The Official Thread: Live audio feeds, scanners, and... wait for it.. ENCRYPTION!

Hooplahpro

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Replying to other posts saying the Police didn't have any issues until George Floyd.

The Police have been attacked for decades long before George Floyd. Remember Ferguson and Michael Brown in 2014? That is when the news media starting hating the Police then went national and later when the videos showed the actual event and the cops did it right they said nothing about it. Not even a retraction. Maybe the 1992 riots in Los Angeles (I was there) after the Police officers were acquitted in the Rodney King trial was wrong at lease for Police aggressive assault. I would agree but that is our justice system. There was a lot more than that.

Back to scanners. The point is if the Police want to encrypt their communications to feel safe then OK. Some agencies thought about giving a radio to the news media so with the Police cams technology and the media could tell the whole story. But in 2022 this "Woke" media that hates the Police looking for these humans to make a mistake rather than all the good they do I guess this won't happen. So your expensive scanners may not hear them. Can we change that?

Regards
 

gapa17815

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Hi, I am NOT trying to get banned here... Just a question about the OpenSly In PA. I am in EMS. Has anyone filed a class action law suit for a FOIA demanding that all dispatches be public? I am only asking a question. Our county is ramping up the replacement of the radios and towers to move to this system. Technically every frequency is supposed to be available to the public as they (at least were) supposed to be public domain. The PA county I lived in before was sued in a class action suit, and they had to make All of the dispatches Fire, Police and EMS available to the public. Kind of a right to know.
 

gapa17815

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I just noticed that there are over a half a million of us on this web site! 500K+! Would that be enough to start a campagine to fight police encryption of routine pricinct level comms? If we could some how fund the legal expence to get this issue heard by someone who could resolve it, at least then we can say that an effort was made. Whether it's "yes, cops have a good reason to encrypt", or "no, cops must let the public have a real time ear on their routine comms", it can be said that someone made the effort to settle things. Let's not let this issue die 'cause no one cared enough. Just ranting about it woun't change anything. I for one would give $10 in hopes that all of us would match that. $5 million would give us a chance to see which way this issue and this country's liberties will go.
I feel the same way as a FF2 and Medic. I know many of us would be willing to pay up to $100.00 to a class action suit for a FOIA for continuous live unencrypted feeds. Previous county I lived in only threatened to sue the county to get the encryption turned off and now everyone can listen in that PA county unrestricted forever. (yes they have private encrypted channels that IMO we don't need to hear)
 

mmckenna

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Hi, I am NOT trying to get banned here... Just a question about the OpenSly In PA. I am in EMS. Has anyone filed a class action law suit for a FOIA demanding that all dispatches be public? I am only asking a question. Our county is ramping up the replacement of the radios and towers to move to this system. Technically every frequency is supposed to be available to the public as they (at least were) supposed to be public domain. The PA county I lived in before was sued in a class action suit, and they had to make All of the dispatches Fire, Police and EMS available to the public. Kind of a right to know.
There are a lot of fine details to all this that don't respond well to blanket statements saying that all dispatches be public.

There are no rules that I've seen that say that all public safety communications need to be available to the general public in real time.
In fact, the opposite is slowly becoming true. State of California DOJ is enforcing existing signed agreements between the State and public safety agencies that require all Personal Identifying Information be protected in all phases (at rest, in storage, in transit - including over the radio). These are not new agreements, they were agreements signed by agencies years or decades ago when they requested access to Criminal Justice Information systems. Essentially the agencies agreed to this a long time ago, and signed on the bottom line saying they'd do it. State of California is now enforcing those rules.
Some may claim that this is -just- a State of California issue, but it's not. The requirements for protecting PII are in the access agreements to the databases that store criminal justice info. That includes state databases as well as federal databases. Those federal databases are accessed by all states and then passed down to the county level and then to the individual agencies. At some point the feds are going to make the same requirements on all states. Failure to meet these requirements come with consequences. One of those consequences includes loss of access to the database, and that creates an officer safety issue.

There are -many- ways to address this.
Some agencies are doing initial dispatch in the clear with the personal information handled on a separate encrypted channel, via terminal, over the phone, etc.
Some agencies are willing to stream the traffic, but with substantial delays, and blocking out PII.
Some agencies will require FOIA requests, where recordings of radio traffic are available for the asking, but won't come quickly, and only after PII is scrubbed from the audio.

Which one your agency chooses will be up to them, and the general public can absolutely have input on it, but making demands probably won't work out as well as some think. Logical approaches to the requests that take into account understanding of the requirements and rules would be the right way.

Class action lawsuits take a lot of money. Finding a lawyer to take that on may be difficult. Raising the money will be hard. While there are a lot of scanner listeners out there, how many of them would be willing to give $100 each to a lawyer that will pocket most of it and make a half way attempt and suing some agency? Said agency may just come back and say "if you want it, file a FOIA request like everyone else".

