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

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DaveNF2G

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You're missing the point. Besides, a casual listener already knows where you picked up your patient and why, and where you are taking them.
 

paulmohr

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Unfortunately your local LEO's don't make those decisions so you are punishing them for something they didn't do. A better idea would be tell your local government if they do it you won't vote for them.
 

mmckenna

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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 bit my tongue when I originally read this, but since others have commented:

What I see is that you donate to the agency as long as you get something out of it. When you lose that, you no longer donate.

I fail to see how that is supporting law enforcement.
 
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DaveNF2G

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I am not aware of any lawful way that a police department can receive donations from the general public, especially if such donations are conditioned upon services.
 

BoxAlarm187

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I am not aware of any lawful way that a police department can receive donations from the general public, especially if such donations are conditioned upon services.
Create a 501(c)3 for charitable donations. Both the FD and PD in my county have done this.


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radio3353

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I bit my tongue when I originally read this, but since others have commented:

What I see is that you donate to the agency as long as you get something out of it. When you lose that, you no longer donate.

I fail to see how that is supporting law enforcement.
It is called entitlement (n)
 

CanWestPilot

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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.
Do you donate because you want to scan, or do you donate because you want to help your local department, and are supportive of the great work they do and put their lives on the line for you?
 

cortchubby

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Chicago Illinois
There is no rhyme or reason for fire dispatches to be encrypted.

Sounds like they are trying to hide something.

I think agencies that do encryption are hiding something they don't want anybody to know about.

I sort of agree law enforcement swat, bomb, and surveillance should be encrypted. Give me a break dispatch come on.

Just like I said it is a way to stop the honest man from having a hobby.

Time for law makers like in Colorado to draft legislation to outlaw encryption of any sorts.

Especially for public safety. (Excluding cell phones and other means of personal communications devices).

Better yet somebody needs to come up with away to bust encryption.

Just my thoughts

David

Rhyme and Reason....ok. Well having been on the "field side" of LEO/EMS.DHS radio operations, I DO believe CERTAIN traffic should always be encrypted. EMS (HIIPA stuff) TACTICAL/SWAT/ECT due to safety concerns of the Officer,The Public, and believe it or not the target. And example and a valid one as to why Parts of LEO radio traffic should be secure is as follows. I have a car stopped in a known drug area in the Projects in Chicago occupied one time, male black. Plate # XXX-XXXX Illinois. (pause) 2861C plate comes back to....XXXX XXXXXXX DOB x/x/xxxx Warrant hit on name checking further....(Pause) Subject SSN (to verify warrant) XXX-XX-XXXX. (Pause) 2861C.....Valid Warrant hit, 10-61 please. ...The point being here is all the info needed to glom someones personal info for nefarious reasons has just been given and someone with not hornorable intent can (and has) used this info to open accounts,steal money and identity.
I DONT believe the departments are "trying to hide" things. In my area of service we have a "side band" (VHF simplex BS channel) that we use more than the actual Network Channel.Anything,including our off hand sarcasm can be heard there. Insofar as medical info, THAT (from scene to hospital ect) should be treated with just as much security as your conversation with your doctor and be secure and/or encrypted.
THAT said, I DO believe public access to Govt Radio is a valid and helpful thing and I cite many disasters,law events, BOLO events, ect. It is an INVALUABLE heads up tool when on the road as we all know 11 meter isnt as used as it once was. Many times,I never would have known about a wrong way driver on the highway if it wasnt for my ISPERN Radio so yes MOST radio traffic SHOULDNT be encrypted. And additionally, In DUPO IL (the example) the ability for the public to know ahead of time GREATLY advances survival and containment and coordinated help and evac. You can also cite the Plainfield Tornado where Ham operators and anyone else with a radio or scanner descended on the area locked it down and kept the fatality rate to about 26 people. I FIRMLY believe that had that radio traffic been encrypted, (The National Guard channel WAS) the damages,and fatalities would have been much higher and the rescue recovery effort would have been severely handicapped.
The REALITY of PSR Radio is about money. STARCOM (Illinois) IMO is useless.There is existing infrastructure (ESMARN,IREACH,ISPERN,NIFERN 1 and 2 and FIREGROUNDS and POINT TO POINT) that have been in use since 1971 that I can attest to. IMO there is NO NEED for a Berwyn (Illinois) police officer to have the ability to talk to Andy and Barney down in East St Louis as they sit infront of the station reading a paper.This was the argument made at several planning commission meetings. My ONLY compromise here is that the NETWORK should have basic MDC/ID security on it. (scrutinizer). Other than that it comes across as a city having a big fat check and Motorola circling like vultures with nifty new technology THAT DOESNT (and I can prove that) WORK.

HIPAA does not apply to radio communications.
I would have to research that but it is MEDICAL CONDTION REPORTING being given to MEDICAL persons for the purposes of Medical Treatment. It contains personal information. MERCI (medical) radio traffic can be "genrerally"
broadcast to the Trauma Unit.Happens all the time. The POINT here is the personal identifiers of the victim that should always be secured. Ill check with the Illinois EMS MERCI guide and a few friends I have there and get back to you on the HIPPA thing. Oh BTW my Merci ID is 2D477

I think if you go back and read the communications privacy act.

