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Thread: Richmond-area police to encrypt radio channels

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    Default Richmond-area police to encrypt radio channels

    LINK: https://valawyersweekly.com/2018/06/...ommunications/

    (AP) Police in Richmond and two neighboring counties are planning to encrypt their police radio channels, ending public access to their communications.
    Police chiefs in the city of Richmond, and Chesterfield and Henrico counties said Monday that their radio traffic will be encrypted on July 2. After that, only public safety personnel will be able to monitor radio transmissions.
    In an email to news outlets, the chiefs said the move is aimed at “ensuring that the dissemination of in-progress tactics and activities during high-risk events is limited to those whose mission is to resolve events swiftly and with minimal risk to those involved.”
    The chiefs also said they want to ensure that the communication of sensitive personal information does not violate legal rights or privacy.
    The chiefs acknowledged that the encryption could affect news outlets, which routinely use police scanners to track law enforcement activity. They said they’ve asked their staffs to come up with alternative ways of keeping news outlets informed about “active, real-time information.”
    Police in Virginia Beach — the state’s largest city — announced in May that they also plan to encrypt their radio channels. They said the move is aimed at preventing criminals from listening to police communications.
    Encrypting police radio transmissions is not a new trend, but one that could affect the relationship between police and the news media, said Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.
    “There’s not a statutory or constitutional right to listen to a scanner … but there has been this historical and practical relationship between the police and press to be able to have access to this so that the information can be gotten out to the public,” Rhyne said.
    Jay Webb, news director of WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg, said he is opposed to encryption, but realizes police have their reasons for doing it.
    “My biggest fear is that we’ll just flat-out miss things and will have to rely more and more on our viewers to tell us what they’re seeing because we can’t hear it on our scanners,” Webb said in an email.
    -DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press

    -------------------------------------------------------
    I am hearing more and more of LE going to encryption, I am guessing we have some radio techs here. Is this going to be the growing trend? Thankfully my local LE are not encrypted as of yet but I an see this starting to head in that direction at some point.


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    Similar thing happening across half my state right now. They plan to be complete with a few areas by the start of fall this year for all LE. Fire and EMS are the next phase.
    However...much understanding and thought has been taken as to what will be encrypted and how to go about it. (Well, perhaps some intelligent folk have been at the table *cough*) There will be tactical talkgroups that are utilized in parallel to primary dispatch. Essentially switching the channel position one spot to pass certain traffic and also free up primary for those times that someone needs to "give a tx". Department proprietary TG's will be encrypted, along with the addition of special event talkgroups. These will all be strapped, so no accidental unencrypted traffic will flow.
    Flashing all the agencies radios in the county, as well as the neighboring agencies that have authorizations for shared talkgroups, will take some time. So that hinders the ability to just encrypt everything. Which is good...I believe, in the sense that there is still a lot of information that is of the public's particular interest to be able to be informed of. LEIN, PII, etc...that can all be encrypted, no worries about that.

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    Expect mega butthurt shitposts from crybaby RR tards who will have to find something better to do with their time than stalk the po-po! Case in point:

    "It really does suck. It's the moment I've been dreading! My life will be so empty without knowing about everything going on around me! (Sorry, feeling dramatic... but I'm a squirrel at heart)"
    Your streaming makes me AES-256. Keep it up and you'll soon have nothing to listen to.

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    They like to kill their only hobby

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    My shop turned another city up last week. Full time encryption. No more scanners.
    Apparently NOT a radio professional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Similar thing happening across half my state right now. They plan to be complete with a few areas by the start of fall this year for all LE. Fire and EMS are the next phase.
    However...much understanding and thought has been taken as to what will be encrypted and how to go about it. (Well, perhaps some intelligent folk have been at the table *cough*) There will be tactical talkgroups that are utilized in parallel to primary dispatch. Essentially switching the channel position one spot to pass certain traffic and also free up primary for those times that someone needs to "give a tx". Department proprietary TG's will be encrypted, along with the addition of special event talkgroups. These will all be strapped, so no accidental unencrypted traffic will flow.
    Flashing all the agencies radios in the county, as well as the neighboring agencies that have authorizations for shared talkgroups, will take some time. So that hinders the ability to just encrypt everything. Which is good...I believe, in the sense that there is still a lot of information that is of the public's particular interest to be able to be informed of. LEIN, PII, etc...that can all be encrypted, no worries about that.
    It’s interesting to watch the RR hordes whine about encryption and swear up and down that it will stop interop, and people will die, and the world will end and bring back low band. Cooperation, and KMF’s for the win.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Wow. Finlands police has been 'encrypted' since forever (90's). Fire and EMS went encrypted with when we transitioned to a countrywide tetra-network in the early 2000's. Iirc the latest to join were sometime in 2005.
    Some TG's were unencrypted until lately.
    Interop is there, it's real and it's everyday. Same network for all users, even utility companies use the same network and share some TG's.

    But! Finland is a LOT smaller than Canada or the US. Then again, a tetra handheld costs somewhere between $600-$1000.

