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Why we tell people to buy a scanner...

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Why we tell people to buy a scanner...

Postby CTAMontrose » Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:39 pm

i know this is off topic, BUT its extremely relavant and explains why people get told "buy a scanner"

Saturday, July 15, 2006
GRAND RAPIDS -- A former state police civilian employee was found guilty Friday of felony charges that he compromised the state's 800 megahertz radio system by giving unauthorized users access to the network. He and three others were charged by Attorney General Mike Cox in December 2004 for roles in a scheme that could have allowed others to tap into the secure system.

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Postby escomm » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:23 pm

How does authorized users giving out proprietary system information (of a secure network, no less) to non-authorized users relate to anything discussed here? Scanning (as a non-authorized user) a secure, software controlled network is just as much of a hacking felony as programming a two-way for receive only.

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Postby Rayjk110 » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:34 pm

Yes, but I think their intent was to transmitt, too. Either that or the person that charged them with the felony didn't care if it was set to RX only and knew it was the same radio as the PD used and thought it would TX to them anyways.

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Postby CTAMontrose » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:43 pm

escomm wrote:How does authorized users giving out proprietary system information (of a secure network, no less) to non-authorized users relate to anything discussed here? Scanning (as a non-authorized user) a secure, software controlled network is just as much of a hacking felony as programming a two-way for receive only.


it relates because of the amount of threads here of "how do i program my XTS3000 for XYZ Trunked system"

perhaps i should have posted this in the programming section.

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Postby RadioSouth » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:17 pm

grem467 wrote:
escomm wrote:How does authorized users giving out proprietary system information (of a secure network, no less) to non-authorized users relate to anything discussed here? Scanning (as a non-authorized user) a secure, software controlled network is just as much of a hacking felony as programming a two-way for receive only.


it relates because of the amount of threads here of "how do i program my XTS3000 for XYZ Trunked system"

perhaps i should have posted this in the programming section.



Yup, useful info. I've seen the above request many times here on BatLabs
and then the person requesting that info. often gets pissy when no one will help or points out the legal ramifications. I 100% agree, if you want to monitor an 800 system, stay with a scanner unless you're a authorized user, SO much less drama !

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Postby Charlied » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:25 pm

I just wish I could scan provoice.
KI4ISE

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Postby JAYMZ » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:35 pm

Marc.. I am sorry to say I had to edit your post...

It's now a Sticky.. just to illustrate the point.

Thank you.
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Postby escomm » Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:04 pm

Even scanning a secure system is a no-no, ask the folks who sign NDAs before they are authorized for ICIS.

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Postby mikegilbert » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:56 pm

The full article: Can be found here

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced today that he has charged four persons with participating in a scheme to obtain and sell stolen or illegally manufactured Motorola radios and to program those radios to access the Michigan State Police 800 MHz radio system.


Illegally manufactured= bought off ebay?

The charges allege that they obtained either stolen or illegally manufactured Motorola radios. Werner and Brunk, who were Michigan State Police civilian employees, aided them in their efforts to program the radios to access the 800 MHz system by providing him with otherwise unobtainable computer software and templates for the radios so that they would operate on the system. The chief of the Walkerville Fire Department, then purchased at half-price three of these radios from them, in part with grant money obtained by submitting a fraudulent invoice to Mason/Oceana 911.

In today's atmosphere where homeland security is paramount, law enforcement agencies must be able to communicate without the possibility that others can eavesdrop and hear communications to which they should not be privy
The 800 MHz system is designed so that law enforcement and other governmental agencies can communicate with each other without concern that lawbreakers and others can overhear those conversations...


I agree these guys were way out of line to do this. Were they using grant money for personal radios- or for additional fire department radios?

So is this system encrypted, or are they operating under the Motorola Sales pitch "It's trunked so nobody can hear your conversations" ?

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Postby Josh » Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:39 pm

This story is old.

It shows 2004, and yes I remember when that last was a "big deal" the only difference is now it's gone through the courts and out the other side with a verdict.

P25 is open protocol, so I'm thinking that the radios were keyloaded and stuff too, which would explain the proprietary "secure" system.

The MPSCS is a state-wide trunked system in P25, 9600kbps control channel. There are both clear and ecrypted talkgroups on the system.

-Josh

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Postby AEC » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:17 pm

I think the true matter here relates mainly with the fraudulent use of 'public' monies, that's where the big charges hit, not from programming radios.

Let's face the facts, all 'government' and police agency radios are taxpayer owned property.

A radio system is not a computer database, nor is it a private computer for which hackers can gain access and take control, this is not possible.

The mere fact is that the money used to purchase the equipment is the crux of their problems, the 'system' and access to it is secondary.

