|A common question that we get is "what can I legally scan?" You'll be happy to know that it is legal to listen to almost every transmission your scanner can receive. You can hear police and fire departments, ambulance services, government agencies, private companies, amateur radio services, aircraft, and military operations.
However, there are some electronic and wire communications that are illegal to intentionally intercept. These include: telephone conversations (cellular, cordless, or other private means of telephone signal transmission), pager transmissions, and scrambled or encrypted transmissions. According to the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), as amended, you could be fined and possibly imprisoned for intentionally listening to, using, or disclosing the contents of such a transmission unless you have the consent of a party to the communication (unless such activity is otherwise illegal). These laws change from time to time and there might be state or local laws that also affect legal scanner usage. You should check with law enforcement officials or a store in your area for information about local restrictions.