Leadership

Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1997 may affect scanner use

Issue 11 and Volume 150.

Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1997 may affect scanner use H.R. 2369, the Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1997, introduced by Rep. W. J. “Billy” Tauzin (LA), may significantly affect the way volunteer firefighters have been receiving information about local emergencies, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) recently warned. The objective of the measure is to strengthen and clarify [prohibitions] on electronic eavesdropping. But, the NVFC points out, “it goes beyond this purpose and would effectively shut down the scanner industry and potentially make felons out of anyone who uses a scanner or shortwave radio. Many volunteer emergency response personnel rely on scanners for information on how to respond–for example, whether to respond to the station or the incident scene (they can hear whether the apparatus has left the station). In many cases, banning scanners would leave many volunteers without communications or force them to buy expensive nonscanning radios, which…

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