All major communication of emergency respondents in Iceland is unprotected and accessible on the internet about six minutes after it takes place, RÚV reports. This came to light last night after a hacker was able to access a code revealing this communication. The only way to prevent such a leak is through encryption.
Emergency communication often involves sensitive personal information, making a leak quite serious. Yesterday, as soon as a link was distributed to the website where the communication can be listened to, police began the process of encryption. Still, that link had been accessible for a long time to those who were familiar with it.
Þórhallur Ólafsson, CEO of the Emergency Line, which operates the National Tetra Telecommunication Service, reports that the Emergency Line was ready last spring for encryption by the police.
He said this hacking incident was a wakeup call and that the police had reacted much too late.
Þórhallur denies the claim of some telecommunication specialists that despite encryption, the Tetra Service could be listened into.
Yesterday, Landspítali University Hospital stopped communicating with ambulance drivers and paramedics through the Tetra Service, and Fire Chief Viðar Matthíasson stated that fire fighters have changed their means of communication until encrypted methods of communication are available from the Emergency Line.