Roadwolf's portal for his random thoughts and ponderings

OpenSky Network failing?

The OpenSky Network is a statewide cell site based emergency communications system.  The system is a brand new style of digital encrypted communications which would be 'unhackable' and 'unmonitorable'.  NY State launched this 2 billion dollar program to install repeaters in townships across the state following the 9/11 attacks.  The idea was that it would provide a 'secure' and connected system which ALL agencies could all access, no matter where they are in in the state.  The system also offers the flexability to connect all the agencies together and interlink them at the press of a button. This all sounds great private and secure wireless communications for the emergency services.  But at what cost?  So far 2 billion dollars in physical cash, and the system has only been set up in 2 counties, including Erie county (even though Buffalo emergency services turned down the offer to be part of the system).    But also how about volunteers and people who are do-gooders?  how will they be able to assist the police if the communications are totally encrypted.  I suppose you could argue that alot of private information gets put over the airwaves.  But I stand by the Canadian legislation which states that the airwaves are public property and nothing said over them is to be deemed private or secure. Now why NY State decided to go with OpenSky is likely because it was a brand new system, and is very secure.  No one knows how to decrypt it yet, and they likely never will.  Motorola, a longstanding trusted radio brand, has several proven digital radio systems which have proven to be effective at covering areas larger then NY State in a digital secured environment.  Granted, it is still digital, and encrypted, which means most people cant listen, which is secure enough.  But the hard core scanner buffs and ham radio operators all have the encryption keys and are able to listen at will.  But that is only because someone leaked the keys. OpenSky is yet unproven. and will likely remain so.  It seems that testing of the system in operation in Erie county has turned up MANY unexpected major problems, and the system will most likely not be ready for the August 29th due date.  State officials (source: Buffalo News) suggest that if it is not ready in time, they will terminate the contract.  Thus ending the reign of OpenSky. I would gladly help advise the state in a system, and my recomendation would be a Motorola trunked digital system.  With this system, it allows all communication to be digital, but you can select or turn encryption on and off at will, when you are sending private information.  This still enables volunteers with digital scanners to monitor critical calls, while ensuring the privacy of the secured and encrypted information. Motorola is a tried and tested brand which is not prone to failures. Down with OpenSky (sorry M/A Com, but it obviously has some flaws)!!! And as an aside, I do not believe any so called 'terrorists' would really care what gets said over a radio system before or after an attack.  We seem to think that they are not human and not capable of outsmarting us.  If someone wanted to blow something up, I am sure they would find a way.  A multibillion dollar radio system will NOT stop them.

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