P D encrypting radio traffic as scanner technology proliferates. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ronduke
11-21-2011, 16:11
Police departments around the country are working to shield their radio communications from the public as cheap, user-friendly technology has made it easy for anyone to use handheld devices to keep tabs on officers responding to crimes.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/headlines/20111121-police-departments-encrypting-radio-traffic-as-scanner-technology-proliferates.ece


Here is an example where a citizen with a scanner was a huge help to law enforcement.
http://www.kltv.com/story/4675032/details-unfold-of-dps-trooper-shot?redirected=true

ateamer
11-21-2011, 16:22
All of our radio traffic should be encrypted at all times. There is no valid reason to have it available for anyone to listen to.

Sharky7
11-21-2011, 16:38
Iphone even has some apps now you can get to monitor police channels. Can you imagine - bad guy is on a traffic stop so they download the app and start listening to the channel of the agency who has them stopped. Find out they have a suspended license or warrant and decide to flee. Or hears officer calling for a K-9 car and they know they have a load of dope. No, thanks.

I even think FOIA should be more restricted with access. There's no reason that if you get arrested and your nosey neighbor wants to do a FOIA request, he should be able to get access to all of the reports relating to your home for the last 30 years. Citizens should have some sort of privacy and confidence they can speak with the police and it not become public knowledge. It's ridiculous.

We are opening up way too much information to be used by criminals to help prevent apprehension or used to attack officers. People can FOIA training records and pamphlets, tactical training information, etc.

DaBigBR
11-21-2011, 17:34
On our countywide system only the two operations talkgroups are unencrypted. The information talkgroup and all of the tactical ("event") talkgroups are encypted. That decision was made consciously to try and limit FOIA requests by providing some traffic over the air. There are also some limited reliability issues with encryption where we will occasionally have transmissions either fail to encrypt or fail to decrypt and come across as a garbled mess. Few and far between, but worth considering

CAcop
11-21-2011, 19:50
I am shocked that people don't want it to be scrambled. Names, dobs, DL, address, phone number all being broadcast to every clown in the county with a scanner.

Big House
11-21-2011, 21:00
I am shocked that people don't want it to be scrambled. Names, dobs, DL, address, phone number all being broadcast to every clown in the county with a scanner.

I'm one of those clowns. :tongueout:

If I'm not mistaken, in 1934 congress made the air waves PUBLIC.

swinokur
11-21-2011, 21:22
DC is doing this now.

The news media are screaming because they use scanners in the newsroom.

CAcop
11-21-2011, 22:17
I'm one of those clowns. :tongueout:

If I'm not mistaken, in 1934 congress made the air waves PUBLIC.

Since it is public you can broadcast on my channel?

361cop
11-21-2011, 22:21
We are using encrypted 800 mhz.

blueiron
11-21-2011, 22:23
Since it is public you can broadcast on my channel?


The USSC has ruled that citizens have the right to monitor to public safety radio broadcasts. The analogy is not quite there.

It is a moot point for many, since MDT/MDC traffic handles most personal information transfers.

m2hmghb
11-21-2011, 22:28
The USSC has ruled that citizens have the right to monitor to public safety radio broadcasts. The analogy is not quite there.

It is a moot point for many, since MDT/MDC traffic handles most personal information transfers.

This is true but they haven't specified what kinds and how often they have the right to monitor.

msu_grad_121
11-21-2011, 22:39
Iphone even has some apps now you can get to monitor police channels. Can you imagine - bad guy is on a traffic stop so they download the app and start listening to the channel of the agency who has them stopped. Find out they have a suspended license or warrant and decide to flee. Or hears officer calling for a K-9 car and they know they have a load of dope. No, thanks.

As I understand it, both the iPhone and Android apps have a built in delay of at least a minute to prevent that exact thing. If it's true, that's one bit of clarity I didn't honestly see coming out of the tech.

It always made me laugh hearing a DPD unit come over the air and say "XXX to radio, take us out of repeat for zone clearance," and then you'd only hear the dispatcher talking for a minute. Weird!

blueiron
11-21-2011, 22:45
This is true but they haven't specified what kinds and how often they have the right to monitor.