Sounds like a tempest in a teacup to me(radio-wise that is).

I laugh at the statement about 'Unobtainable software'...that's another big joke in its own right, and I seriously doubt one can be charged with a crime to purchase legal RSS, I don't care what make/model radio it's for, it's not a crime that will make it into court based on its own 'merits'.

Aside from these items, I know there's very few people with the resources to crack even DES, let alone anything more secure, so 'eavsdropping' is a moot point as well, and if these radios were or are private property, purchased with private funds(doubtful) then theft/fraud is another moot point, but given the fact they DID use public funds to effect personal gains, then yes, felony charges are absolutely equitable and just.

We read what we want to read, and ignore the actual 'meat' of a story, as I am certain many here have done, judging by the post replies.

Law enforcement and local police have no jurisdiction on the RF spectrum, and even LESS powers to 'regulate' CB interference, so I highly doubt this stens from only a 'security breach', but one of again, fraudulent use of public funds.

Aside from that, I can't see a reason why anybody would be interested in police comms for the most part, in my area they are boring, and great to be put to sleep with, but that's all.....BLAHH...junk!

Fire; there's interest there, as well as medical services...but PD license checks and drunk driver arrests are the most boring things to listen to.

Flip the coin and talk about a rapist or killer in MY area, thenby all means, I am interested, and more than willing to assist any way I can.

There's a reason I live in Arizona.....it's because the people are on the same footing as police when it comes to use of deadly force, and I am in absolute agreement with it always!

I would LOVE to see billboards plastered with pics of wanted rapists, killers and kidnappers.....along with bold letters stating:
OPEN SEASON ON THESE PEOPLE.....SHOOT ON SIGHT!!

Then crime WOULD plummet...guaranteed!

Let the criminal fear for his/her life once, to be hunted by the population instead of a select few...fight or flight...they would be history in a heartbeat..

Sorry to meander off topic...my appologies....

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Postby MTS2000des » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:24 am

but the bottom line here is that programming of Motorola trunking radios require proprietary software and a proprietary system key...wether one's intention is to transmit or just listen is irrelevant- it is ILLEGAL to posess a system key that isn't yours and a COMPUTER CRIME in most states to load such key into a radio onto a system which you don't have legitimate access to.

Like it or not, trunking systems are looked upon as COMPUTER NETWORKS as the central controller and associated hardware are indeed network components. As these systems become more and more sophisticated, so will security measures and actions taken against those who try to infiltrate these systems.

but take note, no one with a SCANNER has ever been charged with a computer crime like these folks and some other cases around the country (including here in Atlanta a while back). and for those who think that just because you tote a badge mean you're above the law, think again...these recent cases show that unauthorized programming or aiding others is serious. Is it worth your career? Your future?

Either get legit, or buy a damn scanner. Nuff said.
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Postby AEC » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:58 am

If defended properly, by an attorney that knows radio communications systems, I can guarantee that 'computer crimes' would not be a legitimate excuse to prosecute, no matter what the prosecutor states.

Technically, it is NOT a 'computer', and is not afforded protection under any computer crimes statute, but is 'only' a device to control the simple actions of a radio station and does not, under any circumstance, perform computational permutations that any 'reasonable' person could consider to 'be' a 'computer'.

The computer crimes charge is lunacy, and if the attempt is to validate this equipment as a 'computer', then every repeater controlled by a 'controller' also falls under this same protection, but does not, by virtue of sanity and reasonable understanding of 'what' a 'computer' is and does as a function of its daily operation.

But I want to get to the heart of this issue; what are the real charges that can not be dismissed in court?

Everybody is getting their undies in a bunch over a trunking system, when the real issue here is the fraudulent use of public funds by private individuals for personal gain.

I have 3400 system keys on several CDs, so what.

Posession is no crime as the keys perform no task, nor can they be proven to be 'property' either, as they are only bits of data attached to no individual or entity, and can be constructed by others with like knowledge and experience working in the same field.

This has been wrangled over time and again even in the U.S patent office...it's moot.

It's the use of specific data that creates the crime....by intent and actions alone, not mere posession.

Same goes for the mere posession of a radio 'capable' of being used on a trunked network...while it may be capable, there is no proof of intent, therefore, the claim of a crime can not be substantiated, and hence, not prosecutable as well.

There must also be a history of actions to show cause and effect, this the basis of precedent, not a single, one time occurrence that 'may' be illegal.

A prosecutor would have a tough time arguing the 'intent' of an individual without prior history to back up the claim.

Geez, if percieved 'intent' was all that was needed, Batlabs would be barren of members!

Hopefully, our rules of checks and balances are still somewhat intact, and if not, many can be imprisoned by the perception of any intent, be it actual, or rumored.

