Main forum to discuss RTL-SDR related topics.
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The relevant statue is:slava wrote:Is it legal to decode POCSAG in New York ?
FEDERAL - 18 USC 2510 et seq aka ECPA or Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Monitoring COMMERCIAL PAGERS aka those on 929-932Mhz mostly, there are still some in the 454MHz and a few in the 15xMHz like 152.480, 157.740 and a few others.
These use POCSAG and Flex.
DECODING THESE is DEFINITELY ILLEGAL. Period. Full Stop.
There are/were several cases in your area NY & NJ about certain monitoring groups which had cloned pagers for various PD/FD agencies and using software that would decode POCSAG to get alert and more info on incidents in the area, and then sending out pages of their own on their own group page.
Now... where some things start to become grey.. is PUBLIC SAFETY using POCSAG or Flex to send dispatches ON PUBLIC SAFETY frequencies. My area uses it for the RIP & RUN data. Trust me the info that goes out on that channel is DETAILED.. name, address, ages, conditions, all kinds of stuff. Its piped right out of CAD!
The ECPA made it clear that monitoring PUBLIC SAFETY was LEGAL, so long as its not encrypted, and POCSAG and Flex are not encrypted. I know of a few places that supposedly offer encrypted paging to meet HIPPA etc... I've NEVER SEEN ANY in the WILD. Doesn't mean it doesn't or can't exist. It requires devices that support it. I know of a couple.
So is it legal to monitor this paging??? Questionable.... While not commercial, the stuff that goes out on my agencies channels is DEFINITELY HIPPA related.. but same with the stuff on a CLEAR channel... The agency just doesn't think that some one is going to put SDR's into use pipe it to multimon-ng and watch the fun. Or program their own pager(s) to be alerted for the stations around them.