Actually, they have. If it is broadcast on the public radio spectrum, other than cellular frequencies where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it is fair game. This includes military, Federal, intelligence, and other broadcasts.

It is the responsibility of the agency to obscure their radio traffic if they expect confidentiality.

Look up the Federal Communications Act of 1934 and its amendments of 1996 and 2002.

m2hmghb
11-21-2011, 22:54
Actually, they have. If it is broadcast on the public radio spectrum, other than cellular frequencies where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it is fair game. This includes military, Federal, intelligence, and other broadcasts.

It is the responsibility of the agency to obscure their radio traffic if they expect confidentiality.

Look up the Federal Communications Act of 1934 and its amendments of 1996 and 2002.

Interesting. Thanks for the information.

CAcop
11-21-2011, 23:06
The USSC has ruled that citizens have the right to monitor to public safety radio broadcasts. The analogy is not quite there.

It is a moot point for many, since MDT/MDC traffic handles most personal information transfers.

We have MDTs and to be honest very little goes over that. Mostly because we are rarely near our MDTs and even if we are it isn't safe to be gawking at it.

Also they have been hacked. There was a thread hear several years ago that a hacker group posted texts between officers in St. Louis IIRC. Some of it was pretty funny. I remember one said something like, "Hey, I saw you come in for work tonight. You looked pretty good in that T-shirt. Want to meet up after work?" Priceless.

jhooten
11-22-2011, 07:22
Be honest now. Are you really concerned about the privacy of the citizens information or the inappropriate comments about the hot blonde with the big boobs you just let slip out?

ateamer
11-22-2011, 12:21
Be honest now. Are you really concerned about the privacy of the citizens information or the inappropriate comments about the hot blonde with the big boobs you just let slip out?
I don't know about your department, but around here, we don't make comments like that over the radio. And anyone who is smart doesn't write stuff like that on the MDC either, because it's pretty well-known that IA, the patrol lieutenants and the chief deputy review MDC messages at random to make sure policies are being followed.

msu_grad_121
11-22-2011, 12:38
I don't know about your department, but around here, we don't make comments like that over the radio. And anyone who is smart doesn't write stuff like that on the MDC either, because it's pretty well-known that IA, the patrol lieutenants and the chief deputy review MDC messages at random to make sure policies are being followed.

Personally, I'd be more worried about the fact that (at least in MI), MDC messages can be FOIA'd for like, 7 years. I'd really hate for something stupid I said in 2004 to bite me on the keister...

Denikes
11-22-2011, 12:42
I don't know about your department, but around here, we don't make comments like that over the radio. And anyone who is smart doesn't write stuff like that on the MDC either, because it's pretty well-known that IA, the patrol lieutenants and the chief deputy review MDC messages at random to make sure policies are being followed.

It is really funny when the not-so-smart still but no-no material out over the MDTs and get in trouble over it. Idiots.

ateamer
11-22-2011, 12:55
The MDC is the same as in person: Everything is recorded, and before you write, say or do something, ask yourself if you would want it to be on CNN, Fox and YouTube tomorrow.

CAcop
11-22-2011, 15:16
Be honest now. Are you really concerned about the privacy of the citizens information or the inappropriate comments about the hot blonde with the big boobs you just let slip out?

I don't say anything over the air that my chief wouldn't be okay with. There have been a few cities over the years having their licenses yanked by the FCC for stupid ****.

Now if you are concerned about openess give me your info and I'll broadcast your personal info tomorrow.

People have right to know but they often don't need to know. We do not exist to entertain nosy busybodies. If you are that bored go rent a video.

jhooten
11-22-2011, 15:46
I don't know about your department,

The clue is in the sig.

GackMan
11-23-2011, 00:02
Be honest now. Are you really concerned about the privacy of the citizens information or the inappropriate comments about the hot blonde with the big boobs you just let slip out?