I also have one radio with several channels programmed that will operate on public safety systems....IF there is a need to request emergency assistance, I will use them, but not to simply play, that's childish at the very least.

Now for my 'other' side...

As a taxpayer, I have a right to listen to any trunked radio system I choose, it's paid for with my money, so it falls under 'property rights' as well, as does driving these days, so if I choose to load up a radio with the entire fleet map, so be it.

Attorneys are now realizing that, yes, driving on taxpayer paid for roadways IS a property right, and the 'law' is slowly moving in this direction as well.

One other aspect to mention is surveillance.

Why is this practice fine with law enforcement but NOT private citizens?
We have the same needs for information as any government does, and maybe more. But as with any controlling body, the turn about is not fair play, so 'thay' create laws that stifle this act, except grant open door policies to agents of the government to spy on us without warrants every day.
For them, this activity is perfectly fine, but for us, it's a crime.

How does the act of the government spying on its people constitute validity, while criminalizing the SAME act by the people?

The courts are not above the law, so how is it legal for some and yet illegal for others simply because the mighty government decides the act is 'okay', so that makes it legal because god said so.

I don't need to illustrate my reply to that one, do I?

I find it difficult to accept blindly that only the government has some 'right' to spy on its own citizens, but if 'we' do it, it has now become a crime, and punishable by the government for the very same act?

I NEED to know what MY government is doing at all times, it is a right to have this information as the government is supposed to work for us, and not the opposite.

Again, this topic is a tempest in a teacup caused by a select few, but the end results are obviously not yet known.

We are arguing validity on this subject as if we have the inside scoop on how this dog and pony show has or is progressing, and we have neither in our posession to show proof of the final outcome.

I am simply trying to point out that the people do have the right to monitor what happens on taxpayer purchased communications equipment, it's our money, isn't everybody even the least bit concerned on how it's being used, or misused?...............I am.

*Flame suit is now being worn*

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Postby N9LLO » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:56 am

Finally a voice of reason, thank you AEC. The very same article was hashed out here several years ago. Do you think their 911 manager was miffed that someone was selling radios to the fire dept for much less than new from Motorola? Kind makes him look bad paying all that dough.

At least we know that used or parts built radios ar not "illegaly manufactured" since Motorola lost that one in court. The guy really needs a good communications savvy lawyer.

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Postby CTAMontrose » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:20 am

AEC wrote:[Technically, it is NOT a 'computer', and is not afforded protection under any computer crimes statute, but is 'only' a device to control the simple actions of a radio station and does not, under any circumstance, perform computational permutations that any 'reasonable' person could consider to 'be' a 'computer'.



have you ever SEEN a zone controller? I could roll ours into court and very few people would disagree with your assessment of it being NOT a computer, not to mention database and user servers. On a day to day basis, i use MORE networking and computer skills than I do radio skills, and we have a 3.x, a 7.x is even more so a computer network. Our zone controller uses UNIX as its OS, and 7.x ones are using Suns with solarias, HOW is it not a computer again??


I have 3400 system keys on several CDs, so what.

Posession is no crime as the keys perform no task, nor can they be proven to be 'property' either, as they are only bits of data attached to no individual or entity, and can be constructed by others with like knowledge and experience working in the same field.

[/b]


so you have admitted to having unauthorized proprietary software on your computer... just because something is leaked to the internet and you download it, does NOT make it ok. As for the "bits of data not attached to one entity" oh contrare, each key is created for a SPECIFIC system ID (ie TRS). how can you say they perform "NO TASK" as without them you CANNOT program a radio to its specific system. A door key by itself doesnt do anything, but if you use it to open a door you are not supposed to be in, you would then be charged with tresspassing, at minimum.


If your logic is so water tight, show me ONE case that was thrown out of court for someone programming up their own radio on a TRS without authroization.. JUST ONE... and dont hand me "the lawyers and judges didnt know what they were talking about"

next people will be saying "you cant inhibit someone elses radio, that would be illegal and they could sue you for damaging their property". Oh wait.. nevermind.. i have already been told that by people here who want to bootleg on our system.

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Postby mr.syntrx » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:41 am

Especially since you wouldn't be damaging the radio if you inhibit it, it just goes into an operating mode not convenient to the owner. You can inhibit and revive again it all day long.

On the other hand, TETRA support a suicidal inhibit command, where the radio is not stunned, it's commits hari kiri, and is basically unrevivable by anyone. I'd like to see that feature in a future version of Project 25.

(IANAL, but a case could be brought against a system owner under law dealing with the unauthorised alteration of data on a computer, as that is what you'll find at the heart of a modern radio. I doubt any TRS bootlegger is stupid enough to try taking that to court, though.)

