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Local Police frequencies now encrypted, yet media outlets have access?

Discussion in 'Scanning & Shortwave Listening' started by loosecannon, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. loosecannon

    loosecannon Sr. Member

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    Hi all,

    I am posting this in hopes of getting some inside info, or at least more learned perspectives.

    I live in Las Vegas, NV, and as of Feb. of this year (2018), i can no longer access the police channels on my scanner app.

    After finding a news article: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2018/feb/05/metro-puts-end-to-people-listening-in-on-police-ra/

    I have discovered that they encrypted their comms, and have been planning it for a couple of years now.
    (i have my suspicions about whether or not this is a reaction to the mass shooting that took place here on 10/1/2017)

    While this alone causes me much frustration as a hobbyist, the part that really gets me comes from the article i linked to.
    This sentence is the one that has me thinking: "Media outlets will continue to have access to Metro channels" police said.



    so, what device or decrypting software do "media outlets" have access to, and how can i become a "media outlet"?
    Heck, i can start a youtube channel and report on local events just like the big guys!

    so, does anyone in the industry or adjacent have any info on the tech involved in this?
    LC
     

  2. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Some departments have provided either a radio or the encryption key to bonafide media outlets if that outlet has a receiver capable or decrypting the comms. The key must be programmed into the radio by whomever looks after the police departments communications gear. the general public is SOL however.
     
  3. loosecannon

    loosecannon Sr. Member

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    Thanks for the reply CK.

    I was under the impression that there were such things as "public communications" and that because they are government employees; that their transmissions were a matter of public record.

    I wonder if some law changed, or if it was always about the cost of encryption as opposed to the risk of having them listened to.
    LC
     
    Shadetree Mechanic likes this.
  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    NOPE! As far as public safety comms are concerned you do not have the RIGHT to hear them only a privilege and that privilege can be revoked at any time. We had the same thing up here many years ago. people were yelling and screaming that they had a right to monitor the police to make sure they were on the up-and-up. LOL Like that was going to carry a lot of weight. Same thing now that RCMP do not release the name of someone killed in an accident or house fire etc. People again claimed they had a right to know. Well they still find out just not from an RCMP spokesperson. There is no NEED to hear public safety just a sense of nosiness IMHO and YES I am a tad nosy when it comes to that myself. LOL
     
  5. loosecannon

    loosecannon Sr. Member

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    yep, always been just nosiness for me also LOL.

    I guess it's time to look into what sort of shenanigans the scanner listening community is getting into in order to get around the encryption.

    something tells me there's a bit more to it these days than when it was just a competition between the radar guns and the radar detectors.
    LC
     
  6. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    They are not getting around it. It is a rolling encryption code that can change at any time. It might change a couple times a day or even a couple times an hour whatever the software is programmed to do.
     
    loosecannon likes this.
  7. CDX8412

    CDX8412 Active Member

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    There was a story some years ago about a Sheriff’s Dept in Florida (IIRC) that had provided a radio to a local media outlet, so they could monitor the encrypted police activity and report it. At some point, the Sheriff’s Dept got p*ssed at the media outlet for some reporting they did on the agency, and took the radio away from the media outlet.

    This is a dangerous precedent being set across the U.S. as law enforcement agencies begin to operate outside of the the public view, and are able to determine that only “friendly” media outlets will be given privilege to monitor.

    I am a former LEO, and I am strictly opposed to encrypting public safety transmissions, or at the very least, encrypting dispatch transmissions. This is not simply about a scanner enthusiast losing his/her ability to monitor police traffic, but more seriously about the public losing it’s control over our governmental agencies.
     
    N0NB and Shadetree Mechanic like this.
  8. Shadetree Mechanic

    Shadetree Mechanic 808 On The North Side of Dover

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    I wonder if the freedom of information act can be applied to this?
     
  9. Handy Andy

    Handy Andy Do Your Research First, Then Decide...

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    I can see both side of this...both are not good.

    Use to live by a farm that used Migrant workers to tend the fields.

    Cops would "Double-up" patrols during seasons like planting and harvesting due to the nature of the beast.

    And of course, you have the clowns that use Scanners as a means to "locate" prey/story/nightcrawler affairs as a means to follow up on incidents.

    With the advent of cell phone usage and cameras rolling on the family iPhone - it's harder to "do your job" when there are those that stalk you as you work. Can't testify against yourself.

    A lot of these incidents are a can-of-worms waiting to be opened. You know the rest.

    Scanners used to be illegal to use like radar detectors - used to thwart and evade laws and the enforcement - we already know now how that turned out. Might as well use the ol' Uniden K-Band to tell the ladies at the Wendys' Drive Thru window that "Your Microwave is on". There is so much noise these days that it is not as hard as it once was to jam conversations. Now with encryption as well as CTSS-based systems - as long as a carrier and the PL tone gets thru that used to be enough - now they have to step-up the fight to thwart the efforts that other groups (read HATE) that try to discredit enforcement as well as use scanner as a means to track them - preventing detection.

    Then there is a issue of Social-Media and it's role in this whole mess.

    It's gonna' get worse folks - before it gets' any better.
    Regards!
    :+> Andy <+:
     

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