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In Star Trek: Generations, the Duras sisters rig Geordi's visor with a camera so that they can find out the ship's "Shield Modulation". Once they have this number, they can set their torpedoes/disruptors to match it and shoot straight through the Enterprise's shields.

Is it ever established what this number means? Why have a specific frequency or whatever that allows people to shoot through your shields?

The best I can come up with is that you need to set your own torpedoes to this frequency so you can shoot out through your own shields, but is this backed up by anything? It also seems strange they'd display such a number - which is the equivalent of a password to your ship - so prominently on the screen. Also, if this were the case, then surely if the Duras' changed their weapons to match the Enterprise's shield modulation, they wouldn't be able to shoot through their own shields.

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Why have a specific frequency or whatever that allows people to shoot through your shields?

Because that's how shields work. It's an inherent flaw in the technology. Ideally you would want to rotate the frequency all the time but I assume there are drawbacks to this approach and you would never expect your enemy to know or guess your exact shield frequency, which would be a statistical impossibility.

The best I can come up with is that you need to set your own torpedoes to this frequency so you can shoot out through your own shields

It is rather "EM polarization" that allows the ship to fire through its own shields. I think it's implied that shields are essentially one-way as far as weapons fire.

As to why the frequency is displayed on the monitor, who would you want to hide it from? Engineering is already a highly restricted area. What would be gained by hiding this information? There is no doubt a ton of sensitive information being displayed on the monitors in engineering at any given time.

Source: The TNG Technical Manual

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    Starfleet vessels (And I assume other fleets) can merge shields if the frequencies are matched as well. – JohnP Jul 3 '18 at 16:11

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