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Postby Bob KB1MNE » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:53 am

grem467 wrote: so you have admitted to having unauthorized proprietary software on your computer...


Maybe I'm misreading but when did a "key" file become "software"?

If, as I understand what a "system key" usually means, we're talking about a data file that has no executable function of its own and couldn't be considered "software" by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

A data file may be needed to unlock a particular piece of software but it isn't "software" by itself. (At least not in the usual sense.)

Or are we using a different sense of the term here?
Last edited by Bob KB1MNE on Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby escomm » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:29 am

N9LLO wrote:Finally a voice of reason, thank you AEC. The very same article was hashed out here several years ago. Do you think their 911 manager was miffed that someone was selling radios to the fire dept for much less than new from Motorola? Kind makes him look bad paying all that dough.

Using your logic, Harold Pick and Nick DeLuca never would have had problems with selling Los Angeles County parts built radios with whored flash options. Instead, DeLuca settled for damn near 7 figures, and Pick was hit with almost a judgment for damn near $1.5 million.

"But they were only hacking the software....." The jury didn't buy it.

It goes without saying administrators cannot easily verify the integrity of units purchased privately (whether used, parts built, whatever), nor do they generally have the time or resources to do so, and yet if those units are authorized for system use, then the system owners will be open to any liability that may be incurred as a result of those radios failing (or being used for private communications (BIG FCC No-No! This is why the off-duty LAPD officers doing security at Dodger Stadium MUST use the stadium's CP200s and the stadiums frequencies... remember using public resources for private enrichment was the key to the aforementioned criminal case). By using only OEM materials, the liability issue is mitigated because Motorola will actually stand behind their products (and they have the deep pockets to cover themselves should something go awry). So in actuality, any administrator that allows such radios on their system is opening Pandora's box of not properly & judiciously mitigating risk.

It's very easy for John Q Public to try to come up with rationalizations for why he should be able to break the law, especially when Mr Public shoulders zero liability in the case of equipment failure.

As I'm sure we're all aware, risk management is a government buzzword, almost as much as interoperability is.
At least we know that used or parts built radios ar not "illegaly manufactured" since Motorola lost that one in court. The guy really needs a good communications savvy lawyer.

Yes, and we also know the programming of any flash option into a parts built radio is an infringement of intellectual property rights. So even loading the Conventional flash option will result in a violation of Motorola's IP. The parts built radios in questions will not operate without even the most basic of flash options... so yeah, building the radio would seem okay, but in order to be able use it you will inherently open yourself to
civil action because to do so inherently violates Motorola's IP rights.

If one really wants to get down to the nitty gritty, even the firmware required to run basic analog radios such as the CP series could be construed as proprietary and protected by IP laws.

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Postby escomm » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:36 am

Bob KB1MNE wrote:
grem467 wrote: so you have admitted to having unauthorized proprietary software on your computer...


Maybe I'm misreading but when did a "key" file become "software"?

If, as I understand what a "system key" usually means, we're talking about a data file that has no executable function of its own and couldn't be considered "software" by any reasonably stretch of the imagination.

A data file may be needed to unlock a particular piece of software but it isn't "software" by itself. (At least not in the usual sense.)

Or are we using a different sense of the term here?

The key is proprietary. It is used solely in conjunction with a software program. Not unlike taking someone's password and logging into their paypal account and sending yourself their money. By itself, the password is pretty much useless, but the law is then broken when that password is used in conjunction with accessing the associated protected data, and I think we can all agree that using someone's password without their permission constitutes a crime.

Now of course, if the password is not properly protected, a whole slew of technicalities arise.

But then again, the key is protecting the proprietary information. Which is why radio techs are not allowed to know the system key(s) for the ICIS system. For example, (IIRC) in the City of Glendale, only the Communications Superintendant, the City Manager, & the Mayor are allowed to "know" the system key. Everyone else signs an NDA that they understand they are not to have access to the information, and if they somehow do come across it, are not allowed to disclose it to anyone but the 3 people listed above.

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.

Postby batdude » Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:52 am

what?

how can someone "know" the system key?

i highly doubt that the mayor/comms supr/et al knows/understands/cares about the 20(?) bytes of data (that just happen to start with (C) MOTOROLA) contained in the system key.... which has LONG ago been completely compromised....

so... to program one of the city radios, in (no doubt) the city comms shop... one has to call the mayor, comms supr or the city manager?