If I am wrong, but I don't think there is anything mentioned in the act except for cell phones, alpha pagers, cordless phones and baby monitors.

David
YIKES! THe ECPA was a nightmare to read and grasp. In its most BASIC translation........

You cannot rebroadcast(Tell anyone) what you hear on PSR Radio. I know this will aggravate the youtube "news agency" people but its the law and has been enforced in incidents in Baltimore, Missouri and Minnesota. (later thrown out on 1st amendment arguments) Im not a purest here in any way. My car has 5 transmit capable radios ranging from Low band to "way up there" and yes it looks like a 4 wheeled porcupine. When Im active at an event,my vehicle gets a designation from on scene command until actual department radio command trucks arrive. Logs are kept(required) as are recordings(required departmentally) I have encounted countless hams,scanner people ,CB clubs ect on these scenes. I dont take the anti radio stance, I corral these good folks since they know the area far better than I do, coordinate an effort from them with Local Leo ect and we get things expedited. Ive always been a staunch supporter of this and I can go back as far as the Romeoville Refinery explosion for proof of this. Ill never forget the look of the Fire Chiefs face when I pulled up with the Porcupine and literally called in Chicago Fire Boats to that scene. Weeks later, the Chief organized a group of people like me to be ready in the event things went boom again. We were used 3 times after that event. As far as the ECPA....a good rule of thumb is "if you hear something DONT SAY ANYTHING....Kinda like me losing all my guns in that terrible fishing accident last week.......LOL

It's not possible unless you have the key and a way to program it. I'm not sure if the Unication pagers support an encryption key.
a Key device isnt cheap. FAILSAFE 3 (banned in the USA) is a AES/DES cracker.DO NOT GET CAUGHT WITH THIS unless you are a radio tech or shop or unless you have 10 years of your life you would care to share with a cell mate.

I think if you go back and read the communications privacy act.

If I am wrong, but I don't think there is anything mentioned in the act except for cell phones, alpha pagers, cordless phones and baby monitors.

David
well when I actively monitor those baby monitors I CAN tell you all the babies on the block that suffer from gastro issues. LOL

Facebook and Twitter. Most all agencies have accounts and PIO's. That's how info is gathered in the social media age.
and you will note with oh lets say broadcastify, there is a HUGE (up to a minute and a half) hang time before re broadcast. Im sure, in some dark red lit radio room in some small town a 400 pound "radio man" is running things thru a filter while downing twinkies and Mt Dew (LOL just imaging the image....)
 

lucky43113

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That's what I've always thought. Due HIPPA I agree that medial calls should be encrypted. Even though they don't use names and SS numbers, they do use addresses with a description of the individual in need of help and what the problem is. All someone has to do is look up the address and figure from there. To encrypt the whole department is just plain ridiculous. I was reading the the database last night, don't remember where it was, the whole city was encrypted including pubic works. Heaven knows that we don't need to listening to where the garbage trucks are located. LOL. Sensitive info yes regular calls no. They've encrypted the whole county except for 3 talkgroups. That's just plain silly.
Here the police give names addresses and SS numbers for almost every call
 

buddrousa

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CORTCHUBBY this is your quote.
(The REALITY of PSR Radio is about money. STARCOM (Illinois) IMO is useless.There is existing infrastructure (ESMARN,IREACH,ISPERN,NIFERN 1 and 2 and FIREGROUNDS and POINT TO POINT) that have been in use since 1971 that I can attest to. IMO there is NO NEED for a Berwyn (Illinois) police officer to have the ability to talk to Andy and Barney down in East St Louis as they sit infront of the station reading a paper.This was the argument made at several planning commission meetings. My ONLY compromise here is that the NETWORK should have basic MDC/ID security on it. (scrutinizer). Other than that it comes across as a city having a big fat check and Motorola circling like vultures with nifty new technology THAT DOESNT (and I can prove that) WORK)
By your standards we should do away with cellphones and the internet and all other new technology as we had LANDLINE TELEPHONES TV and NEWSPAPERS for information.
 

