Search

Title

Author

Manager


Manager - AB7RG
Manager Notes

FirstNet

Created by on 2019-10-04

https://komonews.com/news/local/high-speed-network-for-first-responders-raises-concerns

While I can understand the need for officer safety, the article does state that almost all the departments are using encryption. Two quotes from the article:

"The network is secure, encrypted and off limits to the public."

"There's already a trend toward silencing police radios for the public. A growing number of agencies, including Anchorage police, have cut access to scanner radio traffic, citing safety concerns."

Since the network operates on cellular frequencies it would be off limits to the public to listen in on so this article states the obvious. Even non-hams know this.

Based on what I've read and only based on what I've read, your average non-law abiding citizen won't have a scanner, so for me this seems a bit thin.

A lot of departments especially in small towns are still using analog. It's an identity thief's dream. Name, address, DOB, Social...all over the air in the clear. For that, I can see the need for encryption, as well as situations where say you're dealing with a hostage situation and lives are at risk.

In my opinion (everyone has one right?) the game changer is smartphones and scanner apps as well as sites that stream scanner traffic over the web. A lot of these apps and sites delay the traffic by one or two hours (as an example) to help keep first responders safe. To me, that strikes the perfect balance in first responder protection and the need for public access.

I remember old television shows like Adam 12 and Emergency! where radio traffic was done in the clear. Now, with HIPAA, such things would be legally impossible. So, on one side of the fence, I'm for the privacy aspect of the encryption debate. On the other side of the fence, I'm against it and lean towards accountability and transparency.

Thoughts? Comments?
I'd like to know what others think.

ND6M 2019-10-24
FirstNet
Just exactly what does HIPPA have to do with this?

You have the tail wagging the dog.
AA4MB 2019-10-16
RE: FirstNet
Many years ago, when I was in my early 20's, I was listening to my scanner when a local police officer was shot in the face while sitting in his car (by someone I graduated high school with ... how's that for coincidence?) - I heard his partner screaming and basically going berserk from the passenger's seat ... she was unable to form a coherent thought or communicate properly. That's understandable, but I wasn't prepared to hear it. A couple of years after that I was listening to the scanner and heard two officers make the scene at a house to investigate a relatively minor crime - only to be jumped by the seven men in the house. One got away with a facial gunshot wound and the other was taken hostage. I listed as on the open airwaves as a guy who was clearly unhinged from any sort of reality raged and shrieked at the world while the officer begged for help. This went on for a few hours until the officer's handheld radio battery went dead. The officer was tortured and died - as did the seven occupants when the SWAT team finally got the go-ahead to go in the next day. The day after that, I unplugged my scanner and put it on the closet shelf for years ... those two incidents were enough. I didn't have PTSD or anything - but I was certainly traumatized to some extent. (who'd have thought I'd end up in law enforcement?)

I'm not using that as a reason to encrypt or hide communications, but just to illustrate what I personally went through early in life.
WA9WSJ 2019-10-12
RE: FirstNet
W5GNB...You are right, there are occasions that funny stuff is heard. Quite some time ago, years, I heard the following: Two units were looking for a guy, OFCR1 says" he's not at this address but may be at such and such", OFCR2 responds, "How do you know that?", OFCR1 answers "I asked the neighbor lady next door". OFCR2 answers, "You could be a detective", OFCR1 answers, "Naw I don't look good in a suit". OFCR2 answers, "Neither do some of the detectives"!

But to the article, IMHO, there needs to be a fair balance, safety for the officers but not to the point where they hide from accountability. Many great comments in the other threads...73
WA9WSJ 2019-10-12
RE: FirstNet
You are right, there are occasions that funny stuff is heard. Quite some time ago, years, I heard the following: Two units were looking for a guy, OFCR1 says" he's not at this address but may be at such and such", OFCR2 responds, "How do you know that?", OFCR1 answers "I asked the neighbor lady next door". OFCR2 answers, "You could be a detective", OFCR1 answers, "Naw I don't look good in a suit". OFCR2 answers, "Neither do some of the detectives"!

