Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Communications Crime Encryption Technology

"Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions 215

schwit1 writes A Dutch company has introduced a detection system that can alert you if a police officer or other emergency services official is using a two-way radio nearby. Blu Eye monitors frequencies used by the encrypted TETRA encrypted communications networks used by government agencies in Europe. It doesn't allow the user to listen in to transmissions, but can detect a radio in operation up to one kilometer away. Even if a message isn't being sent, these radios send pulses out to the network every four seconds and Blu Eye can also pick these up, according to The Sunday Times. A dashboard-mounted monitor uses lights and sounds to alert the driver to the proximity of the source, similar to a radar detector interface.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

"Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

Comments Filter:
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:39AM (#48239837) Journal
    How do you say "My pig sense is tingling." in Dutch?
  • someohow I think (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:42AM (#48239847) Homepage

    our police overlords will have this banned very quickly. Imagine a network of these in a city that can update a location map in realtime. Remember, just because the cops are public officials operating in public doesn't mean they think the public has a right to know about anything they are doing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't get why anyone would care if its banned. You can still buy something like a SDR radio dongle for around $20, and, with the right software it could do the exact same thing.

    • They don't have to ban them, they can ask for money to either cover urban areas with simple beacons overwhelming the "system", or even better, have a fleet of drones circling around making these things go "bong" completely randomly...
    • Eh, radar detectors are only illegal in a few places, and they mostly exist to flout the law too.

      • by Cabriel ( 803429 )

        Not that most police forces use radar, anymore. They use laser-detectors that are pointed directly at the people being measured. That means you only detect the signal once you've been scanned, so your detector will tell you basically whether or not to expect a ticket in the mail, or whether or not you should expect to be pulled over in the next few seconds.

      • they are illegal in most of Europe, which is why this company went through the trouble to make "Cop Detectors".

        No, they can't and won't ban these, since they are passive receivers and they detect *any* emergency person carrying a radio. I do suspect that the mobile speed trap teams will switch off their 2-way when working and use their cell phones for connecting with home base. Radar detectors only have a single purpose and because of that purpose they get to ban them for "hindring police investigation". Y

    • I understand from the tone of your post that you assume "cops are the enemy" but you'd have to admit that it would make genuine law enforcement rather problematic if anyone could see where police officers are at any time.

      Considering the ratio of police to criminals, the odds that a cop happens to see a person in the act of breaking the law are fantastically low anyway.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't see the problem with knowing where the cops are anyway. Around here anyway, they aren't going to stop real crime, they're too busy hiding in the bushes radaring people in speed traps to actually patrol and possibly prevent a crime. No, they always show up afterwards and tell you what you should have done.

      • Here is the fail in your assumption. Knowing where they are at any given moment only helps you if you are about to mug someone on the sidewalk. Pretty likely if you are a mugger you've already mastered the art of making sure a copper isn't around. The same can be said about most crimes that are expected to take seconds to a couple of minutes.

        You do correctly point out that it is rare that a cop stops a crime as it is in progress, let alone as it is about to take place. In reality, the cops probably d

      • Our rights don't exist solely to make the jobs of law enforcement easier. Indeed, many just make them harder, and that's fine. It's my private property.

    • by azadrozny ( 576352 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @11:05AM (#48240685)

      I am not sure about this. A Federal judge recently found [foxnews.com] that flashing your headlights to warn oncoming drivers of a speed trap, is protected speech under the First Amendment. You could make an argument that these are a group of concerned citizens tracking the activities of their local police, and publishing their findings.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        Makes me glad I never stopped doing it. Sadly, I can't remember the last time I saw anyone else engage in this time honored tradition.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      The reality is that the same service is often used by others as well, not only the police, so the amount of random "noise" and false alarms will make it useless and more like a "fun gadget".

      It would be a lot more interesting if someone found out a way to crack the encryption in a generic way.

    • Once upon a time, back before Reagan promised to "get the government off the backs of the people", there was this thing called the Telecommunications Act of 1935.

      Briefly, it said that it was legal to monitor any unencrypted radion transmission, subject to the restriction that you could not divulge what you heard unless it was specifically broadcast for public consumption (commercial radio, TV, ham traffic and so forth).

      You could learn a lot about how your public services operated by listening to the radio.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:48AM (#48239887)

    like if you are driving 90mph in a state where radar detectors are illegal

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:51AM (#48239913) Homepage
    We've had this technology in the US since around 2006, however it was restricted to trunk/hybrid, or analogue radio systems and came bundled as part of a radio scanner. Scanners in many states are illegal to operate in a motor vehicle, hence the technology never really caught on. its biggest, perhaps only manufacturer, was uniden with their 'beartracker' feature
    in the states many municipalities still use antiquated strobe technology to change traffic signals in the event an emergency vehicle needs to pass. several of our radar detectors alert for these 'strobes' of IR radiation. "Safety radar" was an invention that never saw much usage in the united states but would alert the driver of road hazards and approaching ambulances using dedicated transcievers. its largely been discontinued.

    radios in the United States use APCO P25; this change was made largely after 2001. A digital system, it has cryptographic capability and is best-effort in protocol. Gnu Radio projects to capture and decode the unencrypted traffic are successful, and can yield through data capture, ping latency and triangulation a wealth of information such as who is in a given vicinity, their name, their unit number, the radio MAC address, what shift they work, and even their routes. much of this data wouldnt require 'listening' to the communication at all but is, much to our chagrin as slashdotters im sure, metadata

    http://www.crypto.com/blog/p25... [crypto.com] unrelated but this presentation gives insight into how pointlessly flawed APCO p25 is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Note that no state law against scanners has ever gone to court; the Supreme Court, in the Kentucky Antenna case made it very clear that it is legal to receive any radiation coming through you

    • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

      Not sure about the scanner part. Every car radio I've ever had had a "scan" button on it. I doubt the individual states would make a carve-out for certain frequencies. There may be such laws, but they're probably not enforceable.