The radio transmissions are recorded and recordings can be produced upon demand after the fact. That doesn't change with encryption. :dunno:

rookie1
11-23-2011, 00:47
I don't know about your department, but around here, we don't make comments like that over the radio. And anyone who is smart doesn't write stuff like that on the MDC either, because it's pretty well-known that IA, the patrol lieutenants and the chief deputy review MDC messages at random to make sure policies are being followed.

A officer got in some hot water about his messages that were typed to other officers when a S hole was on fire and he said something similar to "the fire trucks can take their time". The messages do get checked. I went to the academy with some Campus cops and his boss made a comment that he talks to us city guys a lot, and he now knows all the good places to eat. If someone says something questionable to me I dont respond in case it get visited later.

The-Fly
11-23-2011, 01:51
I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I totally understand and respect the need to keep dirtbags from snooping in on what you guys are saying over the air.

On the other hand, I also think its important that there's a certain degree of transparency to law enforcement, so that the public doesn't feel LE is "hiding" anything from them.

I think its a balancing act, and I have no idea where the right balance is.

Sharky7
11-23-2011, 02:23
I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I totally understand and respect the need to keep dirtbags from snooping in on what you guys are saying over the air.

On the other hand, I also think its important that there's a certain degree of transparency to law enforcement, so that the public doesn't feel LE is "hiding" anything from them.

I think its a balancing act, and I have no idea where the right balance is.

I personally think the right balance should be that the channels are encrypted and unable to be listed to "live." But, I think all radio traffic should be stored/saved (which is already common in most places). If you are charged with a crime, you are able to get a copy of the radio transmission through discovery or a court order if you wish.

cowboywannabe
11-23-2011, 02:30
scramble makes everybody sound like donald duck.

Sharky7
11-23-2011, 02:44
scramble makes everybody sound like donald duck.

Does that mean I don't have to wear pants either?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7sYndsMOpn8/Thv_MeLCs5I/AAAAAAAAAA0/Ye0z3n8nZfU/s1600/cartoons-donald-duck.gif

cowboywannabe
11-23-2011, 02:54
Does that mean I don't have to wear pants either?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7sYndsMOpn8/Thv_MeLCs5I/AAAAAAAAAA0/Ye0z3n8nZfU/s1600/cartoons-donald-duck.gif

:rofl::rofl::rofl: whatever floats your boat sailor boy...:tongueout:

MB-G26
11-23-2011, 05:21
I don't have a 'home scanner' type thing, but I do frequently listen to local LE/FD/EMS radio traffic via a website that 'feeds' some through.

I don't do it to be "nosy" on a wholesale basis, but DO tend to tune in when there is obviously a 'lot of something' going on nearby. Primarily I listen during times of bad weather, or when it's been open air audibly busy out there, and/or if I need to venture to a different part of town beyond my usual one half to one mile radius.

It's really very handy to be able, real-time, to avoid a certain travel direction or specific roadway/intersection due to an ongoing incident, for example. One might consider that it is not a BAD thing to have people intentionally staying away from a business area or neighborhood during an ongoing fire dept. response, or to avoid using a certain intersection and surrounding area that is closed down due to MVA and whatnot.

Honestly, I pay no attention to the finer, personal points of whatever people are involved, but I don't see how it does any responders any good to have people in the way/congesting an area that they are working, and I don't really agree that civilians should not be allowed real-time access to info which indicates locations that should be avoided.

It's pretty nifty to NOT have to end up 'x' amount of time stuck in traffic congestion that could have otherwise been avoided, or 'x' amount LATE for an appointment or getting out of town for a trip w/a destination for which travel time matters. It's pretty helpful to be able to learn that Interstate 17 has just been shut down due to semi-roll over, or similar. In the longer term, MVAs and closures sometimes appear on the DOT roadway monitoring website - but I've found ours to be far from timely or complete.

No doubt there are the newsies and those who like to gather and gawk, and worse, at something going on. But there really are a lot of us out here who greatly appreciate the opportunity to avoid problem areas - and to that extent, I'd think the less non-responders 'under foot' the better?