But to the article, IMHO, there needs to be a fair balance, safety for the officers but not to the point where they hide from accountability. Many great comments in the other threads...73
KA7EKW 2019-10-12
RE: FirstNet
KC7MF said: "Not only is the press there to protect the people's right to know . . ."

Would that be the same press that promoted the whole "hands up, don't shoot" scam? The press that told us how George Zimmerman was a racist murderer (yet somehow missed the fact that he was a "Progressive" activist who was best known for having attacked the local cops over their treatment of black people)? The press that has somehow manages to stuff politics into every story they cover?

Yeah, we can sure trust them to tell us what all of the sirens that just went past were all about! NOT!

And those of us in rural areas would be astonished to see any representative of the Six O'clock Follies go through at any speed not above the posted limit, so we're not going to find out from them what's happening with 50 miles of here unless we find out for ourselves.

Lessee, in the last month, within a 10-mile radius of my home, we have had a 6-car pileup (visible from my windows), a guy who tried to shoot a couple of deputies (who were better shots than he was), a major fire that took out homes, a couple of searches for missing kids, a capsized boat, and a guy who was breaking into people's houses. In most of those cases, local scanner owners and their neighbors were able to assist the Sheriff's Office (sometimes arriving before the deputies made their 20-minute trips from other areas). The burglar was spotted about 5 minutes after his description was read over the air, and the woman who spotted him kept eyes on until the deputies arrived.

Dunno about you, but the parents of those kids were glad that people heard about the searches and came to help.

Funny thing, though . . .nobody from the media ever showed up.

. . .except me, the former shooter for three of the four news networks . . .
KD7YVV 2019-10-11
RE: FirstNet
AA4MB,
First off, thank you for your service.
I have a few friends in law enforcement that I've known
for decades and I remember being able to tune into the
local PD frequency on a radio shack radio.
Every radio shack knew the local PD/Fire frequencies
and you used to be able to go in and get a list of them.
I do understand both sides of the issue.

The encryption helps solve some of the problems with
HIPAA, and helps keep personally identifying information
off the air. It also helps with officer safety while
conducting potentially dangerous operations such as
apprehending an armed suspect or SWAT situation.

First, communications were in the clear, then trunking
systems came about which rendered regular scanners
useless. Then trunking scanners came out and people
could again listen in.

Then you had voice inversion, where everything sounded
like Donald Duck on helium talking on SSB.
A system came about to defeat that too.

Then you had mobile data terminals, and people
figured out how to read that information too.

Now with encryption, the DCMA if I am not mistaken
makes it illegal for anyone to break that encryption.

I do agree with you that having every Tom, Dick, and
Harry show up at a scene is not a good thing and
it is my own opinion, but such people should be
charged with interfering with an officer in the
performance of his/her duty, even if they are related
to the accident victim etc.
At no time should the general public be showing up
at an active incident. That's my take.

So the question becomes, where is the balance?
How do you keep the public informed, and keep our
public servants safe, AND comply with HIPAA?
Pick any two. Picking the first two, you can stream
to a server and delay the audio for a couple of
hours. Unfortunately, there's no way to deal with
the HIPAA issue by doing this.

There are many older people who do like to listen
in an it is a source of enjoyment for them.
It's a shame that what was once a nice, simple hobby
that some people enjoy has become such a complicated
mess. Unfortunately, that's the world we live in.
KT4NR 2019-10-11
RE: FirstNet
K8QV: Simple because the radio emissions also cross international borders. Back in the day before any country regulated radio it was a mess. Broadcasters and hams and other experimenters all sharing spectrum essentially keying down over each other. The power arms race was needed simply to be heard.

By regulating and being a traffic cop this was sorted out with a few exceptions (40m in Region 2 anyone?)

