Legal or not?

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alpine
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Legal or not?

Post by alpine » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:35 pm

Hi all,

It has been suggested by someone that passing on information heard whilst scanning is illegal. I'm not talking about profit making or for use in a crime.

Specifically, a member of the public listening to a DFES channel on a scanner and posting information heard in a Facebook group or page.
E.g. "Firefighters have extinguished the fire on Smith Rd" or "More crews have been requested".

I can't find any reference in the Radiocommunications Act. Can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks :)
Last edited by alpine on Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

yorky
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by yorky » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:09 pm

I'm having trouble finding this myself, and wording like that would be a bit outdated in this modern social media world where information of happenings around you is often beneficial. If any wording like that does exist, it would likely be largely ignored.
"VKI, NJ050 will you be attending the job?"
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alpine
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by alpine » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:43 pm

yorky wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:09 pm
I'm having trouble finding this myself, and wording like that would be a bit outdated in this modern social media world where information of happenings around you is often beneficial. If any wording like that does exist, it would likely be largely ignored.
Thanks. I am of the same thinking

vk6hgr
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by vk6hgr » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:17 pm

This has been going around since Marconi was a boy. There were two reasons that I know of for why people say this:

1. "If we don't make money off of what we hear then we'll be classed as hobbyists and left alone". I'm not a lawyer but this probably has no basis in any law. Mostly an issue from people calling tow trucks on accidents they hear on VKI and claiming a bounty. Obviously, no longer an issue.

2. Old timer amateur radio operators who were made to sign an Official Secrets Act (or similar) declaration when they got their amateur license. Has not been an issue for probably more than half a century.

Assuming you're an otherwise law-abiding citizen, To the best of my knowledge it's not illegal to listen in. The exception is that unless you're listening to a phone call, which is illegal. (but a moot point with modern portable and mobile phones).
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Joshek
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by Joshek » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:44 pm

Would turn-out messages be illegal to post?
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yorky
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by yorky » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:40 pm

Guessing that's via pager message? Anything from telecommunications or something along those lines is a no no.
"VKI, NJ050 will you be attending the job?"
"Negative VKI, my desk is bolted to the floor".
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Joshek
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by Joshek » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:39 pm

No, just turn outs that are broadcasted over the radio. I did that once and someone brought up the Radiocommunications act
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Zebedee
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Re: Legal or not?

Post by Zebedee » Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:08 pm

The reason why it's so hard to find anything is because it's not there.

Again, I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. But I've seen this question come up over and over again through the years. And it's always come down to the same two basic points.

* People make a claim that it's illegal to pass on information heard. They cite their source as "someone", "somewhere" who said "something". It's never first hand info, it's all based on something they were told or read.

* There's nothing at all in any part of the Radiocommunications Act that mentions passing on information received. So using the logic of "if it doesn't say it's illegal, then it isn't"

This means if it's broadcast over a radio system of any kind, it's fair game. With one exception.

Phone calls come under the Telecommunications Act not the Radiocommunications Act. So if a phone call is made over a radio link, both Acts would apply. And whatever is the most restrictive of the two would be the conditions to follow. Intercepting "a phone call" is intercepting a phone call, whether it's done over a radio or other means. And that's generally illegal.

To use the example given, a radio message saying such and such a brigade is turning out to a fire at whatever location would be no problem. No issue in hearing it, no issue in telling others about it.

Hope this helps.
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