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The Night Chicago Encrypted


ABC 7 Chicago Video Embed

The profit press is catching up to arguments against public safety radio encryption that I carried on about in the 90s.  I find that great though a bit late on their part.  Maybe paying attention "way back when" to this idiot blabbering online about being unable to listen in on police calls would have lent to a more cohesive response before firm anti-open-broadcasting policies had time to cement.

But anyway. 

I am still not entirely impressed.  While I can't lie, there is some feeling of "validation of the cause" when today I encounter polished mayonnaise news coverage about one or another agency going encrypted, and woah, what a real bad thing that is for our would-be "free" society.   

But there is a big problem with most of this coverage.  It's not honest, and if the outcome were as I imagine, it could actually be worse.

Take Chicago press's reaction to the Chicago police department's recent flipping the encrypt key.  They aren't actually arguing that society at large should be able to continue monitoring open police radio traffic.  They're arguing that they the accredited media, should.  Them - not you.

The point they make, of course, is that they are somehow more responsible than regular people when it comes to handling the information that a standard dump of radio scanner traffic affords.

Never mind that most of media is profit-driven. That, as a monied industry, it is prone to control information, manipulation, and to sensationalize what information it gleans.

I suspect that what "media coallations against police encryption" really want is the control and exclusivity of information access that, if they achieved that in the grand opportunity of becoming the exception to being tuned out, would combat the erosive effects that the internet, the world wide web, and social media, have all had on the relevance of their industry.

The CNNs of the world love the prospect of encryption, by effect.

It is tempting to enjoy the "media military armanent" working against the tide of police encryption, but it can be a perversed damnation of the open broadcasting principles if all that's really being talked about is a refshuffling of the stacked deck against regular people.


  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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