If you want to learn more about this read 200 Meters and Down a technology and ham radio classic.
AA4MB 2019-10-10
FirstNet
KT4NR is focusing on the title only - FirstNet. He did a good job giving a synopsis of what FirstNet really is. "All FirstNet does is help identify, prioritize, and move traffic between public safety professionals who are registered on the system over cellular networks." That has always been my impression as to what FirstNet was; a way for folks with a need to communicate to be able to prioritize that ability on existing public service telephone networks - plain and simple. If that is all that it is, then folks should immediately be up in arms about first responders using anything but analog VHF/UHF to communicate any darned thing. The inference is that FirstNet is 'secure,' 'private' yada yada. Can someone in the cellular industry reading this in silence please chime in and answer the following: Are normal cellular conversations secured and encrypted? If that is the case, then KOMONews is (as so much of media does) speaking about something not very well referenced. Also, can anyone with firsthand knowledge confirm that FirstNet is only what several of us believe that it is?

I think the reason this went so many directions was due to George's original questions, apparently taken out of the articles referenced (thanks a ton for including those).

N9CQC: correct, sir. I was tired from a late shift and was thinking PII (personally identifiable information) and bablled HIPPA because I'd seen it mentioned. Governmental entities have been going nuts redacting such in the last few years - for good reason. Many legal documents which you may view at your leisure by sashaying into your local state or federal courthouse formerly had social security numbers and names of minor children in certain relevant documents.Those are being redacted in most cases now, and they should be in ALL cases. I do believe you are correct and there are very specific entities exempt from having to worry about inadvertent medical information disclosure. We don't talk about medical condition on my agencies airwaves - probably because we don't want to endure a lawsuit even though we might prevail. As to your comment about entities sending radio waves through your home and person and you aren't allowed to intercept and interpret the signal ... yeah, I think I've had the same conversations after a few beers with friends. :)

K9MHZ: As usual, you're quite correct. There simply is no 'constitutional' issue here at all. I said what I did to establish that I was not a jackbooted thug, whether I have a uniform on or not. People do have certain rights which should always be respected. There are several laws that may come about in our short to medium term future which I will have a tough time reconciling with the need to enforce them. At that time, I'll probably say goodbye to my LEO career.

> "If something went forward to the Supreme Court that a bunch of radio nerds are PO'd that they can't listen to their first responders and law enforcement on their scanners, they'd laugh the case out of the court and never hear arguments." Good Lord you'd certainly hope so, but I've seen some head scratchers from the supremes in the last decade or so that make me wonder. A number of years ago, Radio Shack sued Auto Shack - even though there were very few items they had in common and nobody - and I mean nobody - ever confused the two. Auto Shack lost and became Auto Zone after that. So, weirdness and inexplicability can rule after all.


K8QV: "I have also wondered why governments act as if they "own" the radio part of the spectrum and get to regulate and parse it out to the highest bidders. It's just frequency, like light. Making laws regarding use of radio frequencies are no different than making laws regarding the visible light spectrum; "Blue may be used only by X corporation and red is reserved for government use."

The easy answer is, because they SAY they 'own' it. :) Of course, this sort of ignores the fact that there would be anarchy on the airwaves if they weren't owned by someone and regulated to a great extent. I always thought it was interesting that in different countries, wildly different entities regulate radio as opposed to here. Oh, and the visible light spectrum is already regulated to some extent. In my state it's now illegal to have any colored light on the front of your car other than white or amber. ;)
K8QV 2019-10-10
RE: FirstNet
<<< "I know this is a little "out there" but I've always wondered why an entity (government, private, commercial) was permitted to generate RF energy and send it randomly through the air to pass through my home and my very person without my permission, yet I can violate the law by intercepting and interpreting this signal." >>>

I have also wondered why governments act as if they "own" the radio part of the spectrum and get to regulate and parse it out to the highest bidders. It's just frequency, like light. Making laws regarding use of radio frequencies are no different than making laws regarding the visible light spectrum; "Blue may be used only by X corporation and red is reserved for government use."
N9CQC 2019-10-10
FirstNet
I know this is a little "out there" but I've always wondered why an entity (government, private, commercial) was permitted to generate RF energy and send it randomly through the air to pass through my home and my very person without my permission, yet I can violate the law by intercepting and interpreting this signal.