RetailNinja
11-23-2011, 06:24
I have the scanner app for my Android phone. Pretty neat tool to have as we can only scan everything or nothing on our portables. It's nice to hear what fire and EMS are doing in real time w/o having to listen to the do nothings babble about doing nothing on the far side of the county.

That said, I hate scanners because almost every mope in the county has a friend with a scanner and uses them to commit felonies including obstructing justice and aiding and abetting a fugitive.

CAcop
11-23-2011, 07:55
A officer got in some hot water about his messages that were typed to other officers when a S hole was on fire and he said something similar to "the fire trucks can take their time". The messages do get checked. I went to the academy with some Campus cops and his boss made a comment that he talks to us city guys a lot, and he now knows all the good places to eat. If someone says something questionable to me I dont respond in case it get visited later.

When our county first got MDTs a local agency that is mostly Hispanic (mostly Mexican) patrolling a mostly Hispanic (mostly Mexican) city was throwing out all kinds of racial stuff on the MDTs. People got talked to not fired mostly because it was stuff like black rappers calling each other the n-word.

We on the other hand rarely said anything on our MDTS unless it was something like, "There is cake in records."

CitizenOfDreams
11-23-2011, 08:29
Does that mean I don't have to wear pants either?


As long as you wear your hat. :wavey:

jhooten
11-23-2011, 11:33
The radio transmissions are recorded and recordings can be produced upon demand after the fact. That doesn't change with encryption. :dunno:

For the majority of my 20 I was the communications guy. I was able to obtain surplus recording equipment from another agency, install, and test it. The union raised "objections' to the radio system being recorded. The equipment was removed. Not all agencies record.

The officers knew this and many of them pushed the envelope to the limits.

AND, to those of you with I-Call on your system the calls are not really private.

Oh, to the supervisors who have ALLCALL/Announcement in your radio, make sure you are not in ALLCALL when you start talking trash about the warden/chief/or management in general.

Jeremy_K
11-23-2011, 11:53
As I understand it, both the iPhone and Android apps have a built in delay of at least a minute to prevent that exact thing. If it's true, that's one bit of clarity I didn't honestly see coming out of the tech.

It always made me laugh hearing a DPD unit come over the air and say "XXX to radio, take us out of repeat for zone clearance," and then you'd only hear the dispatcher talking for a minute. Weird!

The delay on the Droid app is about 30 seconds. I was listening to the county dispatch on our rescue truck one day just to see how long the delay was. I listen to the Sheriff dispatch once in a while but I can only vaguely make out what they're actually doing due to the codes they use. Fire and EMS dispatch usually switch over to a Tac frequency once on scene which the Droid scanner won't pick up.
The funniest Sheriff dispatch I heard recently was for a robot in the middle of the road surrounded by about 100 beer bottles:rofl:.

Sharky7
11-23-2011, 11:57
Oh, to the supervisors who have ALLCALL/Announcement in your radio, make sure you are not in ALLCALL when you start talking trash about the warden/chief/or management in general.


Anyone who says something over the radio or MDT they want to keep private ain't too bright. Even saying something face to face isn't always safe anymore - you have to worry about one of your other officers accidentally leaving his mic and camera on.

ateamer
11-23-2011, 14:07
scramble makes everybody sound like donald duck.
The old voice inversion scramblers did. Modern digital encryption doesn't really sound like anything, just static.

fla2760
11-23-2011, 17:01
I know that some agencies encrypt talkgroups or frequencies that are used for swat,vice,narco,ncic, and tac channels while leaving primary dispatch in the clear. The scanner streams on the web can be delayed from a minute up to an hour depending how the host sets it up. The press use scanners at least they do in nyc.

swinokur
11-23-2011, 18:21
Ask the the LA cop who typed "Gorillas in the mist" on his MDT


Felony stupid as Issa says.

Didnt end well. For him

jhooten
11-23-2011, 18:30
It was "Burn Baby Burn" on the MDT that got some Austin PD officers in hot water.

AngryBassets
11-23-2011, 20:48
Be honest now. Are you really concerned about the privacy of the citizens information or the inappropriate comments about the hot blonde with the big boobs you just let slip out?

