Always keeping an eye on the ongoing process of police channel encryption in the US we found an interesting article this morning about a lawsuit being filed against Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway and Russellville police departments.

police car lights

The blocking of police transmissions has been fought before but what makes this case unusual is that its being bought by 2 private individuals instead of the media corporations who rely so much on the up to date information a police scanner brings them.


Brothers Jeremy and Brandon Mullens say the lost access to police channels has effected their work and general safety. Brandon used to avoid traffic by listening in to police reports and they both feel they would be safer knowing about serious police incidents in their area first hand and as it happens.

Both very valid concerns but the one thing that caught our eye was the statement by Jeremy that despite research he couldn’t find any evidence that any police officers had ever been hurt or killed because criminals were tracking what the police were doing by using a radio scanner.

We have a major problem with this statement and as much as we feel losing all the EMS traffic we enjoy will seriously damaged the radio scanner hobby this has got to be a flawed argument.

How can you be positive that knowledge of those trying to arrest you hasn’t caused harm to a police office some point down the line?. If an injured office (or worse) has resulted in criminals escaping you can never say for sure if there was any radio scanner use involved in the incident.

As much as its good to see the public taking a stand against encryption we have a feeling this argument is going to get ripped apart very quickly.

End Result?

Dealing of this kind with law and order issues makes them notoriously hard to track while the process is going on unless you have some direct involvement. Even then there’s only so much that can be brought to the light of day while the process is still going on.

That said we’ll be keeping a very close eye on how this turns out as it will have wider implications for the whole fight against police channel encryption with any positive outcome for the two brothers making the situation even more complicated for all involved.

The original article and a short video of the brothers can be found over at

Police Lights Courtesy of Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

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4 Responses to Police Face Lawsuit Over Encryption

  1. Scanner1 says:

    The Mullens lawsuit was dismissed Jan 13, 2015.

    • On Channel says:

      Thanks for the update Scanner1.

      It comes as no surprise it turned out this way and I fear it will set a trend for all possible future challenges.

  2. Jared says:

    If people would stop “streaming” police traffic for anyone with a smartphone or computer to hear, then there wouldn’t be nearly as much encryption, but they are too ignorant to believe it

    • On Channel says:

      I sort of see where your coming from Jared, if listening to the emergency services wasn’t so easy maybe the rush to encryption wouldn’t be that hasty.

      Saying that though (and seeing it from the other side of the argument), if people are using what they hear to get around the law I don,t think just taking all the apps away and stopping the online services is going to help as they,ll just go and buy a scanner.

      The world is just becoming more security aware and unfortunately this side of our hobby is collateral damage.

      That reminds me I must try to find out how these brothers are getting on with there challenge and update this post.

      Thank you for your comment

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