I know it's a non-starter as an argument but I've always found it curious.
NA4IT 2019-10-10
FirstNet
From https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/interception-and-divulgence-radio-communications .

Federal and state laws make intercepting and divulging radio communications illegal and punishable by severe criminal penalties, with certain exceptions.
What kinds of interception and divulgence of radio transmissions are legal?

The FCC and the Communications Act do not forbid certain types of interception and disclosure of radio communications, including:

Mere interception of radio communications, such as overhearing your neighbor’s conversation over a cordless telephone, or listening to emergency service reports on a radio scanner (although intercepting and/or recording telephone-related radio communications may be a violation of other federal or state laws).
Divulgence of certain radio communications that were transmitted for use by the public (such as over-the-air radio and television broadcasts).
Divulgence of broadcasts related to ships, aircraft, vehicles or persons in distress.
Divulgence of transmissions by amateur radio or citizen band radio operators.

What kinds of interception and divulgence are prohibited?

The Communications Act prohibits a person from using an intercepted radio communication for his or her own benefit. Examples of this include:

A taxicab company intercepting radio communications between dispatchers and drivers of a rival company to gain competitive advantages.
Unauthorized interception of signals from pay television services, such as cable or satellite.
A person selling or publishing a recording or contents of someone else’s wireless phone conversation.

What about equipment used to intercept radio communications?

The Communications Act prohibits the FCC from authorizing radio scanning equipment that:

Can receive transmissions in the frequencies allocated to domestic cellular services.
Can readily be altered by the user to intercept cellular communications.
May be modified to convert digital transmissions to analog voice audio.

It is illegal to manufacture, import, sell or lease such unauthorized equipment in the United States.
K9MHZ 2019-10-09
RE: FirstNet
"Having said all of that, the other side of the argument has plenty of validity. I believe in a free and transparent republic based upon constitutional law. I'm just trying to present the other side and it rapidly gets into quite a few gray areas. This is an issue when so many laws are passed for so many things that they begin to conflict with each other - or the constitution."

MB...sorry for this snippet of your longer reply above, just wanted to touch on this, since "the Constitution" gets thrown around quite a bit when someone wants to build a case about something. Often though, it's quite a stretch....every night in fact, on every network's news. "Constitutional right to an abortion," "Constitutional right to know," "Constitutional right to health care," and on and on it goes. The Bill of Rights guarantees NONE of these. If something went forward to the Supreme Court that a bunch of radio nerds are PO'd that they can't listen to their first responders and law enforcement on their scanners, they'd laugh the case out of the court and never hear arguments.

There is NO legal precedent or Constitutional guarantee that you should be allowed to listen to anything, anytime. Localities could conversely make a very strong case that allowing open, unfettered monitoring would jeopardize responders' safety and serves no compelling community interest.

This does dabble into the world of whackerdom, which ham radio has dealt with for a long time, and not exactly a positive representation of us as a community.

Sorry, I just don't see an unconstitutional side of any of this, and don't agree at all that nerds and dorks with scanners have any God-given endowment to listen to anything they want.
N9CQC 2019-10-09
RE: FirstNet
I keep hearing several references to HIPAA. HIPAA only applies to very well defined covered entities and law enforcement agencies are not included.
KT4NR 2019-10-09
FirstNet
Well the post has things going all over the place so let's focus on the title shall we.

Cellular congestion is a common problem many of us have had. You go to use your smart device when at a concert, a parade, a large public gathering and the internet is slow or the call doesn't go through. This is one solution to that problem. Nothing more.

FirstNet is in place so that in very congested cellular communications environments (not just big cities but anywhere people are using smartphones to suck down more bandwidth than is available) public safety professionals still need to talk to each other via phone or send data traffic. All FirstNet does is help identify, prioritize, and move traffic between public safety professionals who are registered on the system over cellular networks. Plain and simple.