"Excuse me, Mr. Mayor... they need you at COMMS pronto to program a new radio for FF Smith"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

(not likely)

NDA, certainly understandable. Most employees would be fired on the spot if caught leaking the system key... but again... one swoop of the advanced system key solves that problem.... due diligence!

as for the above, "not a computer crime" statement. you better catch up there pal - any trunking system is a SECURE COMPUTER NETWORK. It requires authentication to use. It transmits and receives DATA, most likely on frequencies that are reserved for public safety use only.... a computer freakin' runs the whole thing. No computer = no trunking system... ? duh ?

that's the dumbest thing i think i've read here in a few hours.


this whole discussion is moot.


homey got CONVICTED. (period)


the start of the thread is the same as the beginning. Buy a scanner. Problem solved.



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Postby bellersley » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:48 am

I wonder how the system key thing would hold up If you used lab, which does not require a key to work. For the average joe, having lab isn't any more an infringement than regular rss... You are still violating copyright.

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Postby bellersley » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:52 am

Also, there was a case up here awhile ago, someone was caught programming radios to talk on a fire department trunk system and selling them to anyone with the cash. Motorola wasn't too concerned with the programming, so much as the transmitting and sale.

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Postby Bob KB1MNE » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:23 pm

escomm wrote: The key is proprietary. It is used solely in conjunction with a software program. Not unlike taking someone's password and logging into their paypal account and sending yourself their money. By itself, the password is pretty much useless, but the law is then broken when that password is used in conjunction with accessing the associated protected data, and I think we can all agree that using someone's password without their permission constitutes a crime.


You just agreed with me. My paypal password doesn't belng to me i.e. it isn't "proprietary". It's a string of data with no IP rights attached. You can't copyright a password -- you can only copyright an algorithm or other original constructs.

escomm wrote: But then again, the key is protecting the proprietary information.


The key enables access to information that may or may not be proprietary but it isn't proprietary in and of itself. What I'm getting at is that someone mentioned having a bunch of keys and someone else basically accused them of breaking the law simply by having them. That may be the sort of flawed logic /\/\ would like to use but I seriously dooubt it would stand up in court.

escomm wrote: Which is why radio techs are not allowed to know the system key(s) for the ICIS system.


It may be standard procudure for the key not be be distributed but, if it is, possession is hardly criminal. (The act of obtaining it may be, but not simple possession, IMHO.)

escomm wrote:Everyone else signs an NDA that they understand they are not to have access to the information, and if they somehow do come across it, are not allowed to disclose it to anyone but the 3 people listed above.


An NDA is a civil/contractual matter -- not a criminal matter.

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Re: .

Postby CTAMontrose » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:46 pm

batdude wrote:
this whole discussion is moot.


homey got CONVICTED. (period)




best.quote.ever!

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Postby motorola_otaku » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:54 pm

(warning: speculation and opinions ahoy)

Speaking in broader terms (i.e. the issue of hobbyist monitoring for personal interest), this will continue to be an issue until someone produces an 800MHz-only scanner with receiver specs comparable to a commercial-grade two-way radio. Say what you will about Radio Shack's PRO-2096 and it's "stellar audio quality"; the receiver isn't even close to the same thing as a Motorola radio. Want to argue semantics? Put one on a service monitor, compare it with, say, a Maxtrac, and tell me I'm lying. I'll be the first to agree that user programmability and 100-talkgroup scanlists beats the hell out of fenangling software and only being able to scan 10 talkgroups at a time, but what good is it if you can't even hear the system in question? I'd venture a guess that anyone here with a 800 TRS in their area could easily locate areas where a Motorola radio flat-out works and a scanner flat-out don't.

Mind you, I'm not arguing legality. I'm just saying that someone, somewhere, needs to produce the aforementioned scanner.. maybe even Piexx-style on a Maxtrac or Spectra platform. Then the point really would be moot.
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Postby bellersley » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:09 pm

Great point. There are people out there (media, tows,etc) who need to be able to listen, and a scanner just does not cut it. And before anyone says it, the system guys here don't care and people have been doing it for years... nobody has been locked up.

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Postby AEC » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:45 pm

Alright, I am going to REPHRASE my original reply.

The controller is not a computer in the sense that one can access it's functions and surf the net with, or download/upload harmful data to the 'device'.

It is a closed system and not open to general use as office or home computers are.

They also have no IP address to locate said controller via the internet as well, and IF there is one, again, it's NOT available for public 'surfing'.

The term 'computer' is homogenous at the very least, covering many forms of digital control and access, with the majority used for internet access and networking in a business environment, as it is designed to be utilized in that fashion.

Controllers of any type, make or design are not, they are application specific and even if you could surf onto a site controller, the data would not be readable through Linux, Winblows or Redhat Etc...

The mere presence of integrated circuits and support logic operated by a software platform for specified tasks, does not make said controller a computer, but a logic control unit, but with more functionality than a typical dumb terminal or even an MDT.