My concern is that a lot of scanner listeners think that they deserve special treatment from public safety agencies. The idea that someone who drops some money on a consumer scanner deserves some sort of special access to communications is probably not going to fly. We don't have access to 911 calls in real time (want those, it's a FOIA request with some redacted data). We don't have real time access to database inquiries, rules against that. We don't have real time access to all the phone traffic in/out of the police department, again, a FOIA thing, with redactions. Same with cell phone calls….

As for agencies being "open" and scanner listeners being aware of what's happening in their cities, well, the scanner listener is a very small segment of the population. There are better ways for agencies to reach a much wider audience than giving access to radio traffic. Most agencies have Reverse 911 systems, IPAWS, social media, etc. That reaches a heck of a lot more people than just scanner listeners. After all, getting accurate data to a wider audience is the goal. Plus, it allows agencies to better control what info is released and when. That has huge benefits.

I know, not a popular opinion, but 30+ years in the public safety communications field gives me an odd point of view on this stuff that doesn't necessarily align with that of the scanner hobbyist. Don't get me wrong, I grew up with a scanner, and it led to a rewarding career. But times have changed….
 

gapa17815

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There are a lot of fine details to all this that don't respond well to blanket statements saying that all dispatches be public.

There are no rules that I've seen that say that all public safety communications need to be available to the general public in real time.
In fact, the opposite is slowly becoming true. State of California DOJ is enforcing existing signed agreements between the State and public safety agencies that require all Personal Identifying Information be protected in all phases (at rest, in storage, in transit - including over the radio). These are not new agreements, they were agreements signed by agencies years or decades ago when they requested access to Criminal Justice Information systems. Essentially the agencies agreed to this a long time ago, and signed on the bottom line saying they'd do it. State of California is now enforcing those rules.
Some may claim that this is -just- a State of California issue, but it's not. The requirements for protecting PII are in the access agreements to the databases that store criminal justice info. That includes state databases as well as federal databases. Those federal databases are accessed by all states and then passed down to the county level and then to the individual agencies. At some point the feds are going to make the same requirements on all states. Failure to meet these requirements come with consequences. One of those consequences includes loss of access to the database, and that creates an officer safety issue.

There are -many- ways to address this.
Some agencies are doing initial dispatch in the clear with the personal information handled on a separate encrypted channel, via terminal, over the phone, etc.
Some agencies are willing to stream the traffic, but with substantial delays, and blocking out PII.
Some agencies will require FOIA requests, where recordings of radio traffic are available for the asking, but won't come quickly, and only after PII is scrubbed from the audio.

Which one your agency chooses will be up to them, and the general public can absolutely have input on it, but making demands probably won't work out as well as some think. Logical approaches to the requests that take into account understanding of the requirements and rules would be the right way.

Class action lawsuits take a lot of money. Finding a lawyer to take that on may be difficult. Raising the money will be hard. While there are a lot of scanner listeners out there, how many of them would be willing to give $100 each to a lawyer that will pocket most of it and make a half way attempt and suing some agency? Said agency may just come back and say "if you want it, file a FOIA request like everyone else".

My concern is that a lot of scanner listeners think that they deserve special treatment from public safety agencies. The idea that someone who drops some money on a consumer scanner deserves some sort of special access to communications is probably not going to fly. We don't have access to 911 calls in real time (want those, it's a FOIA request with some redacted data). We don't have real time access to database inquiries, rules against that. We don't have real time access to all the phone traffic in/out of the police department, again, a FOIA thing, with redactions. Same with cell phone calls….

As for agencies being "open" and scanner listeners being aware of what's happening in their cities, well, the scanner listener is a very small segment of the population. There are better ways for agencies to reach a much wider audience than giving access to radio traffic. Most agencies have Reverse 911 systems, IPAWS, social media, etc. That reaches a heck of a lot more people than just scanner listeners. After all, getting accurate data to a wider audience is the goal. Plus, it allows agencies to better control what info is released and when. That has huge benefits.

I know, not a popular opinion, but 30+ years in the public safety communications field gives me an odd point of view on this stuff that doesn't necessarily align with that of the scanner hobbyist. Don't get me wrong, I grew up with a scanner, and it led to a rewarding career. But times have changed….
Thank you for your response... I am in volunteer EMS. Many families of EMS and firefighter providers would like (and deserve) to know what their loved ones and LE are responding to. I did see a few posts on a locked forum on this site where the dispatches are to be available to the public. I also work closely with LE by granting them access (or me providing) video footage to them. I volunteer in EMS and one of my other positions is to maintain multiple DVR/NVR locations with nearly 300 private cameras in our town. I have provided them real time locations of potential suspects hiding by following real time dispatches. Our county is going 100% encrypted, there was NO public discussion on that decision, just front page news on a Monday morning after the fact. It appears many of us will be less helpful. Our local police just posted they are requesting the public with NVR/DVR systems to build a crime watch network and allow them full access to their systems and to provide camera views/days of retention, if the DVR/NVR does full time recording or motion recording only... That will be a 100% no go when their dispatches get encrypted! Listening to LE I hear officers that have the card cleared out for a vandalism call because they don't want to do the paperwork. That egregious behavior will certainly escalate when no one knows what they are doing, and they no longer have to answer to the public. IMO Sadly the USA is looking more and more like the old USSR. That is why I asked. Thank you again for your response.
 