Further, FirstNet also is charged with providing rapid support to disaster areas to allow First Responders to get their cellular voice, video and data communications up and running to support response and recovery operations.

No schadenfreude here folks. It is what it says it is.



Sheesh
ONAIR 2019-10-08
RE: FirstNet
Everything will soon be encrypted. This is a legacy of 9/11/01
AA4MB 2019-10-08
FirstNet
I am going to speak from the law enforcement aspect. While as I private citizen I miss being able to log into any of the numerous web sites which stream unencrypted audio from first responders, it's a double-edged sword. I patrol in a mostly rural county and it used to be truly amazing how many people would show up for anything other than a routine traffic stop. A traffic accident - no matter how minor - would turn into a major ordeal, with family members showing up left and right - getting in the way, parking and blocking ingress/egress from the area, impeding traffic, etc. While some of it still happens (from cell calls placed by the folks directly involved), since we went encrypted, we no longer have to deal with the countless folks who in a rural county sat around and listened to their scanners to stay 'up' on what was going on. If it was anything the slightest bit controversial - say, involving an arrest or a vehicle search - there used to be a lot of extra people who showed up to get involved. Don't get me wrong; folks will still invariably show up it something goes on long enough - but not like they used to. We noticed the change immediately when we went to digital - even before encryption. Additionally, it's not at all uncommon when serving warrants on someone believed to be dealing in drugs to find scanners in close proximity. (Somehow, I think it's unlikely they are all listening to NOAA weather radio ...)

We also will run identity checks on folks via social security number, when they can't produce a valid ID for whatever reason. With HIPPA now, we pretty much feel as if we have to be encrypted - otherwise, it necessitates a phone call. Believe it or not, there are still vast areas of the country which have no cellular service at all. I patrol in one that has about 80% of reliable coverage. Finally, there is assumed privacy when using any phone - hard-wired or wireless - and that's why wiretapping is illegal. Listening to cellular conversations via a scanner falls into the same category, hence why the FCC prohibited the sale of scanners with could access cellular frequencies a number of years ago.

An "official rule" exists that says all law enforcement communications *must* be encrypted? Possibly it is 'strongly encouraged' or it reads as of a certain date in the future. Otherwise, there could be a buttload of class action suits filed, as it's difficult to count the law enforcement agencies which still broadcast in the clear.

Having said all of that, the other side of the argument has plenty of validity. I believe in a free and transparent republic based upon constitutional law. I'm just trying to present the other side and it rapidly gets into quite a few gray areas. This is an issue when so many laws are passed for so many things that they begin to conflict with each other - or the constitution.

K8QV 2019-10-07
FirstNet
We have the technology to get live feeds from cop body cams, and we should get recordings or transcripts of conversations with confidential informants. We need a feed for cop locker room conversations. Transparency, right? Sound a little crazy yet?
AC5WO 2019-10-07
FirstNet
The compromise I'd make is to encrypt law enforcement communication, but record it and have a 3rd party store it for future use if a judge approves.

FirstNet is basically AT&T cellular, but with higher priority for law enforcement and the ability to preempt other AT&T users. AT&T gets nationwide use of Band 14, 788-798 MHz uplink/758-768 MHz downlink plus money in exchange for building the network. AT&T also gets to use this band for all customers, but law enforcement gets priority. At the same time, AT&T is also expanding their network to install base stations for Bands 30, 2.3 GHz and 66 1.7/2.1GHz so they try to install all 3 bands at the same time. The end result is AT&T will be adding capacity and improving coverage in many rural areas where Verizon had been the only nationwide carrier with good coverage.
LNXAUTHOR 2019-10-06
RE: FirstNet
if it's OK for the govt to listen to you, then it's OK to listen to the govt
AC2RY 2019-10-06
RE: FirstNet
Actually there are official rules that ALL police communications over public media (this includes radio and data networks owned by private companies) MUST be encrypted. There are also rules which require all radio conversations to be recorded.
N2RRA 2019-10-06
FirstNet
“The more laws governments make the more corrupt a government becomes.”

