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Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

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Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby dborg » Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:00 pm

Hello everyone,
I am going to be that guy and beat a dead horse (also known as, "Is it legal to decode pager data").
More specifically, is it legal to forward a decoded message to email or TXT if you do not have permission by the agency issuing the page?

We all know that there are services out there that offer pager to text functionality, but what is the legal constraints (ie: can someone legally set up a decoder to listen to a capcode that is pre-programmed into a pager that was given to him/her and if it is legal is it also legal to forward that message on to the user via another communication method like email, txt, IM)?

Lastly if the above is still legal, is it also legal to forward that message on to another person that also has a pager provided with the same capcode?

Sorry if this causes a storm and thanks in advance! :D
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby xtl-kindaguy » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:34 pm

Guys, Correct me if im wrong,

My understanding is, You can decode the messages as long as you don't act on those messages like start a webpage or emailing service other people can subscribe to.
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby alinco21 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:40 pm

sounds about right, I think is is either in the Radio Comms ACT or legislation. Something about gain based on what you hear. Not sure on how Tow Trucks and News services get around it at all.
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby peteramjet » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:42 pm

alinco21 wrote:sounds about right, I think is is either in the Radio Comms ACT or legislation. Something about gain based on what you hear. Not sure on how Tow Trucks and News services get around it at all.

There is no such section or restriction in Australia. It's one of those 'old wives tales' of scanning that doesn't exist.

Pagers have always been slightly different however as many used to form part of telephone systems, on which there were restrictions. Unlikely this is still the case today.
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby Vkfour » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:19 am

Until recently, I was a practising barrister, (no longer practising due to chronic laziness syndrome), and have previously given professional comment and advice in this forum. Some people have accepted the advice, and some people haven’t and it makes me wish I had charged a fee, and then they may have listened! None the less, sometime we have to tell people things that they don’t want to hear, and that is called life.

My wife doesn’t like me to get involved in some of the debates here because she says that I get too excitable, and annoy her, the later of which I see as my role in life anyway, so here we go. Also, it’s a bit like a retired race horse that just can’t help galloping along when the see younger horses running, and this is an entirely relevant observation given that today is Melbourne Cup Day!

It is perfectly legal to listen to anything your heart desires to listen to provided that what you are listening too is not specifically prohibited. It is illegal to listen to anything that is connected to a public telephone service. It is also perfectly legal to record anything you hear, but it is illegal to rebroadcast anything you hear without the permission of the station, or stations from which the broadcast originated. The media do have permission to rebroadcast very small amounts of other transmissions, but the amount of time is measured in seconds.

On the subject of financial gain, provided you are not intercepting a service that you would normally have to pay for, there is no problem. Of course there are moral and ethical considerations to consider, and depending on what you choose to share, there could very well be legal ramifications.

At this point in time, it is not illegal to stream communications via the Internet as that is not excluded by law, yet.
And speaking of media, don’t forget that your local radio station is broadcasting stuff that is considered intellectual material and subject to copyright, so you can’t rebroadcast that, although the word intellectual may well be improperly used when you consider what is being broadcast!

There is an awful lot more that can be said about this, but seeing as this is in the pager and pager technologies section, I shan’t go on, but to say that unless the pager is connected to a public telephone service, it is perfectly legal to monitor it, for now at least, and I don’t believe that any of the pagers of interest are.

On checking this epistle, and checking on the original question, whilst it is not illegal to stream the data, or forward it by sms or e-Mail, forwarding it to another pager via radio would most certainly be illegal, on several grounds including the legality of having the equipment to do so.
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby dborg » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:07 am

Firstly,
Thanks for everyone's feedback so far :)

Vkfour wrote:Until recently, I was a practising barrister...
On checking this epistle, and checking on the original question, whilst it is not illegal to stream the data, or forward it by sms or e-Mail, forwarding it to another pager via radio would most certainly be illegal, on several grounds including the legality of having the equipment to do so.

Thank you very much Vkfour sharing your knowledge and understanding.

The reason why I asked this question is because I read that there was a person in VIC that had a private service that they ran for free which enabled Page to Email as CFA brigades did not have enough pagers to go around to all their crew (this acts like a stop-gap and helps deliver the message to more members, faster and more conveniently compared to calling members).

This brought up concerns for not only myself but any person who volunteers (in the emergency services) their time and/or money (let's face it volunteers still spend their own money on providing goods/services to their brigade or it's membership, no matter how big or small) in trying to support their brigade or district by finding ways to help get those volunteers to the job.

From what I have heard, the safest option (in the legal sense), aside from killing off the pager forwarding is to restrict the content that is being sent to the end user (eg: if it was a fire brigade: instead of sending full incident details, just send an email when their capcode is triggered stating that they have a page and to either attend station or contact their officer).

Thanks again for the information and hopefully your wife doesn't get annoyed based on this thread :P
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby Vkfour » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:05 am

Doesn't matter, my wife is a solicitor and is going to be annoyed when she gets home anyway because she went to work and I didn't.
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby Phantom » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:14 am

Vkfour wrote:Doesn't matter, my wife is a solicitor and is going to be annoyed when she gets home anyway because she went to work and I didn't.


You can't win them all :)
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Re: Pager Decoding - Legal or Illegal?

Postby Pumper_50 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:38 pm

Phantom wrote:
Vkfour wrote:Doesn't matter, my wife is a solicitor and is going to be annoyed when she gets home anyway because she went to work and I didn't.


You can't win them all :)

He'd settle for just one win I reckon.

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