablet, ipod or computer with a wireless card confiscated and searched with all their personal information on it.

Police are going to go nuts when they can search the smart phone of every 20-year old college kid caught sipping a beer at a party.

Bravo. Thanks for working to expand the government's powers even further on ordinary citizens. Words can't describe my utter disgust with your foolish actions.
I'm afraid he's right. Police will abuse any angle as well. This goes for people with authority in general. Scanner aps can be used by criminals, and anyone who uses a scanner to thwart the efferts of police should be punished a little more because of it, but this gives the police the right to search your phone. You can be charged if you have the scanner ap on your phone even if you weren't using it, because the police won't check the last time the ap was used. I'm sure someone with more technical knollege than myself could figure that out, and I hope it is brought up at a later trial. It's just like a guy who gets in to a fight with people at a party in his living room. If one of the responding officers takes a bathroom break and sees his scanner sitting on the nightstand in his bedroom, he could be charged. It's hard to tell whether a person was or wasn't using a scanner which is why we should honestly change the language in this bill to make sure that the only times that the additional charges apply is when the police find the scanner in the same room with the criminal activity, or they have to hear the scanner when they arrest the "thugs" in question. This does mean that a criminal could avoid the charges by tosing the scanner before being caught, but if they are caught and charged for the original crime, that's really what matters. Adding penalties for the use of a scanner is honestly a lower priority.
 

kc9cra

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I really should've read the whole thread before posting, because now I have more to say, not that anyone cares lol. The problem is that everybody breaks the law. These "upstanding scanner listeners" you speak of will, at some point, break the law. Think about it. You've done something illegal within the past week, you just most likely didn't get caught. I have met some very nice police officers in my time, but I've met some real pigs too. So has my family and many people who I trust not to tell tall tales about police misconduct.

Another problem I see is, if a person is arrested and their phone is searched, what about the other stuff on the phone. If the police are considerate, they would simply look for a scanner ap, but that's just too much to ask. If they have your private conversations in their hot little hands, and they have such an easy opportunity to catch you in more criminal activity, don't think they won't use it.

Let's take the previously mentioned highpathetical 20-year old sipping a beer at a party. If the cops get his smart phone, they could read all of his text messages including the one where he admits to smoking a joint last week. Now he can be charged with posession of a controled substance as well. If they get his laptop, they might find the songs he downloaded from that peer to peer network. Doe s he have no shame, he got them all for free! What a travesty! He can now be charged with copyright enfringement.
 

slash

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Live streaming occurred long before this website started doing it.
Correct, however it was this website that provided an API/database of all scanner feeds on this site to make it dead simple for app developers to write applications that enable people to find the local police scanner feed based on their GPS coordinates.

And this is going to stop criminals from doing bad things while keeping upstanding scanner listeners legally safe, so why are you opposed to it?
I'm opposed to it because smart phones carry an incredible amount of personal information, most of it that is irrelevant to the crime but will be subjected to a search anyway. They contain user names and passwords for websites, personal correspondence with other people, photos, videos, a list of contacts, internet browsing history, music, private documents, gps logs, medical information, lists of installed applications, the list goes on and on and on. I'm not defending criminals, but people are innocent until proven guilty, however their privacy will have been violated even before they can contest the charges.

I would have much rather preferred to mandate 15 minute delays under penalty of a felony on all internet feeds broadcasting scanner traffic in this state and keep the nosy police out of people's computers and personal lives. If you want to monitor police, buy a scanner.

That will put us back to the way things were before the internet enabled smart phone craze hit. Criminals using scanners were a relatively rare occurrence before these devices came around. Police confiscating scanners used in crimes is much more preferable to police confiscating entire computers that "could" be used as a scanner.

I have to wonder rdale, do you even own a smart phone, tablet, an ipod-like device, or a vehicle equipped with an in-dash computer that can listen to internet radio?
 

slash

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Let's take the previously mentioned highpathetical 20-year old sipping a beer at a party. If the cops get his smart phone, they could read all of his text messages including the one where he admits to smoking a joint last week.
That was a bad example and I wrote it in a hurry and it's too late to edit it now. MIP's themselves are not a high court misdemeanor. The scanner law currently only applies to crimes punishable by anything greater than 93 days in jail. In other words, you couldn't have your cell phone searched or scanner confiscated for merely speeding or jaywalking (although the MSP already has a device that they use in traffic stops to pull all information from a smart phone - they typically just ask to see the person's phone and bring it back to their cars and do a data pull and analyze it later. See Google for further details).

