NYPD’s Radio Encryption: A Barrier to TransparencyNovember 25, 2023
Mayor Adams, who once declared transparency as his top priority, oversees an NYPD that is moving to encrypt all radio communications, blocking the public from listening to officers. The administration, which values data, should consider that there have been no reported instances of individuals using public police frequencies to evade enforcement or commit crimes. Access to these frequencies has allowed the press and others to observe and record important events in the city, such as the police’s killing of Eric Garner and Amadou Diallo. The NYPD’s move to encrypt radio communications, which already exist for sensitive functions, suggests a desire to operate out of public view and avoid scrutiny. Legislation may be necessary to compel the department to comply and preserve public access with a time lag, while also respecting concerns raised by the NYPD.