As NYPD moves to encrypt its radios, groups tell City Council press access is vital

The Deadline Club joined several other press organizations on Nov. 20 in making its case to the New York City Council for continued press access to police radio transmissions as the NYPD moves to encrypt them. A New York Police Department official told a joint hearing of the council’s Committees on Public Safety, Technology and Government Operations that the encryption conversion was already in progress and slated for completion by December 2024. A decision on press access would be made by then, he said. The press groups, loosely organized as the New York Media Consortium, said real time access to the transmissions was essential so that responsible news organizations could warn New Yorkers about active crime scenes and thwart the spread of misinformation. Some consortium members testified in person. The Deadline Club submitted written testimony. Read testimony [PDF attachment]

Aware of the encryption plans, consortium members, including the Deadline Club, met with NYPD officials on Jan. 12, 2023 in hopes of working out a mutually agreeable arrangement that would keep legitimate journalists and news organizations in the real-time radio transmission loop. One approach we suggested was to stream police transmissions through an online app, as some cities have done, where access could be restricted and include journalists. The NYPD asked us to make our case in writing, which we did in a Feb. 20, 2023, brief. After that, the NYPD broke off communication with the consortium. Read the brief. [PDF attachment]

Separately, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris filed a bill in November that would require all state law enforcement agencies to include the press in their encrypted transmissions, with a delay of no more than 10 minutes for the public.

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