    I'm so young I can't even fathom what it would be like to listen to the coppers :-)

    Wow. That went offtopic fast. But welcome to the modern era :-)

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    I have gotten a LOT of heat on RR for people asking "How do I listen to___" in my state and I answer "You can't, and don't bother buying a scanner if you don't have one already because soon you'll hear nothing" and get a bunch of remarks like I am some a-hole traitor to the "hobby". I've had people come and lodge formal complaints against the departments/state because "it is our right to hear these communications". I ask them if its their right to answer my phone calls or look through my mail as well. They say no and then say "But they aren't the same". Well, if you're claiming that a public agency's transparency hinges on being able to hear ALL communications 100% of the time then you're mistaken.

    Good part is these idiots lodging complaints and screaming about non-existent "rights" just proves to the agencies the "quality" of scanner nut out there and has expedited our statewide shift to encryption from "some time in the next few years" to "should have almost the entire state on it by end of 2018". Adios, scanners! Time to start seeing who will be stupid enough to NAS a radio thinking it will help.

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    I have no illusions that the public has some form of "right" to listen to anything. That being said, I do have a scanner in the car and at home and enjoy listening to the various goings-on in town while I'm out and about. I think we've had a discussion like this before on the forum, but I do understand where a lot of the RR kiddies are coming from. It's fun to throw a scanner on while you're doing work just for some background noise and entertainment. At a university campus especially, the crazy things you hear varies every day and provides for good entertainment. But I'm not about to start throwing a fit when agencies are going full-strapped. There's no law against it and sysadmins are well within their right to do so. Not much I can do there.

    I'm lucky that the local municipalities have gone the route of most traffic in the clear with a few strapped tac channels for when they don't want to be heard. In fact, the county sheriff actually made a public press release stating they had no intention of ever going full secure besides their already-encrypted channels. There's something to be said about allowing your operations to be heard by the public, and at least in my mind when an agency goes full-time secure I can see why people would ask "what are they up to?"

    I know a decent chunk of you on here are sysadmins and that going full-time strapped is an extremely effective way to stop worrying about hijacked channels, rogue radios, and all the other assaults on your systems from idiots with pirated CPS and a tagless ebay special. I'm not trying to say you're wrong or that you shouldn't be doing that as it's well within your rights and it definitely works. I just like adding a little perspective from someone who enjoys causal weekend or evening listening to hear what's going on in my community, and I want to make the distinction that everyone with a scanner isn't some neckbeard locked in their room with twelve Unidens on every channel in a three-county radius, listening and taking notes on every single call that goes out. Well, maybe some of you on here are, I don't judge

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    What is the cost delta to add encryption to a large-ish system? Obviously, the prospect of doing so is fun for some, but what about the hapless taxpayer? AFAIK, there is a per-radio extra cost for the "optional" enc feature, I assume the same would be true for the base stations and repeaters and consoles, etc. Not to mention the admin costs......

    Max

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    Most radios and systems these days already have the encryption in them when purchased. Most agencies already have some encrypted channels. The cost to have 1 channel encrypted vs all channels is pretty much zero.
    The majority of FD/EMS and LE in this area agree that main dispatch and operations channels should be in the clear. Pretty much every FD/EMS agency has secure zones and channels for when needed, and most non-primary LE dispatch channels are encrypted. For the detractors that say interoperabilty is ruined, we all use the same NLEEC provided national NFIR and NLE interop keys so that everyone can hear and talk to everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KA1RBI View Post
    What is the cost delta to add encryption to a large-ish system? Obviously, the prospect of doing so is fun for some, but what about the hapless taxpayer? AFAIK, there is a per-radio extra cost for the "optional" enc feature, I assume the same would be true for the base stations and repeaters and consoles, etc. Not to mention the admin costs......

    Max
    Honestly depends on the system. Here in my state the entire core was designed for P25 AES encryption and OTAR. Agencies getting on the system were required to buy a KVL with their radios. And in terms of funding - DHS CAP requires radios sold to agencies using federal funds need to be AES capable. So in the end its a minimal expense depending on the agency. The only reason our state requires agencies to have their own KVL is for security of keys and so that during a large rollover of keys there isn't a half dozen agencies all trying to borrow the one KVL in the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Navy_BOFH View Post
    And in terms of funding - DHS CAP requires radios sold to agencies using federal funds need to be AES capable.
    Per P25-CAB-ENC_REQ - March 2017, it is only acceptable for radios to:

    1 - Not support ANY encryption
    2 - Support AES-256 encryption ONLY
    3 - Support AES-256 encryption AND "non-standard" encryption (DES-OFB, ADP/ARC4, etc.)

    You have to meet one of these cases to be listed as CAP approved, and eligible for SAFECOM grants.

    Source: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/fi..._REQ-508_0.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by KA1RBI View Post
    What is the cost delta to add encryption to a large-ish system? Obviously, the prospect of doing so is fun for some, but what about the hapless taxpayer? AFAIK, there is a per-radio extra cost for the "optional" enc feature, I assume the same would be true for the base stations and repeaters and consoles, etc. Not to mention the admin costs......
    Every APX radio has included software based single key ADP (and more recently AES-256 S/W encryption) standard. Other vendors (EFJ/Kenwood, Tait and Harris) all include some similar encryption on every subscriber sold over the past 4-5 years.

