Hytera PD405 UHF DMR Digital Radio

A Good Digital Radio for your Schools Data Protection – Hytera Radios

As qualified teachers ourselves, we understand the importance of Safeguarding your students when In Loco Parentis.

In addition to Safeguarding concerns, Schools Data Protection should be paramount for your school, college or other academic institution.

Many of the radios being used in schools and colleges today are risking confidentiality by not being encrypted.

This means that anyone in the area, with cheaply available equipment can listen in to what is being said over your walkie talkie radios.

We offer a free audit to schools in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to check that your radio equipment is not easy to eavesdrop on. This helps with your schools business process improvment plan.

We also can train your staff in the risks and responsibilities that they as radio users need to comply with. This includes the relevant Wireless Telegraphy acts.

We can help you make sure you are providing the best in terms of data security and ensuring the confidentiality of your students.

A radio that we would recommend you consider is the Hytera PD405, or PD755 models.

handheld walkie talkie

Schools radio audit

Radio communications is often used by schools to communicate between the office and the playground, but does it need a free audit ?

Many systems in use can be easily eavesdropped on by strangers, which has possible safeguarding issues.

We are offering schools a free onsite audit of their two-way radio equipment.

To register email:     schools [at] yesway.co.uk

Note: replace the [at] with the @ symbol. We do this to prevent spam bots on the internet.

handheld walkie talkie

Ensuring safeguarding when using radio communications in schools

Radio communications offers schools an essential safety tool, providing instant communication in emergency situations, and can be an important tool for safeguarding.

However many schools do not seem to offer their staff proper training in its use. I have heard a local primary school near me giving out detailed child descriptions, including name and location in the school grounds. This is a potential safeguarding issue.

They have been sold handheld radio equipment by a radio company, more concerned with their bottom line, than safeguarding compliance.

As a head teacher, you need to ask yourself, can others ‘eavesdrop’ on my school communications?

Many professional handheld radio solutions that schools use, are not secure communications, and can easily be listened to.  Are your communications secure?

There are also legal implications to be considered, apart from safeguarding, including the ‘Wireless & Telegraphy’ acts which apply to your staff.

We offer onsite training & equipment reviews to help your school.

(c) Craig Miles 2014-2023

    School child safeguarding safety of radio communications

    Safeguarding Danger

    Safeguarding Danger of Schools Radio Communications Activity, by Craig Miles, P.G.C.E

    Radio communications enable school staff to communicate using devices such as walkie-talkies, however wrong equipment choice can result in breaches of data protection & safeguarding.

    Due to the introduction in the last few years of the licence free radio system, known as ‘PMR 446’ , many schools have chosen these short range handheld radios, as they offer a cost effective solution to their communication needs.

    Professional PMR 446 radios are often advertised as having ‘private channels’, which is reassuring to Head Teachers, who believe that conversations about school business are secure, and free from other users.

    The ‘private channel’ is achieved by one of two techniques, known as CTCSS & DCS. These techniques use special signals to only allow you to hear conversations from radios programmed with the same signal setting.

    It is a misconception that the channel is private, as the speech being transmitted is often unencrypted, and can be heard by anyone monitoring the channel, for instance if they turned their own ‘private channel’ settings off.

    Schools need to check whether their handheld ‘walkie-talkie’ radios are secure, and that their staff are trained in correct usage of radio communications, not only to comply with data protection requirements, but also potential safeguarding danger issues.

    For help with ensuring your schools communications are secure and compliant, complete the enquiry form below.

      Schools radio audit

      Ensuring safeguarding when using radio communications in schools

      A Good Digital Radio for your Schools Data Protection – Hytera Radios

      Written by Craig Miles of  www.Yesway.co.uk  (01522) 740818  © 2013-2023

       
      radio communications services

      School Cybersecurity over Two-Way Radio

      School Cybersecurity over two-way radio is an important, as part of GDPR & Safeguarding.

      Many schools have been sold ‘Walkie Talkies’, and other radio communications devices, through misleading advertising.

      Private Channel

      Private channel is a phrase that we have come across in two-way radio marketing, and its misleading.

      Phrases like private channel, and privacy channels, mean that you aren’t likely to hear anyone else on your chosen channel.

      It doesn’t necessarily mean that eavesdroppers cant listen to your conversations.

      CTCSS & Colour Codes

      CTCSS is short for Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System.

      It is a sub-audible tone that is added to a radio transmission to help reduce interference from other radio transmissions on the same frequency.

      It allows multiple users to share the same frequency without hearing each other’s transmissions.

      CTCSS is  used in analogue two-way radio systems, such as those used by businesses, schools, and public safety organisations.

      CTCSS tones are typically in the range of 67-250 Hz.

      Colour codes are used by two-way radios that use a digital transmission standard.

      DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is a digital voice and data standard for professional mobile radio (PMR) users.

      DMR colour codes are used to divide a DMR channel into multiple “talk groups” or virtual channels.

      Each talk group can have its own colour code, which is used to differentiate it from other talk groups sharing the same frequency.

      In DMR, each radio has a unique ID, and each talk group has a unique ID, and when a radio is set to a specific colour code, it can only hear and talk with radios that are also set to the same colour code and same talk group ID.

      This allows multiple users to share the same frequency and still maintain privacy and avoid interference.

      Colour codes  identify different groups of users on the same frequency, so the radios can filter out transmissions not intended for the user’s group.

      The Colour code is a setting on the radio, to join a specific group of users, and it’s usually set by the radio administrator.

      PMR446

      Many schools buy off the shelf radios.

      These ‘should’ be what is known as PMR446.

      PMR446 radios do not need their colour codes (digital), or CTCSS (analogue) to be set up by a dealer / administrator, as they come pre set-up.

      PMR446 is a low power licence free type of handheld walkie talkie.

      If your school has bought a higher power licenced, ‘off the shelf’, then its probably operating illegally.

      In the UK, all non PMR446 business radios, require the relevant OFCOM licence.

      GDPR Implications

      If other people can potentially listen in to your radio communications, then confidential information, is potentially at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

      Safeguarding Considerations

      Safeguarding our students, includes keeping confidential data.

      We are aware of confidential data concerning children, being communicated over unsecure two-way radio, in the past.

      Summary

      In summary, two-way radio systems using CTCSS and Colour Codes, are used to provide users with privacy from hearing other users of the same channel.

      They also reduce interference in radio communications, from other users.

      However, it’s important to note that these systems do not necessarily ensure complete privacy, as third parties may still be able to listen in on conversations.

      Additionally, it’s important for schools and other organisations to ensure that the radios they are using are legally compliant, and to be aware of the implications of GDPR and safeguarding when considering your school cybersecurity over two-way radio.

      Action You Can Take

      We will come to your school, and review your existing two-way radio communications equipment.

      Once you are informed, then you are able to make appropriate decisions, regarding improving your school cybersecurity over two-way radio.

      Written by Craig Miles

      (01522) 740818