That still shouldn't downplay the potential ramifications this will have on people's privacy rights.
 
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rdale

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You've done something illegal within the past week, you just most likely didn't get caught.
That would result in a charge requiring at least 93 days in jail? Uhhh, no. Either you hang out with a very rough crowd, or you didn't read the law.

If the police are considerate, they would simply look for a scanner ap, but that's just too much to ask. If they have your private conversations in their hot little hands, and they have such an easy opportunity to catch you in more criminal activity, don't think they won't use it.
If you use the app while committing a crime, you can get the additional charge. The perps that were caught still had the app running on their phone when they were apprehended. There's nothing in it saying it's illegal to have the app on your phone.

Here's the nitty gritty. Because of streaming (and if you blame RR for the mess, you shouldn't be here supporting this forum) scanner laws ARE GOING TO CHANGE.

We can do two things:

1) Be proactive, make sure it's only to expand the use of cellphone apps in commission of a crime, and keep things good for us.
2) Let the lawmakers do it on their own, and have something like Indiana result where it could be illegal to have the app on your phone when you leave the house.

You decide.


I have to wonder rdale, do you even own a smart phone, tablet, an ipod-like device, or a vehicle equipped with an in-dash computer that can listen to internet radio?
Yes, yes, yes and no. And I've never committed a misdemeanor which would result in extended jail time.
 

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If you use the app while committing a crime, you can get the additional charge. The perps that were caught still had the app running on their phone when they were apprehended.
Yes, because everyone who's caught doesn't have time to close off the app before the police arrive. Any time a suspect who was not arrested or detained at the scene of the crime, so long as they have a smart phone or internet enabled device of any sort, it automatically becomes probable cause to search the device to ensure they weren't "tipped off" by an online scanner feed.

There's nothing in it saying it's illegal to have the app on your phone.
Of course not -- but let's leave it up to John Q. Law to sift through the phone and all the apps "just to make sure".

John Q Law: "Wait, this cell phone has a web browser app or an mp3 streaming app, I better check this guy's browsing history to make sure he didn't go to radioreference.com or any other streamer's website and listen to an internet stream. (a couple minutes pass)

Oh wow, this guy's internet history suggests he's into
[insert random legal taboo subject matter here] I better look further into this guy to make sure he isn't doing anything he isn't supposed to."

Here's the nitty gritty. Because of streaming (and if you blame RR for the mess, you shouldn't be here supporting this forum)
No, this site and forum were around long before RR acquired ScanAmerica, smart phones and 3G/4G internet became widely adopted.

scanner laws ARE GOING TO CHANGE.
It's better to deal with the root of the "problem tree" than hack off a few branches and leave the police to keep pruning it indefinitely. The root is the feed providers being able to stream sensitive things in real time to the general public that gives criminals an added advantage. On this site, or any site for that matter.

We can do two things:

1) Be proactive, make sure it's only to expand the use of cellphone apps in commission of a crime, and keep things good for us.
(...)
Yes, yes, yes and no. And I've never committed a misdemeanor which would result in extended jail time.
Good for us? No, when departments go full encryption because of wasted efforts such as this, it's not good for us (and by us I mean amateur radio operators/scanner hobbyists).

Here's the line of thinking among legislators:
Banning cell phone apps! Sounds great! Let's get to work!

Wait a minute... what's this little device?

Son of a... now we have to go beyond just banning apps on cell phones for listening to scanner streams, but now any portable computer device that has wifi in it can use the cell phone network, or a neighbor's open wifi signal that can be used to access the Internet now has to be included, since those devices can listen to scanner streams too!

All that wasted time for not being broad enough. Looks like we'll have to expand that definition of "cell phone apps" to cover everything with a wifi radio.. tablets, ipods, laptops.. just to nip this in the bud once and for all. Let's leave it for the police to search these devices to figure out if any more crimes were committed!
2) Let the lawmakers do it on their own, and have something like Indiana result where it could be illegal to have the app on your phone when you leave the house.
As I have mentioned previously, we had a great and sensible revised scanner law going before streaming, high speed wireless internet accessible anywhere and small powerful computers became popular. Now it's obsolete. I have no doubts that you are well intentioned (and possibly Rick Jones) to try and solve this problem and keep your feed, ego and popularity among your neighbors alive, but criminals are clever and will adapt, and what I just explained to you is exactly what will happen.
 
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rdale

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All of your concerns about having your cellphone searched after committing a crime worthy of extended jail time can be allayed by not committing crimes worthy of extended jail time.

For the rest of us, this is a good thing.
 
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