1996-12-24 - Re: Lack of security of police Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs)

Header Data

From: Dale Thorn <dthorn@gte.net>
To: die@die.com
Message Hash: e3dd1491eae92cd35758dc4069d8dceed33d729e6d3867079e4825f0cf3edf39
Message ID: <32C01377.11CF@gte.net>
Reply To: <9612240450.AA24404@pig.die.com>
UTC Datetime: 1996-12-24 17:33:15 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 09:33:15 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: Dale Thorn <dthorn@gte.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 09:33:15 -0800 (PST)
To: die@die.com
Subject: Re: Lack of security of police Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs)
In-Reply-To: <9612240450.AA24404@pig.die.com>
Message-ID: <32C01377.11CF@gte.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Dave Emery wrote:
> Some months ago I posted an article to cypherpunks commenting
> on how easy it is to intercept the supposedly secret traffic on
> the Motorola mobile data terminals used by many police forces to access
> criminal history and other sensitive information.  This data is
> not seriously encrypted (or encrypted at all in most systems) and
> illustrates the kind of security by obscurity that some people would
> like to see continue as the only protection for such information as
> it is broadcast to the world on open radio channels.

You've raised a point that is similar to the issues raised in FOIA
requests.  Is the reason I can't get certain documents because the
govt. is hiding something, or is it because they have to protect
"sources and methods"?  Now I understand the dispute on "methods",
but sources are often real people, whose identity may have to be

My question then, if police go 100% to secure transmissions, is that
a good thing for the public?  To be totally locked out of the ability
to monitor the police?  Of course, since I have an AOR AR-8000, with
even the forbidden cellular aliased out to the 1400 mhz area, I can
intercept anything and decode it (some problems with frequency-hopping
on cellular and some trunked frequencies), if there are no unusual
security methods used.

>From my experience so far, most of the public needs to worry about:

1. Doing business on cellular and other portable phones, where pirates
   are busy snooping.

2. Using a "security" company to watch your house when you're gone,
   since they generally talk openly on common scanner frequencies.