When is Public Information Not Really Public???
Good Morning Readers!
Today I was reading an article about the police worrying about criminals using smartphones to listen to their radio traffic, and how this poses a threat to police as criminals are able to get away from the police, or worse, set up an ambush. This article brings up some good points that I would like to talk about.
Where do we draw the line between the flow of public information and blocking of sensitive information? What is considered “public” information, and what defines the criteria?
While serving in the US Navy cryptologic community, I would constantly hear the phrase, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” This means, if you spill the beans about a ship leaving port or alerting someone to where the ship’s port calls will be, you are putting the ship in danger. This concept is called operational security, or simply, OPSEC. The military uses OPSEC to protect unclassified but sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands.
As I have written before, a social engineer can get information out of people to further their cause by conning their mark into revealing personal information and not really knowing it. Spies do the same thing when trying to find out information about other countries.
Back to the article, the police have a right to be worried about this concern. Their operations should not be available to everyone, as the key to their success is typically the surprise factor. If the police are trying to wrangle up criminals, they need to be able to sneak up on the bad guys without fear they are listening in on their transmissions. The police have a right to utilize OPSEC as much as the military does, so why are journalists and radio hobbyists upset about the police moving to encrypt their radios, saying that would “impede the flow of public information?” You see, a police operation is not public until they decide to make it public.
At the end of the day, this all comes down to privacy. What is heard on a radio transmission can impede on the privacy of both the police officers and the alleged criminals. Just food for thought.
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!
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