Both. :wavey:


We on the other hand rarely said anything on our MDTS unless it was something like, "There is cake in records."

Certain squads really get carried away with the Announce feature (group chat) on our MDTs. It's really funny stuff, though.

Ask the the LA cop who typed "Gorillas in the mist" on his MDT

Didnt end well. For him

I still use that as an example.

WarCry
11-24-2011, 00:26
Our local PD uses the radio - unencrypted - for general traffic, reading tags and license info on traffic stops, for instance. They use the MDTs for more internal, conversational types of communications. And if/when they need to share info that's not seen or heard by anyone, they use cell phones. The officers will get MDT messages telling them to call the desk Sgt, dispatch, whatever.

Seems to work around here to keep the POSs from knowing what's going on.

Hack
11-24-2011, 09:19
It was "Burn Baby Burn" on the MDT that got some Austin PD officers in hot water.

On a side note, I was wondering about one thing in your sig line. 8 day survivor?

jhooten
11-24-2011, 15:06
I gave them 8 days more than the required 20 to go out at the end of the month. I was 8 of the most difficult days of my life up to that point.

WilyCoyote
11-24-2011, 17:05
people can listen all they want, but we dont have to broadcast unencypted...the MDT messages "hacked" were probably just obtained by public request...our local newspaper periodically requests MDT message traffic over certain time frames looking for the next big scoup. Ofc safety issues used to be easier with radio codes, but they did away with that with all the new ICS bull**** and we have to use 'common language' on the radio now. (sigh)

Big House
11-25-2011, 11:08
CAcop, just for you. I ran interference for the wife last night. Stayed home and listened to the scanner while the wife went shopping. Relayed to her which stores and isles to avoid because of fights. Saved her a lot of headaches.

Medic3166
11-25-2011, 11:54
AND, to those of you with I-Call on your system the calls are not really private.


It gets pretty interesting to hear an I-Call conversation pop up on the scanner... Most of the time it's just chatter, but a lot of guys forget that a scanner can listen to these.

Morris
11-25-2011, 14:15
Keep your radio and MDT traffic brief and professional and you have very little to worry about. Jackwagons will bolt whether they have a scanner or not.

Texas357
11-27-2011, 23:48
Our local PD only uses encrypted for 2 groups: the Juvenile Enforcement guys, and I think SWAT. Other than that, just digital trunking, same system shared by other city departments (but different talkgroups of course).

And several of them did get in trouble back in the 90s, not realizing their in-car text messaging system gets logged.

mrsurfboard
11-28-2011, 01:20
My department runs "secure" 24/7. Drives the volunteer Fire and EMS nuts that they can't listen in, oh well.

TexasSchool Cop
11-28-2011, 07:33
All 3 of my talkgroups are encrypted. It was so bad that before we switched systems, the media would hear a call and be calling wanting details before the officers even arrived. Nice peace and quite. Ahhhhh

Morris
11-28-2011, 08:02
Hell, I'd be happy to have a clear radio signal that worked half the time.

blueberry1177
11-28-2011, 22:41
What happened to the laws that make it a felony to be in possession of a radio receiving device capable of public safety freqs to aid in the commision of a crime?!?!?!?!

I think the Iphone/Droid apps need to have more of a delay, I tested my friends iphone with my prep once and it was within a few seconds. We all know our new fancy digital system has a delay on it as it is between the preps and in car radios.

It'll be interesting to see how things unfold over the next few years needless to say

MB-G26
11-28-2011, 23:33
Now if you are concerned about openess give me your info and I'll broadcast your personal info tomorrow.

Jenny .....867 - 5309.........


:tongueout:

steveksux
11-29-2011, 18:55
I just found an android app the last week or so that does that.

Not as interesting as you might think, I'm sure they have the good stuff unavailable though..

Randy

LAWDOGKMS
11-29-2011, 19:19
My problem, as the leader of a warrant squad has been the media showing up in the middle of surveillance....almost took a reporter to jail a few weeks ago for this exact thing.. The local media has scanners in their news room..

To avoid this, we have gone-digital and they have not caught on, or don't have the capability yet..