Transparency?

KG4NHF

Newbie
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
1
The news the other day showed a Columbia area police chief arguing before the SC legislature for body cams for the police officers, yet the RR database shows Lexington and Richland counties Sherrifs department using the Pal 800 as being Encrypted. So much for transparency. Just my thoughts.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
9,886
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Just my opinion, but I think police depts should have encryption as an option and should be able to use it when the need arises to protect sensitive operations. Otherwise for transparency, I believe all other police comms should be in the clear.

What bothers me more is the streaming services being told to take down a feed. If its something in the clear that anyone can legally receive with a police scanner, I think its ludicrous to be told to take a feed down. If a particular PD requests a feed provider to take a feed down I think they should be given the middle finger. Bad planning and design of a police radio system is no excuse to infringe on our right to monitor when they get caught with their pants down during a riot or whatever. Makes me consider starting a new feed service with no stupid rules and inviting anyone to participate.

Lets see if this post stays or gets squashed like many feeds that should never be touched.


The news the other day showed a Columbia area police chief arguing before the SC legislature for body cams for the police officers, yet the RR database shows Lexington and Richland counties Sherrifs department using the Pal 800 as being Encrypted. So much for transparency. Just my thoughts.
 

BMedcom

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
41
Location
Myrtle Beach
Records get "Lost"
I will ditto your comment. As stated in the Charleston encryption thread, I have been with agencies who go fully encrypted, I am not a supporter of that. I can say with certainty this is what happens;
1. You or a news outlet submits an open record request. By law, that dept. has so many days to produce the recordings. However, between dept. politics and attorneys', you will wait the rest of your life if they choose for you to not have that recording.
2. It gets reviewed by the higher ups, and you will be told, we are having system issues, or something unexpected or an "act of God" beyond our control issue arose, and we don't have that file anymore. in other words delete. I fully support LEOs, but when it comes to full encryption this is what happens, and sends even the best of depts down the wrong path. Remember, just because the public legally has the right to something, records or audio in this case, that does not mean they will follow those laws.
 

DJ11DLN

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
2,100
Location
Mudhole, IN
I think that many of the dept's that demand feeds of clear comms be taken down perceive feed users differently from scanner users, that they think, well, it takes some effort to monitor our comms with a scanner in these days of digital trunked systems; most criminals aren't going to go to all that effort. But you can listen to a feed just by installing an app and picking the desired feed. This comes from talking to a few LEOs whose agencies have at least dabbled with ENC.

I don't pretend to think that there aren't sensitive comms that do need privacy, but I do believe that the routine stuff carried on Dispatch should definitely be in the clear, whether there's a feed involved or not.
 

wd4edu

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
70
Location
SC
Radio, dash cams, and body cam recordings available through a records request.
Records' requestors are frequently harassed by law enforcement agencies, and retaliated against. The Associated Press and daily newspapers throughout South Carolina conducted a "FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) audit." Only around 50% of the state's law enforcement agencies, who were asked for public records, complied with the state FOIA. Worse, in Georgetown County, a newspaper employee -- not one of the regular reporters -- was surrounded by armed deputies when the requestor asked for the records of those recently incarcerated. In the Upstate, a requestor had her vehicle tag recorded, traced and her newspaper employer received a call about the incident.
 

wd4edu

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
70
Location
SC
I will ditto your comment. As stated in the Charleston encryption thread, I have been with agencies who go fully encrypted, I am not a supporter of that. I can say with certainty this is what happens;
1. You or a news outlet submits an open record request. By law, that dept. has so many days to produce the recordings. However, between dept. politics and attorneys', you will wait the rest of your life if they choose for you to not have that recording.
2. It gets reviewed by the higher ups, and you will be told, we are having system issues, or something unexpected or an "act of God" beyond our control issue arose, and we don't have that file anymore. in other words delete. I fully support LEOs, but when it comes to full encryption this is what happens, and sends even the best of depts down the wrong path. Remember, just because the public legally has the right to something, records or audio in this case, that does not mean they will follow those laws.
I recently received a response from a public information officer for an out-of-state State Police agency. The response cited COVID-19 as a reason to delay responding to a request for a specific record, cited by case number, date, time, location, nature of report and suspect information.
 

wd4edu

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
70
Location
SC
If the FCC and the federal government can outlaw listening to radio signals in the cellphone bands, why can't they regulate the use of the internet to prohibit feeds from public safety agencies?

And if a law enforcement agency encrypts a communication, they ought to be required to post an unencrypted version, after the fact, on their public website.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
9,886
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
The FCC can probably regulate these things if some left wing nut makes a case for it and whoever is in charge gets a hair up their fat tukus and makes it happen. Lets hope in never comes to that and be careful who you vote for.

And when encryption is looming I hope people go to any public meetings about it and petition their local Govt about needing transparency. Its also nice if a local news paper would publish a story citing the taxpayer cost of implementing encryption and pointing out the result could lead to officers hiding conversations containing racial bias or worse. Common everyday police comms should be in the clear and only certain sensitive comms should be encrypted.

