Why the Forsyth County fire department has decided to encrypt its radios, and why that concerns First Amendment expert

n0iop

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Northfield, MN
Plus no system is using much of any DES-XL or DES-OFB anymore unless its an old system to where they are not using OTAR. Maybe some old Motorola legacy systems are still using this older encryption algo, but I can say pretty much at this point the majority of all the new system roll outs are all AES-256 since this is the standard these days and its FIPPS compliant.
Well, the state of Minnesota is still using it, because they still have old radios that don't support AES256, and it's easier to use DES on the whole system than to do some talk groups one way and some the other way.

Plus all of the new APX radios come with AES-256 built into the MACE now. No brainer. Plus nobody is breaking any kind of encryption anyways. Some people including myself can mouth breath sometimes and I can call my self out on it but with somebody thinking they can hack or figure out on how to break AES-256 is completely living on another planet which maybe its Pluto.
You don't have to break AES-256. You just have to break the radios.
 

allend

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Well, the state of Minnesota is still using it, because they still have old radios that don't support AES256, and it's easier to use DES on the whole system than to do some talk groups one way and some the other way.


Yes, I guess with older statewide systems still have those old XTS5000 radios. They are the work horse for Motorola still. Those radio were and still are a big work horse. So most likely they are still using the older UCM boards with DES-OFB/XL. Still works just fine.
 

N9SWR

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Apr 6, 2012
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Belleville, Illinois
Encryption has nothing to do with the First Amendment. You have no RIGHT to hear anything first hand or immediately under any First amendment applications. Your need for immediate information is just something you want, not need.
 

kjl13

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I am not sure the route my town would go, if and when they upgrade their system.


I see the reason for any agency to encrypt, but it really would stink for people who scan daily.
 

santafe2016

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German Township,Springfield, Ohio
My comment is how muich of this stuff we used to hear goes to the computer terminal in the squad car or fire engine, stuff we used to hear now tha call is emailed to LEO / Fire. And with cell phones they can take any comm away from us. Back in the old days EVERYTHING was either by FIRE PHONE or radio, no smart phones no MDT's we could hear it all. I can't tell you how many times Clark County Ohio and The springfield PD talk about a call they sent to terminals, that call never made the air!!
My town just made the switch from ProVoice of 17 years and only withing the last year or so was able to be monitored to MARCS Ohio's system and they have most in the clear yet there are nearby counties that encrypt all comm, City of Dayton has most encrypted and it starts at the top if they had it where they came form they want it where they go. Can we start class action lawsuits to make dispatch in the clear??
 

N0GTG

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I usually donate something to my local LEO each year. The day that they decide encrypt will be the last day I donate. If everyone would quit donating money to those entities who encrypt, then that might cause them to change their minds about going silent.
I, too, donate money to my local government entities every year. It's called taxes.

If they want to conceal what they do with my money, I would also like to withhold my 'donation'.
 

ts442k9

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Rolling Hills
Here's an example of a radio report given by EMS. No HIPPA laws were broken and if you would have heard the page you would know where the person lived and could find out the persons name.

Med 68, to Hospital.
Med 68 go ahead.
Med 68 we are currently inbound to your facility with a 10 minute ETA with a medical red. A 68-year-old male patient complaining of chest pain after shoveling snow. The patient stated he had been shoveling for about 30 minutes when the chest pain started. Patient rates his pain at 8/10, substernal and crushing. 12 lead shows inferior infarct with no other abnormalities. Vitals are as follows…..blah blah blah. Patient has an IV in his left A/C 18 gauge and has been given aspirin and nitro. No other pertinent history. At this point, we’d like to activate a code STEMI and we’ll see you in 10. Med 68 clear
 

santafe2016

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German Township,Springfield, Ohio
I have had my identity stolen lately and have frozen my credit and it was not from anything heard on a scanner, it was from a data breach with a company where info was placed on internet. there are bigger threats there than hearing a dispatch and someone figuring it out
 

BoxAlarm187

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Old Dominion
...idf [sic] someone wants to know it was Joe Blow so be it. thats is an isolated case not usually what you hear what with all the dispatches made
The issue is that Joe Blow has the right and the legal standing to not have his indentifying information broadcast for everyone to hear.
 

SteveC0625

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HIPAA?


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HIPAA applies mostly to patient medical records. I have been an EMT/first responder for over 45 years plus my career was nearly 30 years as a Police/Fire/EMS Dispatcher. I can assure you that there are no applicable laws against typical dispatches and ambulance-to-hospital reporting as discussed in this thread. If any such law existed, I would be aware of it.
 

BoxAlarm187

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HIPAA applies mostly to patient medical records. I have been an EMT/first responder for over 45 years plus my career was nearly 30 years as a Police/Fire/EMS Dispatcher. I can assure you that there are no applicable laws against typical dispatches and ambulance-to-hospital reporting as discussed in this thread. If any such law existed, I would be aware of it.
Like you, I have over 25 years in the field as well as many years in the comm center. I’m aware of HIPAA and it’s many loopholes. Protected information CAN be transmitted over the air but only when absolutely essential to patient care (which 99% of the time, it isn’t). As you said, the average patient report doesn’t even come close to brushing HIPAA guidelines.


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