None of the site controllers are connected to the outside world, they are all closed systems, controlled by a single entity at the least.

I would be willing to place bets that I could blow the entire computer clause away by simple deductions in logic, and operation.

Is the controller a computer?

Yes, but only to the extent it's functions are derived through digital signals.

Is the controller accessible via the internet?

No, it is a closed system-absolutely.

What other functions, aside from rudimentary system control does this controller provide, relating to external manipulation of its programmed data?

Nothing external, all functions are controlleed within the system, there are no outside access points for entry to the operation of this 'device', except local controls and software upgrades required to provide proper system operation with proper logging and channel steering to name a few, which may also include failsoft operation in case of controller malfunction, but may also include telephone access via specific persons so authorized, with others receiving phone messages only.

Access to the controller is impossible from external sources using the internet, the system was not designed to allow such operations as that is beyond the breadth and scope of the controller's functions and capabilities.

Personal data is not stored on the controller, nor are financial records, birth records or any personally identifiable information, again, these are also beyond the scope of the controller's functions and operation.

Arguing if this is not a computer to a lay person is simple.

Convincing them it is, is likewise just as simple.

The final task would be to prove injury, and at what level.

Did access to this controller and system suffer failure due to tampering?

Was there other physical damage sustained by mere access to this controller/system, and if so, to what extent, and can the damage be verified by qualified personnel?

The case can take many twists and turns, and the outcome will of course, be just as difficult to understand.

We all suffer from spyware, and Microslop even bugs our systems so they 'call home' periodically, I consider that act, a computer crime, because personal data and information relating to me is being stolen witout my knowledge or consent, as well as being used against me.

For this act alone, the 'injury' is real, and the crime is also real, and very easy to determine who is at fault, unlike using an 'unauthorised' trunking system.

There is no injury from simple use, as the authorised users also use the system and their use does not cause injury.

Of course, this only covers simple access and use, it does not take into consideration any jamming, illegal or false emergency calls, which would constitute a genuine injury and harm.

This same case can be used for utility companies that use public safety systems.
They are a 'private' company and not a government entity, but are regulated by said governing body only, so a utility company that uses a public safety system can also be criminalized for this very same act, but never are.....plausible deniability or just plain palm greasing, you choose the path to take.

But as I stated earlier, the systems are taxpayer owned, as is every government system, let's not forget that fact shall we?


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Postby xmo » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:46 pm

This discussion promises to head in the same direction as the Nick radios thread with outhouse "lawyers" making all sorts of declaratory statements.

I have not spoken with any of the board's administrators, but I really doubt if they want this thread to turn into a multi-page debate so please only post if you have FACTS to contribute such as results of other court cases.

Debating whether or not a trunked radio system is a computer system or opinions on whether or not programming a radio on a trunked system constitutes "computer" trespass serve no useful purpose.

It is a dangerous practice that in SOME cases could result in prosecution - hence CANNOT be recommended on this board.

Simple advice - unless you have permission from the System Administrator - DO NOT program a radio to access any trunked system.

How hard is that??

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Postby billy7834 » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:49 pm

OK....What about someone who programs up a 2-way to RX & TX on a conventional system (not a trunked system) for which they are not authorized....How is that different or is it?

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Postby MTS2000des » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:56 pm

programming conventional radios on conventional systems is a different issue than programming a trunking radio on a closed system with a system key. So long as you are using legally obtained software, there is nothing wrong with programming conventional channels in a radio. You'd be stupid to program TX channels and tones unless your authorized or licensed on those channels, as you are solely responsible for the proper operation of your equipment.
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Postby escomm » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:58 pm

billy7834 wrote:OK....What about someone who programs up a 2-way to RX & TX on a conventional system (not a trunked system) for which they are not authorized....How is that different or is it?

You certainly don't need a license to receive conventional radio transmissions, however if you try to transmit you may run afoul of the FCC if you are not properly licensed and transmitting on an unauthorized system is considered willful interference which is punishable by the FCC as well (big $$$$ forfeitures & notices of liability).

Now if you transmit on Public Safety/Federal Government freqs you open a whole new can of worms, but the odds are you'll be going into either state or Federal court for that. Do a google search Jack Gerritsen for more info, he is a whacker here in LA that has been jamming the freqs of police (and annoying the piss out of just about every ham system) with his anti-government broadcast tirades. He's already been convicted, btw, and had a seizure of more than $100k from the FCC, if all goes well he'll be sentenced in mid-August.

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Postby AEC » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:58 pm

Simple advice - unless you have permission from the System Administrator - DO NOT program a radio to access any trunked system.

