Why Aren't All Gov Systems Encrypted?

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gsquared18

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I'm hoping you all say cause it's a million, billion, trillion dollars cause I love the hobby but I know that the answer will be easier than that. I'm sure these agencies would rather not be heard by the public so why are they not all encrypted? Is there a reason besides revamping of systems and cost for them not to do it?
 

davidbond21

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You know, to a certain extent, cost could be a determining factor, though these costs are coming down.

I really think it is left up to the end users of these agencies whether or not to use encryption. Most of the feds I listen to, have encryption available to them, and I've heard them use it from time to time. Yet mostly, their communications are in the clear. This is a conscious choice of theirs, at least it seems this way in my case.
 

rnehls

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"You know, to a certain extent, cost could be a determining factor, though these costs are coming down.

I really think it is left up to the end users of these agencies whether or not to use encryption. Most of the feds I listen to, have encryption available to them, and I've heard them use it from time to time. Yet mostly, their communications are in the clear. This is a conscious choice of theirs, at least it seems this way in my case."

I would agree with this but in most cases it depends on what the agency does. I work for a federal agency that has responsibility for emergency response and management of disasters and ALL of our comms are encrypted 100% of the time.
 

kennyblues

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I think it is a bit of operator error, not understanding the how's and why's of the radios operation. And a bit of the radio not programmed correctly, each radio not having the proper encryption key. Also a bit of while operating in the ENC mode the radios range is somewhat diminished.
 

gsquared18

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Maybe Uniden and other scanner companies are paying off the encryption switch flippers dudes to tell their bosses the button is stuck:) Where do I donate to the cause;)
 

johnmhames

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I'm hoping you all say cause it's a million, billion, trillion dollars cause I love the hobby but I know that the answer will be easier than that. I'm sure these agencies would rather not be heard by the public so why are they not all encrypted? Is there a reason besides revamping of systems and cost for them not to do it?
It cost $1,200 per radio to encrypt, that is $1200 for the mobile and $1200 for the portable, a chunk of change. Some agencies like for the public to hear their main dispatch just not traffic between units.
 

TOUGHLIFE

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There are some agencies out there that DO want the law abiding public to listen and become the eyes and ears of the community, reporting what unlawful activity they see, as well as any persons or vehicles that BOLOs' have been put out over the air for. Many agencies don't want to hide their everyday activities from the public but will use secure channels, mobile data terminals, and pagers to put out any sensitive information. There was a time when the Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. would freely give out to the public frequencies used for all of the everyday dispatch channels and they wanted the public to listen. There is something to be said about this topic on both sides but we don't need a police state either where everything they do is hidden from the public.
 

tunnelmot

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When a local P25 system went up, there was a conscience decision to leave the primaries in the clear and encrypt the tactical/ops channels.

Would cost not a dime more since they have encryption capbilities.

I think that's a respectable balance between keeping a tactical advantage and quelling any "big brother" accusations.
Not bad, I couldnt ask for more.

Rich
 

gsquared18

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See? That's what I wanted to hear! They love us and want us to watch over them. Quick true story against that theory but probably in the minority:

One night I was out with my friend who is a bounty hunter here in Knoxville and I had my scanner on in his truck. We heard the police looking for a guy who was running from the scene of a robbery. No s%#!, we see the guy running past the truck so Justy stomps on the gas, cuts this guy off with his truck, gets out, slams him up against the wall and puts the cuffs on him.

Bout a minute later, a cops rolls up in the scene and chews my friend a new one for getting in the way of police business. He explained that he was a bounty hunter and that he was just trying to help. She didn't care one bit and stomped off with his, I mean her prisoner.

Now I know police don't want civi's monitoring the feeds and making citizens arrests like that but it was pretty freakin cool to see that all go down.
 

davidbond21

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I would agree with this but in most cases it depends on what the agency does. I work for a federal agency that has responsibility for emergency response and management of disasters and ALL of our comms are encrypted 100% of the time.
The federal agencies I am monitoring are(mostly) involved with criminal law enforcement. Considering what theydo, and the fact a number of their targets employ surveillance detection/counter-surveillance and/or are violent criminals, it stands to reason they have quite the operational need for encryption.

A couple of these agencies, routinely use encryption during this type of work, and occasionally, operator error(i.e. radio user not manually turning their encryption on) is the cause of clear communications. Other times though, these same agencies just plain have it turned off and talk in the clear, even while on an operation. Another agency, whose name includes the word "Secret" in their title very rarely ever use encryption. And one more agency, who routinely conduct surveillance like described above, practically never use encryption during their operations.

Of course, this is just my experience for my area, and I know that in other parts of the country these same agencies use full time encryption, or nearly so. I can understand why a government agency of your type would want secure communications, but I don't think you can draw that same conclusion everywhere else. Obviously your chain of command has made the decision of secure communications for you and your fellow employees. Other agencies apparently give their people some latitude as to making that call. Although in terms of security needs, it doesn't seem to add up that I wouldn't be able to hear what is happening in terms of a disaster in my immediate area along with federal response, but I do know where quite a bit of felony drug activity is taking place around me along with the federal interest in it, at least from the comms I hear.
 

davidbond21

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Bout a minute later, a cops rolls up in the scene and chews my friend a new one for getting in the way of police business. He explained that he was a bounty hunter and that he was just trying to help. She didn't care one bit and stomped off with his, I mean her prisoner.

Now I know police don't want civi's monitoring the feeds and making citizens arrests like that but it was pretty freakin cool to see that all go down.
What a nice attitude problem that cop seemed to have. I would agree we don't need civilians playing police officer, but bounty hunters aren't regular civilians, and should have training and experience in handling someone like that.

What if this guy had gotten away from this cop, only to commit another robbery that night or the next day? Would her ego(or the safety of the citizens who might get in the crooks way) have been satisfied that your friend didn't interject himself? Again, I agree we don't need everyday citizens getting involved in these matters, but the more people are willing to tolerate crime around them, leaving it up to sole duty of the police(that overextended understaffed force), the more crime that's going to occur. Criminals exploit the fact that it is the advice of law enforcement and many businesses to comply with your robber/burglar's demands(just give them what they want so they'll leave). Now there are many situations where the police should be the ones handling an incident, but remember, all that is necessary for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing.
 
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gsquared18

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Sort of off topic

Along those same lines, at a neighborhood meeting one night a cop showed up to talk to us about calling the cops for stupid neighbor issues. He said, on his shift which was throughout the night, he and just 3 other officers are the only ones on crime patrol for the entire city of Knoxville which is about the same size as Chattanooga and a tad bit smaller than Nashville. That's crazy! He said there are other police officers on the streets but they are on other non-patrol assignments. I'm sure the ratio of officer vs offender isn't that far off in almost every city in the country.
 

talkpair

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You also have to consider that law enforcement folks often monitor neighboring agencies radio traffic....Less populated areas probably just don't have the resources to deal with their own encryption, let alone trying to keep up on what changes their neighbors make on their radios
 
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N_Jay

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It cost $1,200 per radio to encrypt, that is $1200 for the mobile and $1200 for the portable, a chunk of change. Some agencies like for the public to hear their main dispatch just not traffic between units.
Where did you get that price?:confused:
 
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