Maybe I should run for office, is it too late for the big one this November? I'll promise a free Phase II scanner for every household, no encryption and maybe some reasonable health coverage. Naw, screw the health coverage, we need more radios and antennas.

If the FCC and the federal government can outlaw listening to radio signals in the cellphone bands, why can't they regulate the use of the internet to prohibit feeds from public safety agencies?

And if a law enforcement agency encrypts a communication, they ought to be required to post an unencrypted version, after the fact, on their public website.
 

wd4edu

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
70
Location
SC
The FCC can probably regulate these things if some left wing nut makes a case for it and whoever is in charge gets a hair up their fat tukus and makes it happen. Lets hope in never comes to that and be careful who you vote for.

And when encryption is looming I hope people go to any public meetings about it and petition their local Govt about needing transparency. Its also nice if a local news paper would publish a story citing the taxpayer cost of implementing encryption and pointing out the result could lead to officers hiding conversations containing racial bias or worse. Common everyday police comms should be in the clear and only certain sensitive comms should be encrypted.

Maybe I should run for office, is it too late for the big one this November? I'll promise a free Phase II scanner for every household, no encryption and maybe some reasonable health coverage. Naw, screw the health coverage, we need more radios and antennas.
Anyone have any personal experience with how that "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" resulted in a public safety agency not deciding to encrypt, or reversing a previous decision to encrypt?
 

milf

Careful, I CAN hear you!
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
13,671
Location
Indianapolis, IN
That was tried via a lawsuit by a felon with the City of Little Rock, AR. As expected it was thrown out of court I believe twice? It was attempted 3 times via a State Senator I believe through trying to run with an act he was trying to actually go to State Floor, and all 3 times went to committee to die. Only reversals I have ever heard of were from the leadership of an agency changing and thus policy changes, or a LODD that sparked big headlines and thus reversals.
 

BMedcom

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
41
Location
Myrtle Beach
And just one more thought from both my personal and professional experiences. A lot of places that go encrypted, may honestly have nothing to hide, or any ill intent, but you must remember, several agencies I have been around, there is a mentality of "we are tired of hearing the public claim we work for them, one penny of their taxes might go to us, at best." Usually followed by, "the public has no right to know, nor hear what we do, our job is none of their business and the public has no right to hear or know anything." Even the people I know personally who have the best of intentions, I want to say, that mindset is just as dangerous. Just to be clear, I am not a law enforcement officer, however I will say, that what PD does, or what I do in both Fire/EMS, that is true to a *very* small extent. However, you better believe we do work for you guys, and we are all public servants. The second we have the mindset that you all have "no business" knowing what we do or do not do, in my opinion is the day I need to hang up my gear.
 

JohnSC

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Messages
75
Location
Greenville SC
The fact that a judge can order the release of police recordings misses the point entirely. It almost never happens. Reporters increasingly are taking "press releases" from public agencies and running them mostly verbatim and passing them off as news. Real news is seriously under-reported or overlooked entirely because reporters are essentially closed out by most public agencies, which are telling reporters don't call us, we'll call you when we have news for you.

This is a tremendous tool for politicians and bureaucrats to curry favor with their friends. Keeping embarrassing news out of the newspaper or off the air is wielding powerful influence. Occasionally a dedicated officer is offended and finds a way to make it known, or a lawyer is hired by some aggrieved party and the news eventually comes to light, often months or even years after it occurred. And, sometimes, a police chief gets fired or highway patrol higher-up is forced to retire -- and even that sometimes can be covered up. But even these are exceptions and not the daily news that goes unreported.

Shutting down local dispatch channels is the final nail in the coffin of independent coverage of law enforcement in South Carolina. In those communities where it has already happened, judges are rarely asked for police recordings because reporters don't know enough about what's going on to even request a recording. The cost of hiring lawyers makes it impossible to bring a lawsuit for every legitimate news story that the public has a right to know about. In the real world, this only happens in sensational cases when someone has video of a cop shooting someone.

A half-dozen or so sheriffs in our state have been convicted in recent years, including the one who was first to encrypt a local police radio in South Carolina. They certainly should not be entrusted with deciding what news the public is entitled to know about, and neither should it be so for the even best among them -- and there are some truly fine ones out there, many of whom probably want no part of this encryption business.

Simply put, deciding what's news is not their job -- and the Founding Fathers were so adamant about the need for independent reporting that they added it as an exclamation point to our Constitution. Not simply one of the 27 amendments, but the First Amendment. Those who want to encrypt should make their third-grade Civics teachers proud and think seriously about the profound implications of what they are doing.
 

Caesar

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
244
Location
Cayce, SC
It is a race between all dispatches being Encrypted or all Dispatches being Silent (MDT's). The Public Safety Monitoring side of the hobby will die one way or the other, or both. Hopefully no time soon though.
 

mc2311

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 1, 2003
Messages
1
Location
Dillon,SC
I have been in the hobby for about 50 years and I still love it, but I do feel that it may be a good idea to shut down some feeds temporarily to protect the very people we all love to listen to. These people burning our cities and terrorizing citizens of this great nation have been caught using the feeds and we should recognize this and maybe give our First Responders a little bit of an edge to help combat this madness.
 
Top