Past history shows citizens were able to uncover false reports, or uncover cover ups made by civil service agencies and governmental agencies through being able too monitor them. There are more cases like this than cases where people’s information were used in other crimes obtained through monitoring police for example. So their excuse to continue to make their transmissions more private doesn’t jive. That’s like going backwards by removing body cams from police. That won’t be good.

That being said, it’s a no go for me. The more they keep citizens in the dark the less we actually know what their doing, what’s really going on and no way of finding out the truth in anyway. It’s never turned out well for the common man.

W9YW 2019-10-05
FirstNet
I side with transparency. We risk becoming a secret police state without it. Yes, there are certain police and public safety operations that need to be protected, but public policy on such things is often violated or stretched to the breaking point. I'm a first and second amendment advocate.... along with the rest.

The public has a right to know. Encryption is a non-starter unless there are not uncertain and tacitly-defined policies for at-risk personnel. I respect the work that public safety officials perform, but I cannot unequivocally trust them, and you shouldn't, either.
G3SEA 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet

In this day and age it is logical to keep all such communications secure.

G3SEA/KH6
KJ4DGE 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet
NA4IT,

Yes to all said. It can be used like you said to save lives, and more power to that. enough said on this and thank God for the fire folks out their every day, the EMS the PD and all community first responders. Thank you all for your service. To those that listen in. How many would do what these folks do everyday? I personally could not. Not because I am selfish, just too old and not trained.
NA4IT 2019-10-05
FirstNet
I think people need to understand what is trying to be done with FirstNet. It is a frequency band that is cellular in nature, using cellphones, tablets and hot spots to allow ALL first responders better access to communications and data.

Will cellular fail at times? Of course it will. But FirstNet gives responders top priority on cellular towers. It won't replace radio communications.

Here an example outside the police realm.

Say a fire department is dispatched to a fire. With FirstNet, the firefighters can use that system to clear radio traffic while on their scene so other departments aren't having to "share" the frequency. (FirstNet has a "push to talk feature.) Multiple talkgroups can be set up.

Say a tanker operator is trying to find a fire hydrant. That FirstNet equipped tablet shows a map of all hydrants near the scene. That's better than flipping through a huge paper map book.

A Incident Commander could have instant access to hazardous chemical data sheets in a train derailment. Easier and quicker than searching through hundreds of pages in a paper manual.

Is FirstNet a cure all? No. I am a fire chaplain. I would subscribe to it, except the fact there is no service where I live at. I have Verizon.

FirstNet is on AT&T. They were the only carrier to put in a bid to do the system. They are adding more and more towers, but it takes time. AT&T is one year into a five year build out plan. They have a 25 year contract with the government.

There are pros and cons to FirstNet, the same as any other system.

Get some education.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Responder_Network_Authority
KJ4DGE 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet
Touchy subject but all the more relevant. At SCAN-DC and the RRDB this topic has been beaten into the ground on more than one occasion. Yes under common sense rules encryption is needed; SWAT, LE stings and drug encounters, terrorist surveillance and even the downtown everyday stuff in DC. On the other hand, a 5 person small town in podunk that takes taxpayers money to "upgrade" a radio system to be safe from 2000 people baking apple pies seems to be absurd.

I have monitored everything in the DC area for 36 years and never interfered in any LE or first responder situation nor ever chased ambulances to get a "story" Today however there are folks that do not need a radio to do this. They simply download an app to their phones and listen to streams coming from HAMs and hobbyists that monitor such things. These folks are for the most part not very technical nor want to be HAM radio centered, they are just wanting to be informed. The other side of the coin is hard-core extremists that can perhaps get a hand up on whatever negative crap they are involved in by knowing how soon the cops are coming.