    • by rworne ( 538610 )

      Back in the US it existed as far back as 1991. Back then I had a product called a K-40 "Chipsradar". What it did (aside from being a normal radar detector) was detect the handheld radio frequency of the CHP walkie-talkies (1-2 mile range) that linked up with the cars that relayed the transmissions to the station and used the signal strength as a proximity detector. It worked beautifully sniffing out speed traps since at the time CHP did not use radar all that much and would just hide on or behind overpas

  • by AmIAnAi ( 975049 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:57AM (#48239973)
    Surely this is old news, the bad guys in games like GTA have had this tech available for years.
  • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:59AM (#48239993)
    In many places, Ambulances and firefighters are using the same technology. So expect some false positives...
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I do not see that a false positive. It is good to know when an emergency vehicle is near by.

      • So you know if it's worth stabbing someone or starting a fire?

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          No so I have a bit of warning before I hear them. I would love to have an indicator of the direction they are in so I know where to look when I hear them.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Many places have laws that say if an emergency vehicle is coming by with lights and sirens (note "and"), then you are required by law to pull over and allow them to pass.

          It would be helpful to know if the siren you hear (very annoying because in urban areas, sound carries) is on a cross street, a parallel street, or really on your street so you can find a spot to slow down and pull over safely.

          Yes, many emergency services are experimenting with different sounds - the most effective ones appear to be broadba

  • Encrypted? (Score:4, Funny)

    by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @10:02AM (#48240029)

    Blu Eye monitors frequencies used by the encrypted TETRA encrypted communications networks used by government agencies in Europe

    Yeah, but is it encrypted?

    • Blu Eye monitors frequencies used by the encrypted TETRA encrypted communications networks used by government agencies in Europe

      Yeah, but is it encrypted?

      Yes, the detector system detects that the police radio is transmitting, and when it does the metadata of the transmission can still be read (it's packetized transmissions), only the data contents of the transmission are encrypted. This lets the system know that kind of radio transmitted and how strong the signal was, but can not allow the person to listen to what was said. It's like with a VPN, if you snoop the wire you can still tell that two systems are talking, and what the endpoint addresses are, even

    • Yes, with ROT13. (Twice, to be safer).
  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @10:16AM (#48240143) Homepage

    Isn't it easier to just drive carefully, refrain from exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 5-10mph depending on whether you're in town or on a highway, stay in the right lane, avoid tailgating, and use your turn signals? The people who would find this useful are the sort of crazy asshole drivers for whom I used to keep a grenade launcher.

    Unfortunately, my wife took away the M-79 I kept under the dash soon after we got married. Said it made her nervous.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      "The people who would find this useful are the sort of crazy asshole drivers for whom I used to keep a grenade launcher."

      Okay.....
      But this can aid in safe driving. Knowing when an emergency vehicle of any kind is near by can be a very good thing.

      • Looks more like yet another distraction to me. If an emergency vehicle is nearby, the only thing I need to know is whether it's behind me with its lights flashing. If so, I have to get the fuck out of the way. Otherwise, its presence is irrelevant.
        • If an emergency vehicle is nearby, the only thing I need to know is whether it's behind me with its lights flashing. If so, I have to get the fuck out of the way. Otherwise, its presence is irrelevant.

          Really? I rather like to know when one is coming from the opposite direction so I can pull over and stop as the law requires, and so he knows he can turn in front of me if he needs to. I also like to know when one is approaching from either crossing direction at an intersection so I can, again, stop as the law requires and allow him to pass.

          It ain't just the emergency vehicles behind you that you need to look out for.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      If all of that would actually keep you from getting a ticket, it would be great. Too bad it won't in some areas.

    • Isn't it easier to just drive carefully, refrain from exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 5-10mp

      Speed limits are rarely set by how fast you can drive at a safe speed on a given road, rather than arbitrary zoning.

      But even that is following the canard that the only people wanting to know where the cops are are those looking to break the law. In the age of DWB, asset forfeiture, checkpoints, revenue generation, and cops being free to murder innocent people with impunity [cnn.com], that's obnoxiously naive.

      • In the age of DWB, asset forfeiture, checkpoints, revenue generation, and cops being free to murder innocent people with impunity [cnn.com], that's obnoxiously naive.

        If you want to talk about obnoxious naivete, start with yourself if you think this device is going to fix any of the issues you mention.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh.gmail@com> on Monday October 27, 2014 @10:19AM (#48240165) Journal

    I had an idea to build something like this combined with a police scanner using an SDR and a Raspi or similar. And at over 1000 euros for this system, those plans are still looking pretty good.

  • ... can build passive receivers to detect the presence of any radio frequency broadcast.

    Equally do-able is fabricating radio frequency jammers.

    Hell, beginning HAM operators can do this.

    College-level electronic techs can do this.

    If there were any real black market for such devices, they would have been ubiquitous way before now.

    • and typical jammer is very easy to find, you wouldn't believe the severity of punishment either.

  • That a cop goes 10-100.

  • Many might think "hey i can avoid those pigs and break the law!" but if I could know how many and the concentration in an area, that might tell me there's something serious going down somewhere I'm heading that I should avoid.
  • Turnabout is fair play

    Government should fear the citizens, NOT the other way around.

  • For California, at least: CHiPs Detector [stason.org]

  • What a great way to make it look like they are out patrolling an area when they are not. Use simulated signals to herd criminals to a small area and then arrest the lot of them. Convince the perp he is surrounded by officers when in reality there's just a couple of cops. Of course, to make best use of it the authorities must complain about it loudly, thereby publicizing it and making it more desirable to criminals.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"

Working...