Whatever happened to not divulging what you hear?

sannerwise

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Back in the day when I first joined the scanner hobby, it was the days of the crystal transition to crystal less days so I guess it was somewhere in the late 70's early 80's my first unit was a Sears Bearcat 210, anyhow I remember reading that it's perfectly legal to listen to public service bands so long as you didn't divulge what you hear, but as we all know we all divulge what we hear, so I'm wondering is that still a rule or did that change some time ago?
 

wowologist

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The Communications Act prohibits the FCC from authorizing radio scanning equipment that:


  • Can receive transmissions in the frequencies allocated to domestic cellular services.
  • Can readily be altered by the user to intercept cellular communications.
  • May be modified to convert digital transmissions to analog voice audio.
It is illegal to manufacture, import, sell or lease such unauthorized equipment in the United States.

O man....anyone got a hacksaw...looks like the Federal pokey is heading our way....
 

popnokick

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[from the US DOJ website 1066. Interception of Radio Communications—47 U.S.C. § 605 ]
Section 605(a) of Title 47 prohibits persons who transmit or receive wire or radio communications from divulging such communications except to authorized persons. According to the legislative history, the provision "is designed to regulate the conduct of communications personnel." S.Rep. No. 1098, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. 108 (1968).

The nature of radio communications is such that there is the potential for a multitude of petty 47 U.S.C. § 605 violations which do not warrant the initiation of federal prosecutions. Consequently, the proper use of federal law enforcement resources usually requires that investigation and prosecution of 47 U.S.C. § 605 violations be reserved for those cases in which there is a continuing, repeated, and flagrant violation of the law despite the application of lesser measures. It should be noted that the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 carved out an exception for the interception of satellite cable programming by an individual for private viewing. Prior to the act, such an interception and use was, arguably, a violation of the law.

The word "person" in 47 U.S.C. § 605 does not include a law enforcement officer acting in the usual course of his or her duties. See United States v. Hall, 488 F.2d 193 (9th Cir. 1973); S.Rep. No. 1097, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. 108 (1968).

A person who "willfully" violates the criminal prohibitions contained in this section is subject to a fine of not more than $2,000 and imprisonment for not more than six months. 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(1). If a person willfully violates this provision for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain, the penalty is a fine of not more than $50,000 and imprisonment for not more than two years, and a $100,000 fine and imprisonment for not more than five years for any subsequent conviction. Id. § 605(e)(2).

The statute also prohibits the importation, manufacture, sale, or distribution of equipment with the intent to use it in any activity prohibited by § 605(a), and provides the same criminal penalties of not more than $500,000 and imprisonment of not more than five years for each violation. Id. § 605(e)(4).
 

trentbob

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LOL, a lot of things aren't like they used to be. You got some great replies here.

I probably started about 10 years before you when I was very young so mid-60s and in the car in late 60s early 70s. The law in Pennsylvania is still the same, you can have a scanner in the car but you can't use it in the commission of a crime.

Remember the days of the GRE made RatShack branded Pro2004 where you simply cut a diode and you could hear 800 megahertz cell phone operation, It didn't trunk but you could hear both sides because there weren't a whole lot of bag phones and shoe phones out there.

We also didn't have the internet, forums, social media and easy monitoring on cell phones.

We did have Saturday mornings at the local radio stores of which there were many where we would gather and chat.
 

kg4pbd

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Go back and look at any old edition of Police Call. Gene Hughes had an admonition in the first few pages to keep what you hear to yourself. Sadly a concept long since ignored with public streaming and social media.
 

trentbob

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Go back and look at any old edition of Police Call. Gene Hughes had an admonition in the first few pages to keep what you hear to yourself. Sadly a concept long since ignored with public streaming and social media.
Yes he did.
 

cpfinlay

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  • Can receive transmissions in the frequencies allocated to domestic cellular services.
  • Can readily be altered by the user to intercept cellular communications.
  • May be modified to convert digital transmissions to analog voice audio.
This is misquoted and entirely out of context...

(d)Cellular telecommunications receivers
(1)Within 180 days after October 28, 1992, the Commission shall prescribe and make effective regulations denying equipment authorization (under part 15of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any other part of that title) for any scanning receiver that is capable of—

(A) receiving transmissions in the frequencies allocated to the domestic cellular radio telecommunications service,
(B) readily being altered by the user to receive transmissions in such frequencies, or
(C) being equipped with decoders that convert digital cellular transmissions to analog voice audio.

Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2009-title47/html/USCODE-2009-title47-chap5.htm
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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This is misquoted and entirely out of context...

(d)Cellular telecommunications receivers
(1)Within 180 days after October 28, 1992, the Commission shall prescribe and make effective regulations denying equipment authorization (under part 15of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any other part of that title) for any scanning receiver that is capable of—

(A) receiving transmissions in the frequencies allocated to the domestic cellular radio telecommunications service,
(B) readily being altered by the user to receive transmissions in such frequencies, or
(C) being equipped with decoders that convert digital cellular transmissions to analog voice audio.

Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2009-title47/html/USCODE-2009-title47-chap5.htm
The misquote came directly from FCC website. It is always in your best interest to read actual rules .
 

Kaleier1

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I could have wrote the same post as you sannerwise. As I have browsed these forums that exact thought has come to mind several times.
 

majoco

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{quote]it all went out the window with streaming [/quote]
...and so now you have encryption - who is the winner? I know who is the loser.
 

sannerwise

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LOL, a lot of things aren't like they used to be. You got some great replies here.

I probably started about 10 years before you when I was very young so mid-60s and in the car in late 60s early 70s. The law in Pennsylvania is still the same, you can have a scanner in the car but you can't use it in the commission of a crime.

Remember the days of the GRE made RatShack branded Pro2004 where you simply cut a diode and you could hear 800 megahertz cell phone operation, It didn't trunk but you could hear both sides because there weren't a whole lot of bag phones and shoe phones out there.

We also didn't have the internet, forums, social media and easy monitoring on cell phones.

We did have Saturday mornings at the local radio stores of which there were many where we would gather and chat.
You make some really good points there, I do remember those days when it was easy to mod to receive cell phones, the Uniden 200xl hand held I think it was had a mod for it, shoe phones, like in Get Smart? I'm just yanking your chain, I guess most of the laws about divulging what you heard applied to those cell conversations and not so much public service bands, and of course back than the Internet was just a gleam in the eye of some nerd in a basement, I actually met a fellow in a L.A. once who claimed to have been one of the guys who worked for DARPA back in the day when Internet was just a means for military to communicate, but that's another subject entirely.
 

sannerwise

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Go back and look at any old edition of Police Call. Gene Hughes had an admonition in the first few pages to keep what you hear to yourself. Sadly a concept long since ignored with public streaming and social media.
That's what I remember it from Police Call, I used to get those regularly, sadly no longer around, we all take for granted that we will just jump online and go the Freq DB and find what we need, what happens when the grid goes down? I gotta remember to print some out just in case. Than again if the grid does go down just how long will public service be able to stay up on emergency generators if they even work, if there is an EMP. Ok i'll leave it there and for another day.
 

iMONITOR

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I absolutely remember those days and being told that and reading that for years.

I did a quick Google search and found this:

Guidelines for Use of Information from Police Scanners
By Kathleen A. Kirby, Partner and Ari S. Meltzer, Associate; Wiley Rein LLP
 

sannerwise

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...and so now you have encryption - who is the winner? I know who is the loser.
This!!
[/QUOTE]
Well if you ask me the winner is the sales guy who gets a nice fat commission when he convinces the agency he's courting to go with DES. That's my guess.
 

gmclam

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This is an interesting topic because, over the years, people have always picked which laws they want to follow. I'm thinking of all the illegal CBers out there who didn't get a license and used the radio for a hobby (which was forbidden). Had people who intercepted cell calls kept the info to themselves, lawmakers wouldn't have ever passed laws to restrict reception of cell signals.

I've always felt you couldn't divulge if it would harm someone but would divulge if it helped someone law-abiding. Funny that they already have a law that makes using a scanner during a crime and extra offense, but that hasn't stopped people from claiming they need more laws, or need to take more actions, that essentially are the same offense.

When people bring up streaming there's usually a story about someone who was arrested having a "scanner app" running on his/her cell phone. Funny, it apparently didn't keep them from getting arrested. I wonder if that extra charge was added to their offenses.
 
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