This is a good 'rule' to go by, regardless of opinions posted here.

It is the same as: If it's not yours, don't play with it.


*The office of the devil's advocate is now closed*

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Postby escomm » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:59 pm

Ha, it's funny how many different ways we all tried to say that this in this thread.

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Postby AEC » Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:12 pm

I just want to see an end to it...

It really doesn't affect me in the least actually, but if I did have a 'need' to use such a system for a valid emergency, I surely would without hesitation.

:roll:

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Postby thebigphish » Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:26 pm

AEC wrote:I just want to see an end to it...

It really doesn't affect me in the least actually, but if I did have a 'need' to use such a system for a valid emergency, I surely would without hesitation.

:roll:


You're f*****g kidding, right? If you are an unauthorized user on a radio system, then you have no reason to have a radio programmed for that particular system. You stated the same in a previous post about having auth from the SysAdmin, yet here you say you have a NEED to use it in a 'valid emergency'? Get real. The radio system is there so that the people who need it can do the job they need it to do. If something happens, like a cop getting shot (god forbid) and you whip out your ub3r l33t astro that you hacked the key into and you key up and you start yapping that a cop got shot...guess what you are doing? You are inhibiting the people who depend on that radio to PREVENT things like "more cops getting shot". I would love to hear your definition of a 'valid emergency' that would justify you accessing a system you are not a real user of? I don't care (and the judge, jury and executioner won't give two s**ts either) if you have been scanning this radio system for 15 years and know the ins and outs, and all the lingo...it's a closed system for you. You shouldn't be on it. Ever. Do the cops issue you a radio for your town when you pay your tax bill? No. Lookee-no-touchy.

Valid emergency? If your the only one there who sees it going down, call on your damn cell phone. If there is a bunch of people on their cells, don't tie up the comms 911 staff with your call reporting the same damn thing. You have NO REASON to be TX'ing on their system.

AEC wrote:It really doesn't affect me in the least actually, but if I did have a 'need' to use such a system for a valid emergency, I surely would without hesitation.


This quote disappoints me, and scares me at the same time.

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Postby alex » Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:47 pm

I'm with XMO on this thread -

I'd like people to remember something: Do not take legal advice from a message board on the internet.

The court case has been discussed before - and there were other issues at hand (e.g. using federal funds earmarked for certain purchases, making those purchases at 10% of the amount of money recieved - and then having a hay day with the rest...

Buy a scanner.

Keep in mind also that A LOT of the people who RUN these systems actually READ this board, know all the same tricks that you know to put your radio on to their TRS - and will have even more of a hay day hauling your ass in to court over it and holding up a thread prooving your intent.

Did I say buy a scanner yet?

Grem's post that started this thread is simple and to the point -

With that - if you have valid discussion on the topic - go forth.

However, lets keep the stuff on topic - we can skip the rest of the discussions on the points made by thebigphish - take that to PM's if you really want to debate it.

Thanks Guys.
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Postby MTS2000des » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:39 pm

and of course those same system admins on these forums make it their business inhibiting those illegally programmed radios affiliating on their systems, rendering your 500-1500 dollar "scanner" a paperweight...never heard of a Pro96 or BC396 being inhibited have you?
The views here are my own and do not represent those of anyone else or the company, the boss, his wife, his dog or distant relatives.

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Postby AEC » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:00 am

Valid points all...if you plays the game, you takes your chances.


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Postby bellersley » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:49 pm

Except that an inhibited radio can be revived in a few minutes. As for the "buy a scanner" line... I'd be willing to place money that some of you who preach that infact use Motorola gear to monitor, without permission.

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Postby 60A » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:25 pm

I think we've established the reason to buy a scanner. I say its time to move along folks, nothing more to see here :lol:

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Us as a crowd...

Postby Tom in D.C. » Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:00 pm

...except that we're all morbidly curious, just like any crowd.
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Postby bellersley » Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:15 pm

I just can't look away!!!

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Postby Pj » Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:36 pm

One small point about tx for conventional systems stated above...

There is in the FCC rules and regs somewhere (don't have it in front of me) that prohibits a TX frequency in your radio if your not suppose to have it. It might have been pointed specifically to public safety, but I think it was an all encompassing rule (reguardless of service).

So for whatever reason you find yourself on the other end of a mircoscope, this is one more little tool that can be used against you when your radio's and orifaces are being examined.

Oh, and buy a scanner. Their cheaper.
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Postby escomm » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:03 pm

Pj wrote:One small point about tx for conventional systems stated above...

There is in the FCC rules and regs somewhere (don't have it in front of me) that prohibits a TX frequency in your radio if your not suppose to have it. It might have been pointed specifically to public safety, but I think it was an all encompassing rule (reguardless of service).