Keep in mind this has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech. The ECPA and the 1934 laws state that profiting from listening to another person "supposed" private conversation is a crime. This is why when you get a person selling you something over the phone they sometimes tell you the conversation is being recorded.

Transparency by definition means being able to SEE (or hear) through something. To make the public blind to hearing what is happening under "normal" everyday operations of first responders is wrong. But again keeping the bad guys less informed of FBI and DEA ops is the right thing to do. Finding that middle ground is the way to look at all this.

This argument will go on forever. Balance in all things.
K9RJ 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet
It's good to remember this thread as politicians are trying to prevent the public from being able to encrypt our communications over the internet. George Orwell was so prescient.
W5GNB 2019-10-05
FirstNet
The last time I listened in on public service frequencies, it was all about Coffee Breaks, Doughnuts, checking out the pretty girls on the sidewalk, when is quitting time, ETC ETC ....
Rather boring if you ask me ... the conversation was about Anything but WORK ~~~~
AA4PB 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet
Not only the issue of the public getting the way, but often the criminals themselves listen to the police frequencies to determine if they are under surveillance.
KA1CNK 2019-10-05
RE: FirstNet
Public services are encrypted. Cell phones are digital and encrypted. Maybe we should start permitting amateurs to encrypt their communications in certain situations. I'm sure a system could be worked out that identified the station but not the communication content.
K6AER 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
If you want transparency there is the freedom of information act. The last thing public agencies need is someone rushing to a location and getting in the way.
K9MHZ 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
“....the need for public access....”

You lost me.
KC7MF 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
KD7YVV said: "There has to be a balance, because you can't have
encrypted traffic and be transparent to the public at
the same time."

Sure you can. There is nothing magic about everyday radio calls. Do you think that undercover agents are not hiding their work? That detectives are posing their activities on Facebook?

Not only is the press there to protect the people's right to know there are the mandatory public records that one can see.

I totally get that police calls are interesting. I understand that people like to listen to them. I do not agree that they have any compelling reason to do so.

Tell me. What exactly do you believe the public learns from police calls that they can't get other ways and that they need to know in real time? How about some examples.
KC6RWI 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
These days its going one way encryption. I saw a natural gas service pickup with an antenna. I asked the driver whats its for. Its a back up in case the other system fails.
KD7YVV 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
My point is, the police/fire/ems are public service
agencies, and should be transparent in their operations.
That's the argument on one hand, that the public should
be able to listen in.
The argument on the other hand in favor of secrecy and
encryption citing safety etc. is also a valid argument.
There has to be a balance, because you can't have
encrypted traffic and be transparent to the public at
the same time.
KC7MF 2019-10-04
RE: FirstNet
I fail to see exactly what emergency traffic the public has an interest in knowing.

As a photojournalist I used to chase radio traffic to find good stories. What I did not need to do is have access to personal information that was routinely broadcast for all to hear.

Journalists have press passes which get us into places others can't get. There is no reason a police department could not give accredited journalists access to encrypted calls with the understanding that personal information is off limits. As would be, of course, passing information in real time. One fire department did just that for me.

On several occasions, when covering a breaking news story I have seen John Q. Public with his scanner, show up and get in the way. Some call themselves "freelance journalists". I have even see a couple come to events armed with a camera and a pistol. They are a danger to themselves and others.

I favor encrypting this data just as I favor laws banning "mug shot" sites prior to conviction. The people have the right to know what their police are up to. They do not have the right to do it to the endangerment of others. Public records are a good protection for this. The public has access to police activity logs. They do not need to know where the cops are staked out or who was stopped going home from the prom.
G8FXC 2019-10-04
FirstNet
Hmmm, on this (east) side of the big pond, it has never been legal to listen to anything other than broadcast stations and radio hams - so grumbling about the move towards digital and encrypted transmissions is just admitting that you've been breaking the law for the last fifty years!
K0CBA 2019-10-04
FirstNet
You lost me: beside that you "feel very strongly both ways" what the *$%% is your point??