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Police Encryption of Radio Communications Raises Accuntability Concerns

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The days of knowing what police officers are up to in Chicago are no more, writes Paige Fry in the Chicago Tribune. Instead, the public zones will be broadcast on a 30-minute delay on Broadcastify. Chicago now joins major cities like Denver, San Francisco, San Jose and Louisville that have moved to fully encrypted channels, serving hits to transparency and accountability since journalists rely on the live scanners to chase news.

The department says the change is in response to rouge radio and illicit public radio usage that put officers’ duty to their work at risk. In Denver, a bill planned to give media access to the encrypted radio, but the police failed to reach an agreement with the news organizations. It’s unclear how the Chicago police may work with the media to uphold transparency and accountability despite the encryption.

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