Edmonton police have moved radio communications to an encrypted system, locking out the public and news media from tuning in through scanners.
The move to the Alberta First Responder Radio Communications System has been years in the making. But when the old system was switched off on Monday, it drew mixed opinions from some civilian listeners.
For Beverly Smith, the scanner radio was often on as a calming reminder that law enforcement was out there protecting the public.
“I feel safer because it actually helps me sleep at night — or it did help me sleep at night,” she said in an interview for CBC’s Radio Active. “Because I knew that the police were on, that they were doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Listening in to unencrypted police communications is not illegal. A community on social media has even sprouted up around eavesdropping on Edmonton’s emergency services and now boasts more than 30,000 Facebook followers.
Athena Peryk, another regular listener, started tuning in to learn what was going on in her south-Edmonton neighbourhood. She supports the move to an encrypted system.
“If I can listen, criminals can listen in too,” she said.
Radio Active5:07Edmonton’s police scanner goes silent
It’s an argument also put forward by the Edmonton Police Service.
“The EPS has identified numerous instances where suspects were monitoring police communications during criminal flights from police or during traffic stops that puts officers at risk,” spokesperson Patrycja Mokrzan said in a statement.
Another reason given is that information from the Canadian Police Information Centre database is sometimes relayed over radio and is a violation of CPIC and EPS policy, which requires an enhanced security clearance to access.
Additionally, the old system was “at its end of life cycle” and was no longer cost effective or completely reliable.
Mokrzan said the final decision to bar access to the public and media outlets was made in early 2020 by the chief’s committee, in consultation with legal advisers. The service has been steadily moving to the new radio system since November 2017, she said.
Issue of secrecy, says expert
Sean Holman, a professor of journalism at Mount Royal University, said the move to encrypted systems is common across jurisdictions in North America.
But Holman, who specializes in accountability in Canadian institutions, said access to police radio is important.
“It’s not simply because we want the salacious details of crimes and police activity,” he said. “It’s because if we do not know what the police are doing, then it is very difficult for the public and the media to hold the police to account for their actions.”
Police services may use other means to inform the public, such as news releases and social media, Holman said, but relying on those communications would reduce the media to “a megaphone for whatever the police wants to tell the public.”
Another reason for the lockout provided by Edmonton police is that personal information, including addresses, names, birth dates and medical information, broadcast over radio is a violation of Alberta privacy laws.
Holman disagrees with that definition of privacy.
“This isn’t a privacy issue at all, this is an issue of secrecy,” he said. “Secrecy happens when the public cannot see what the powerful people are doing — and the powerful include police.”
Holman said that lack of transparency could lead people in public institutions to feel their actions are not being seen and ultimately to corruption and incompetence.
“While this kind of secrecy may protect police in the short run, I think in the long term it is to a certain extent a negative thing.”
A spokesperson for Edmonton Fire Rescue said the service does not have any plans to move to an encrypted system and channels currently available on scanners will remain open.
In Calgary, access to police radio communications has been barred from the public but selectively provided to media outlets.
Indonesia to deport Russian social media star who held party – Delta-Optimist
DENPASAR, Indonesia — A Russian social media celebrity was being deported from Indonesia on Sunday after he held a party at a luxury hotel on the resort island of Bali attended by more than 50 people despite coronavirus restrictions.
The party held on Jan. 11 violated health protocols put in place to fight the spread of the virus, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
Sergei Kosenko, who has more than 4.9 million followers on his Instagram account, arrived in Indonesia in October on a tourist visa.
Immigration officials in Bali decided to examine Kosenko’s activities after he posted to social media a video of him driving a motorcycle with a female passenger on the back off a pier into the sea in December. The stunt was condemned by many Indonesians as reckless and a potentially hazardous to the environment.
Manihuruk said the immigration investigation found Kosenko took part in activities that violated his tourist visa, such as promoting companies and products.
After the announcement of his deportation, Kosenko told reporters at the immigration office in Bali that he was sorry.
“I love Bali. I am sorry and I apologize,” Kosenko said.
The deportation comes just days after Indonesia deported an American woman who had been living on Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated the island as a low-cost, “queer-friendly” place for foreigners to live. Her posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation.
Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands.
Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights recorded 162 foreigners have been deported from Bali in 2020 and 2021. Most of them are being deported for violating the visit visa.
Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
China rescues first person from Shandong gold mine: state media – The Guardian
By Dominique Patton
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese rescuers pulled 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday, 14 days after they were trapped by an underground explosion, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Footage showed the first miner to be rescued, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft in the morning.
The miner was extremely weak, CCTV said on its Weibo site. Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man in a blanket before taking him to hospital by ambulance.
Over the next few hours, 10 miners from a different section of the mine, who had been receiving food and supplies from rescue workers last week, were brought out in batches.
One was injured but several of the others were shown walking, supported by rescue workers and wearing black cloth over their eyes, before leaving the site in ambulances.
Twenty-two workers were trapped about 600 metres (2,000 feet) underground in the Hushan mine by the Jan. 10 blast in Qixia, a major gold-producing region under the administration of Yantai in coastal Shandong province.
One miner has died.
Officials said on Thursday it could take another two weeks to clear “severe blockages” before they could drill shafts to reach the group of 10 who had been receiving supplies of food from the rescue team.
State media said earlier however that the more than 600 rescuers on site were hoping to reach the men in the mine’s fifth section on Sunday.
The men were said to be in good physical condition and had been receiving normal food since Saturday, after several days of living off nutrient solutions, according to Xinhua.
Interactive graphic of mine rescue: https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-ACCIDENT/MINE/xklvylmnbpg/index.html
Graphic: Explosion in a gold mine in northern China’s Shandong province https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-ACCIDENT/MINE/yxmpjynakvr/CHINA-MINE.jpg
(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue, Robert Birsel and Wiliam Mallard)
China rescues first person from Shandong gold mine: state media – TheChronicleHerald.ca
BEIJING (Reuters) – A gold miner was rescued in northern China on Sunday morning and rushed to hospital for treatment, state broadcaster CCTV reported, with footage showing the exhausted miner, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft.
The miner was “extremely weak”, CCTV said on its Weibo site. Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man – who had been trapped 14 days after a mine explosion – in a blanket before taking him away in an ambulance.
Twenty-two workers were trapped in the Hushan mine by the Jan. 10 blast in Qixia, a major gold-producing region under the administration of Yantai in coastal Shandong province.
One miner has died and 11 have not been in contact with rescue teams, according to a Xinhua report from last week.
The rescued miner was found in a different section of the mine from a group of 10 men who have been receiving supplies of food. Officials said on Thursday it could take another two weeks to clear “severe blockages” before they could drill shafts to reach the 10 men.
The People’s Daily reported on its news app, however, that rescuers were hoping to reach the 10 men in the mine’s 5th section on Sunday, citing the military.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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