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Dennis Broeders in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant about the national failure of number 112

Emergency services and governments were caught by surprise on Monday 24 June by the nationwide breakdown of the emergency phone number 112. The breakdown raises the following question: ‘Could this not have been prevented’?

Dennis Broeders, Associate Professor of Security and Technology at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) at Leiden University spoke about this in the Dutch newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’. Due to the continuous technological advancement, the networks on which society has come to depend have become more extensive and complex. This is a result of the organic way in which the internet has evolved: continuously adding connections, trying, growing. Giving one small error the potential to cause to major problems.

Safeguarding processes

We are used to thinking in ‘organisations’ rather than ‘processes’ when it comes to finding possible solutions, says Dennis Broeders. During the previous breakdown of the emergency number in 2012, the then Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, promised to optimise the existing procedures. ‘Such disruptions of the emergency number should no longer be possible’. The Inspectorate supervised measures at KPN. That the measures proved to be insufficient has to do with the fact that companies and services have become so interwoven because of the internet that it has become more important to safeguard ‘processes’, says Broeders.

Traditional infrastructure

The current mentality with regards to security is still too focused on traditional infrastructure. Broeders: ‘I am surprised that the emphasis is still on safeguarding physical infrastructure, while the internet itself, as the ‘mother of all infrastructures’, is mostly disregarded’.

You can read the full article on Volkskrant.nl (Dutch).

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