mmckenna

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Thank you for your response...
Well, glad you took it in the spirit it was intended. As you've seen, there are some with pretty firm stances on both sides of this. I'm not really debating anything, just pointing out the facts.

I am in volunteer EMS. Many families of EMS and firefighter providers would like (and deserve) to know what their loved ones and LE are responding to.
I get it. My uncle was PD for 30 something years and we liked to hear him on the radio. My grandfather would listen to the scanner to hear what his son was doing.
But the "deserve" statement won't fly as a justification for stopping encryption. I think what you meant to say is "it would be nice". I think you may find that for every family member that wants to know what their family is doing when on the job, there's just as many patients that would prefer the world didn't know that they were having a medical emergency.
On the law enforcement side, there's a lot of personal information that gets shared over the radio. And that's the big concern, identity theft, people having information they don't need, etc.

I did see a few posts on a locked forum on this site where the dispatches are to be available to the public.
Yeah, some agencies have found a way to do it.
Some post redacted CAD data to the web. CHP Traffic
Some stream delayed audio of primary dispatch channels. Dispatchers can hit a button and stop the stream if needed.
A lot of this comes down to an agency having the resources and money to put such systems out there. It's expensive, and not all agencies have the money to do that.

I also work closely with LE by granting them access (or me providing) video footage to them. I volunteer in EMS and one of my other positions is to maintain multiple DVR/NVR locations with nearly 300 private cameras in our town. I have provided them real time locations of potential suspects hiding by following real time dispatches. Our county is going 100% encrypted, there was NO public discussion on that decision, just front page news on a Monday morning after the fact. It appears many of us will be less helpful. Our local police just posted they are requesting the public with NVR/DVR systems to build a crime watch network and allow them full access to their systems and to provide camera views/days of retention, if the DVR/NVR does full time recording or motion recording only... That will be a 100% no go when their dispatches get encrypted! Listening to LE I hear officers that have the card cleared out for a vandalism call because they don't want to do the paperwork. That egregious behavior will certainly escalate when no one knows what they are doing, and they no longer have to answer to the public.
Remember, there are other ways for law enforcement agencies to get information to the public that do not rely on scanners. Scanner listeners are a small portion of the population and catering to them isn't cost effective. Limited resources are better spent where they do the most good. Reverse 911, IPAWS, social media, press conferences, PIO's, etc.

Someone's willingness to share video recordings regarding crimes shouldn't come down to a tit-for-tat thing. If someone has information that can help solve a crime, that person should carefully decide what their role is in helping law enforcement and their fellow citizens. If an agency decides to encrypt and that makes someone with video of a crime not share it with PD, then they should probably think long and hard what their role in society is. It's a personal choice. Do they report the crime, or turn a blind eye to it because they are not getting a perceived benefit from said agency? I know what my choice would be….

IMO Sadly the USA is looking more and more like the old USSR. That is why I asked. Thank you again for your response.
I think you haven't lived in the USSR. We have it pretty good here, encryption or not.
 

drdispatch

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Citywide173

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Forget encryption; Here's the next big thing:

It's been around for quite some time, the media is just now picking up on it. The only problem is a lack of fallback options.
 

mmckenna

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Forget encryption; Here's the next big thing:

Yeah, that's nothing new.
A lot of the new top end public safety grade radios include LTE and WiFi capability that will allow the radio to switch over to those networks when outside the coverage of the LMR system.
 

drdispatch

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I know it's not new, but now that it's been around for a while, agencies are taking notice, with some abandoning their LMR systems altogether for FirstNet PTT.
And I agree with @Citywide173 ; If the cell system bites the dust, "who you gonna call?"
 

mmckenna

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I know it's not new, but now that it's been around for a while, agencies are taking notice, with some abandoning their LMR systems altogether for FirstNet PTT.
And I agree with @Citywide173 ; If the cell system bites the dust, "who you gonna call?"
That's why agencies that have someone on staff that has more than two brain cells to rub together are not sinking all their communications into LTE. LTE is being leveraged to enhance existing LMR systems.

We went though the same thing back in the Nextel days. Had to stop our chief from dumping all LMR equipment, giving away our frequencies and sinking everything into Nextel phones.
 
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