WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

MPD Chief Not Budging On Scanner Encryption

Play associated audio

D.C.'s police department has decided to encrypt its radio communications, saying too many people can now access those transmissions.
Andrew W. Sieber (http://www.flickr.com/photos/smartjunco/186893581/)
D.C.'s police department has decided to encrypt its radio communications, saying too many people can now access those transmissions.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s decision to encrypt its radio communications sparked immediate criticism from local news organizations and so-called scanner junkies. But as the D.C. Council holds a hearing today on the issue, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier says at this point, there's no turning back.

“We are not going to share the encryption codes," says Lanier. There’s no sense in having encryption if you are going to share the codes."

The police department made the move in September, citing security concerns, as WAMU first reported. Police say the proliferation of smartphones and free web applications that offer scanner feeds has made it easy for anyone, including criminals, to listen to police communications.

But the decision -- and the lack of notice about the move -- rankled news organizations, which for decades have monitored scanners for breaking news and real-time traffic information. Lanier says she's willing to work with the media organizations to help get the word out.

"If I can get the information to the press that the press needs, and we need the press to have, for us all to be effective, then that solves the problem," says Lanier. 

But that means the decision about what is and isn't newsworthy will now rest solely with the police department.

NPR

'Southside With You' Has Us Asking: Where Is The Love In Black Movies?

The movie Southside with You is opening in theaters. The film follows Michelle and Barack Obama's very first date, and shows something we don't get too see too often in film: black romance.
NPR

Ramen Noodles Are Now The Prison Currency Of Choice

Ramen will buy anything from smuggled fruit to laundry services from fellow inmates, a study at one prison finds. It's not just that ramen is tasty: Prisoners say they're not getting enough food.
NPR

Episode 721: Unbuilding A City

Why is it so hard to knock down 17 vacant houses in a shrinking city?
WAMU 88.5

Want To Play Video Games Made In D.C.? Here's Your Chance.

An event called District Arcade brings together 23 locally made video games.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.