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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Thanks to all--medical emergency under control

  • From: Marc Unangst
  • Date: Wed Jan 08 12:42:35 1997

"Joe Rhett" <joe@Navigist.Com> writes:
> This would be great if the Police didn't use radios that everyone has
> scanners for. This is the same as cracking - if you can prompt a
> legitatimate query which creates a legitimate response then you can
> snoop the session.
> ...until the police finally get better radios. Apologies to those of you
> who live in countries where the police have caught on to this.

Not to drag the NANOG list down a completely irrelevant path (like
that's ever a concern for others here :-) ), but there are other
rather substantial concerns here.  In most areas, public-safety radio
frequencies are considered public-access, and the relevant agencies
are prohibited from encrypting their radio traffic.  This is mainly an
oversight issue; the idea is that private agencies should be able to
keep an eye on what the police are doing.

Naturally this doesn't prevent the police or similar agencies from
coming up with creative ways around the issue, ranging from voice
radio codes ("code 6" instead of "domestic assault", etc.) to
"trunking" radio systems that hop frequencies every time you push
PTT.  Apparently the regulatory agencies have decided that this is
okay, but (e.g.) digital spread-spectrum isn't...

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