Nobody said anything was wrong about having the TX freq programmed in... the problems arise when you actually transmit on those freqs, thus causing willful interference :D

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Postby fogster » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:07 pm

Is this the same case where someone in the fire department bought used radios for his department and programmed them himself because of a funding crisis? Or am I mixing things up?

I really wish we knew more: was "compromising... the secure system" using encryption keys they weren't supposed to have, or merely using a trunked radio system without permission? Anyone in Michigan know if you can get the transcripts of court decisions online?

As a taxpayer, I have a right to listen to any trunked radio system I choose, it's paid for with my money, so it falls under 'property rights' as well, as does driving these days, so if I choose to load up a radio with the entire fleet map, so be it.


By that logic, don't you have 'property rights' to top-secret military secrets? While trunked radio system information is obviously not the same as nuclear secrets, the logic is still the same.

next people will be saying "you cant inhibit someone elses radio, that would be illegal and they could sue you for damaging their property". Oh wait.. nevermind.


Not only are you not causing physical damage, but you're merely asking the radio if it would, please, inhibit itself, and the radio complies. ;)

I wonder how the system key thing would hold up If you used lab, which does not require a key to work.


I know Depot is considered a proprietary trade secret or the like. Is Lab the same way?

someone, somewhere, needs to produce the aforementioned scanner.. maybe even Piexx-style on a Maxtrac or Spectra platform.


Couldn't someone, conceivably, take one of the aforementioned radios and hack the innards (hardware) to completely disable its transmit ability? Then you'd essentially have an ASTRO Spectra 'scanner' that couldn't affiliate with the network if it tried.

Is the controller accessible via the internet?


Couldn't it be, conceivably? Surely you can't just pull up http://www.MyCounty'sTrunkedSystem.com/SecretAdminPage, but isn't it conceivable that some management functions can be done via VPN, rather than someone having to physically access the controller all the time?

And I think you could argue that, by virtue of being connected to a radio, it's not 'closed.'

the data would not be readable through Linux, Winblows or Redhat Etc...


My knowledge of TRS controllers is only slightly above nill, but if they're running Solaris as was described, it's 100% feasible that their data can be accessed from any of those. (Unless they're running a Sun-proprietary filesystem like ZFS...)

They also have no IP address to locate said controller via the internet as well


When I first turn my computer on, it doesn't have an IP either, until my DHCP server gives it one. It's still a computer on a network, though.

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Postby bellersley » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:36 pm

It is very easy to totally disable transmit of ANY kind, regardless of what others without the know how tell you. The issue isn't so much transmitting as it is having the ability to program and the like.

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Postby bellersley » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:45 pm

Bottom line... If you have to ask how to program any given system or how to disable transmit, buy a scanner. If you have the know how to do this stuff right, you know enough to keep it to yourself.

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Postby JAYMZ » Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:51 am

And the morale of the story is....

BUY A SCANNER

If you have a legitimate need to be a on a system with a radio, it will be issued to you.
JAYMZ

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Postby motorola_otaku » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:09 am

JAYMZ wrote:BUY A SCANNER

SCANNERS ARE SH*T.

I'm not saying that out of whackerism or Motosnobbery either, nor am I attempting to argue legality. It's the God's truth. I'll say it again: this argument wont die until someone, be it Uniden or GRE or whoever produces a scanner that can hold a candle to a commercial radio. If one came out today priced at $1,000, I'd sell as many Astro radios as it took to get one.

Now before getting all irate, think for a second. Rebanding is coming down, right? That will put all of Nextel, the biggest source of interference to any 800 MHz radio, above and away from anything you'd want to listen to with a scanner, thereby simplifying the design of things like helical filters for the front end and lowering cost. Now couple that with the massive demand such a product would have. As bellersley pointed out, there are organizations such as news media outlets and towing companies with, let's say "vested interests" in monitoring public safety.. and deep pockets. I personally know of one such organization that would drop a cool $10,000 or more to completely outfit their scanner room with such a radio. Then you have the small, but noteworthy group of hardcore hobbyists to whom dropping a grand on a XTS is nothing. You think they wouldn't mind swapping their 10-talkgroup scan lists for 100+ talkgroups at a time plus FPP if it didn't mean a reduction in receive quality?

If it comes down to it, I'm all for circulating a petition and sending it to some Uniden and GRE bigwigs (doesn't one of the Uniden guys hang out over at Radioreference anyway?) Hell, I'll even write the damn thing up if people indicate willingness to sign it.

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Postby Victor Xray » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:56 am

Oh man, make it stop!
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Yes Otaku you are correct 100%, but that's a topic for an entirely new discussion.


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