    The cost is minimal, and while more advanced (and desirable) options like mult-key AES with OTAR add cost to each sub, fact is s/w based AES is just another field in CPS to enter at subscriber programming time, and enabling it eliminates 99.9 percent of any chance of being intercepted (unless your key gets leaked or is compromised) but even then, no garbage pail consumer scanner can defeat encryption and be legally sold in the USA.
    Your streaming makes me AES-256. Keep it up and you'll soon have nothing to listen to.

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    Regarding the P25-CAB-ENC_REQ:

    Motorola REALLY jammed themselves on the compliance to this requirement. Unlike Harris who is simply giving away single key AES...

    ***BE WARNED***
    IF you order option QA05751 "ADD: NO ADP FOR P25 CAP" for $0... there is also a warning in eCat:
    "Customers who require compliance with DHS Project 25 CAP Encryption Requirements and who requires a clear radio with no encryption enabled will need to select option QA05751. The radios will need to be sent to the Motorola Depot if Encryption is needed in the future."

    Instead of making a field changeable option (aka Flash upgrade or EID upgrade) they forced an internal byte in the radio-wide capabilities to "disable encryption." When you read a radio with this option, the drop-down for "Secure Operation" (where you choose: Disabled, Hardware, Software) is forced to Disabled, and cannot be changed.

    Couple of complaints:
    - Other than reading a radio, you have no idea if the radio has this restriction. Service mode still shows ADP, but you can't access it in the CPS. Nothing in the flashcode either.
    - Let's say you now want to add AES later when funding becomes available... The radio must be returned to the depot to have the encryption option enabled. (No, neither flash upgrade or KVL algo upgrade works.)

    Why couldn't they just add a restriction in the flashcode like they do for 12.5khz Mandate?

    Essentially, at the time of order for a grant compliant radio, either:
    A: Order AES
    -or-
    B: Have a radio that will be a GIANT pain to get AES later.

    /rant

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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom View Post
    Why couldn't they just add a restriction in the flashcode like they do for 12.5khz Mandate?
    I think you need to be as pedantic as the federal government in order to answer this. The requirements state that one of the three options is:

    Option 3 (No Encryption)
    The encryption test case results for this product or model class are ‘U for unsupported.’ This product or model class shall only be available without any voice privacy or non-AES 256 encryption algorithm installed when acquired (i.e., no encryption capability).
    A flashcode option could be considered to mean the product is encryption capable and run afoul of the regulation. Indeed, it is somewhat contradictory when it states "when acquired" versus "no capability".

    Seems to me Moto could have done this with a different model number and accomplish the same thing while making the product's capability more apparent.

    Meh.

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    Yeah, we're well versed in the Federal fun. (That's why I brought it up based on our experiences.)

    For Motorola, they could simply pull the ADP algo from it and leave the software aspect alone. Everyone knows what 09/10 means if you enable it with nothing there to support it.

    As to the semantics of "capable" vs "when acquired"... Per the FEMA grant folks that we have been working with, there's no issue with the radio having the capability available for the future. We simply need to have AES enabled if we use anything other algo.

    BUT - I was merely passing along a tidbit we learned along the way

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    Quote Originally Posted by radioinstl View Post
    For the detractors that say interoperabilty is ruined, we all use the same NLEEC provided national NFIR and NLE interop keys so that everyone can hear and talk to everyone.
    Neat. I didn't know something like this was being coordinated at the federal level for state/local agencies. Is there a website or PDF out there with more info?

    Texas has been working on coordinating something similar at the state level, but just getting everyone on coordinated RIDs and CKRs has been a nightmare. Motorola's stupid restriction that you can only have ONE UKEK in a KMF, and it HAS to use 61440/F5A0 combined with multiple disparate KMFs has made things even more challenging.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    See Appendix A for Keys
    See Appendix B for NLEEC Contact

    https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/fi...20Draft508.pdf

    "A major force in themanagement of federal land mobile radio systems and provider of key management services tomany federal as well as state and local public safety agencies is the National Law EnforcementCommunications Center (NLECC) in Orlando, Florida. The NLECC is a Department of HomelandSecurity/Customs and Border Protection facility whose primary mission is to manage all aspectsof DHS/CBP land mobile communications, but has gained expertise in providing keymanagement services to many other agencies at all levels of government. The use of the NLECCto generate and assign Keysets (KID, Key, ALGID) for agencies at all levels of governmentassures that these parameters are unique and will not conflict with other systems that also useNLECC services. Using a national coordination entity helps to ensure a more uniform approachto key management."
    "For state and local agencies, the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC)21 can providethe basic point of contact within each state and territory for information on encryption andhow to best coordinate encrypted interoperability with partner agencies. They have theknowledge regarding the local environment and know the local encryption experts. They alsoare members of the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC)22 andcan act as a coordinator for coordinating key management with other state and local agenciesin the region and assistance from the NLECC as well as with other national organizations andfederal agencies."

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