N8IAA

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Rhyme and Reason....ok. Well having been on the "field side" of LEO/EMS.DHS radio operations, I DO believe CERTAIN traffic should always be encrypted. EMS (HIIPA stuff) TACTICAL/SWAT/ECT due to safety concerns of the Officer,The Public, and believe it or not the target. And example and a valid one as to why Parts of LEO radio traffic should be secure is as follows. I have a car stopped in a known drug area in the Projects in Chicago occupied one time, male black. Plate # XXX-XXXX Illinois. (pause) 2861C plate comes back to....XXXX XXXXXXX DOB x/x/xxxx Warrant hit on name checking further....(Pause) Subject SSN (to verify warrant) XXX-XX-XXXX. (Pause) 2861C.....Valid Warrant hit, 10-61 please. ...The point being here is all the info needed to glom someones personal info for nefarious reasons has just been given and someone with not hornorable intent can (and has) used this info to open accounts,steal money and identity.
I DONT believe the departments are "trying to hide" things. In my area of service we have a "side band" (VHF simplex BS channel) that we use more than the actual Network Channel.Anything,including our off hand sarcasm can be heard there. Insofar as medical info, THAT (from scene to hospital ect) should be treated with just as much security as your conversation with your doctor and be secure and/or encrypted.
THAT said, I DO believe public access to Govt Radio is a valid and helpful thing and I cite many disasters,law events, BOLO events, ect. It is an INVALUABLE heads up tool when on the road as we all know 11 meter isnt as used as it once was. Many times,I never would have known about a wrong way driver on the highway if it wasnt for my ISPERN Radio so yes MOST radio traffic SHOULDNT be encrypted. And additionally, In DUPO IL (the example) the ability for the public to know ahead of time GREATLY advances survival and containment and coordinated help and evac. You can also cite the Plainfield Tornado where Ham operators and anyone else with a radio or scanner descended on the area locked it down and kept the fatality rate to about 26 people. I FIRMLY believe that had that radio traffic been encrypted, (The National Guard channel WAS) the damages,and fatalities would have been much higher and the rescue recovery effort would have been severely handicapped.
The REALITY of PSR Radio is about money. STARCOM (Illinois) IMO is useless.There is existing infrastructure (ESMARN,IREACH,ISPERN,NIFERN 1 and 2 and FIREGROUNDS and POINT TO POINT) that have been in use since 1971 that I can attest to. IMO there is NO NEED for a Berwyn (Illinois) police officer to have the ability to talk to Andy and Barney down in East St Louis as they sit infront of the station reading a paper.This was the argument made at several planning commission meetings. My ONLY compromise here is that the NETWORK should have basic MDC/ID security on it. (scrutinizer). Other than that it comes across as a city having a big fat check and Motorola circling like vultures with nifty new technology THAT DOESNT (and I can prove that) WORK.


I would have to research that but it is MEDICAL CONDTION REPORTING being given to MEDICAL persons for the purposes of Medical Treatment. It contains personal information. MERCI (medical) radio traffic can be "genrerally"
broadcast to the Trauma Unit.Happens all the time. The POINT here is the personal identifiers of the victim that should always be secured. Ill check with the Illinois EMS MERCI guide and a few friends I have there and get back to you on the HIPPA thing. Oh BTW my Merci ID is 2D477


YIKES! THe ECPA was a nightmare to read and grasp. In its most BASIC translation........

You cannot rebroadcast(Tell anyone) what you hear on PSR Radio. I know this will aggravate the youtube "news agency" people but its the law and has been enforced in incidents in Baltimore, Missouri and Minnesota. (later thrown out on 1st amendment arguments) Im not a purest here in any way. My car has 5 transmit capable radios ranging from Low band to "way up there" and yes it looks like a 4 wheeled porcupine. When Im active at an event,my vehicle gets a designation from on scene command until actual department radio command trucks arrive. Logs are kept(required) as are recordings(required departmentally) I have encounted countless hams,scanner people ,CB clubs ect on these scenes. I dont take the anti radio stance, I corral these good folks since they know the area far better than I do, coordinate an effort from them with Local Leo ect and we get things expedited. Ive always been a staunch supporter of this and I can go back as far as the Romeoville Refinery explosion for proof of this. Ill never forget the look of the Fire Chiefs face when I pulled up with the Porcupine and literally called in Chicago Fire Boats to that scene. Weeks later, the Chief organized a group of people like me to be ready in the event things went boom again. We were used 3 times after that event. As far as the ECPA....a good rule of thumb is "if you hear something DONT SAY ANYTHING....Kinda like me losing all my guns in that terrible fishing accident last week.......LOL


a Key device isnt cheap. FAILSAFE 3 (banned in the USA) is a AES/DES cracker.DO NOT GET CAUGHT WITH THIS unless you are a radio tech or shop or unless you have 10 years of your life you would care to share with a cell mate.


well when I actively monitor those baby monitors I CAN tell you all the babies on the block that suffer from gastro issues. LOL


and you will note with oh lets say broadcastify, there is a HUGE (up to a minute and a half) hang time before re broadcast. Im sure, in some dark red lit radio room in some small town a 400 pound "radio man" is running things thru a filter while downing twinkies and Mt Dew (LOL just imaging the image....)

WOW! Someone went off their meds.o_O
Oh, by the way, it's imagining the image (which is redundant). Or, maybe, better put, picturing the image.


Good Grief! What is in the water in Illinois??

And to think this all started with someone complaining about their county going quiet.
 

rescue161

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Back in the 1980's, I was a member of the Mt. Tabor Fire Department (Station 20) in Forsyth County. We were VHF (154.205) and used MT1000 radios and Minitor 1 & 2 pagers. We had a UHF MT500 in a Convert-A-Com in our main engine for inter-op with City Fire. We did not have any way of communicating with other agencies like the Sheriff or City Police as they were UHF. If we needed to talk to them, we went through Dispatch.

On a different note, there was a channel on the TV that rebroadcast the city police and fire and it scrolled public service announcements on the screen. I remember leaving that channel on in the background and playing Tempest. We had a Tempest arcade game in the basement of the fire station.
 

k4do

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