BBC takes big sledgehammer to small nerd

Radio scanners 'imperil national security'

Radio scanners are a threat to national security which imperil the lives of the Royal Family and others, thanks to the activities of ne(rd)'re do wells who publicise how to listen into police radio communications.

That's the conclusion of a sensationalist piece by the BBC's Today programme which uses unsourced security service contacts and MPs to vilify Hertford-based radio scanning enthusiast Paul Wey.

Wey has published a list of frequency used by security organisations and police on a Yahoo group in order, he says, to prompt the "authorities to take better care of security", among other reasons.

You may question his actions here, but the BBC has gone over the top in suggesting Wey is a "menace" and that his activities are placing the "safety of the Royal Family and top politicians at risk".

An intelligence source told the BBC that Way's "actions could help terrorists commit atrocities and may have already been used to counter police operations". There's much more along similar lines in an article here, along with calls for the government to consider banning radio scanners form Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes.

Radio scanners are legal, but it's unlawful to listen to private radio communications with a scanner. This is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £500 and confiscation of equipment.

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, if police wish to make sure their communications are secure they should use encryption, a technology that it is provided with the latest generation of police radios, TETRA (a technology whose cost of use gives room for criticism, but that's a different story).

Let's keep thing in perspective. ®

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