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East Anglian Radio Services Wireless since 1980
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How Secure do we need to be?

The Data Protection Act 1998 in it’s current form requires organisations and businesses to take steps to protect data – the area that concerns us is the safe keeping of data. Any organisation using radio equipment needs to understand that interception of their messages, even accidentally, would not meet the requirement for keeping data safe and secure.

Simple information, perhaps delivery information that lists name and addresses could potentially cause problems. As an example the simple message “Mr Smith, 32 Block Rd, Anytown – he wants his flat screen TV collecting this afternoon – he will be out until 4pm”. The issues with this kind of message are quite obvious, the property will contain expensive goods, and will not be occupied!

Personal information is even more sensitive. Chemists deliver medicine to homes nowadays, and if they use radio systems is it acceptable for these messages to be available to a casual listener?

Safety and Security

Shops and businesses who move money or valuable goods also need to keep things private. Amusement arcades, for example may well use the radios to report certain machines have not been emptied, or cashiers may tell the office their till is nearly full - these things are not meant to be public information.

Young People and Vulnerable Adults

Schools and Educational establishments have even tighter rules on protecting the information they hold on their pupils and students, yet they also use radio equipment on a daily basis. Names and other sensitive information need to be passed from location to location. Children under 16 and adults potentially at risk need additional protection in today’s society.

Radios are in common useage in schools. Apart from the obvious messages to the site staff, they are now used to inform staff that pupils will be late, and why and internal private matters are routinely passed from person to person. Discipline matters with pupil names are another common use for radios. Many schools now have access controls that require details to be passed to another location before pupils and contractors can gain access, or exit the premises. Very often these schools have well developed provacy policies, yet happily transmit personal details that can be heard by anyone who bought a cheap portable radio from the local electronics retailer.

Clearly, some extra level of security is required to prevent these messages becoming public, and keeping them private.

Privacy and safety are really important nowadays.

The same privacy and safety concerns apply to colleges, hospitals, care providers and other establishments where a duty of care needs to be provided.