The NYPD is set to fully encrypt its radio broadcasts by the end of next year as part of a nearly $400 million planned system upgrade.
That means journalists — and the public — would be blocked from the radio channels, raising concerns about transparency and press freedom, the New York Post reports.
The NYPD’s massive network of radio communications is expected to go dark by the end of 2024 as the department switches from an analog to a digital network, according to Chief of Information Technology Robert Beltran.
Beltran said the switch was necessary to protect officers and the personal details of crime victims, arguing during the hearing that the police department can be trusted to get important information out to the public in a timely manner.
“The department provides information to reporters many times a day every day. We also have hundreds of digital media officers assigned to precincts that are also updating information on social media in real time,” he said.