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DHS Adds Encryption Requirement to Radio Equipment Compliance Standards

The Department of Homeland Security has introduced an encryption requirement to a suite of standards for first responder radio platforms.

DHS said Monday radio equipment that need encryption must use Advanced Encryption Standard 256 to meet the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program‘s requirements.

“The proliferation of proprietary and non-standard encryption capabilities has made it necessary to ensure that a standard form of encryption is available for responders,” said Sridhar Kowdley, P25 CAP program manager.

“Not everyone needs encryption capabilities, but for those that do, they need to be able to communicate with others in an encrypted mode using the same standards-based encryption,” Kowdley added.

The use of equipment from various manufacturers and with different encryption features could impact secure communications between first responders from separate jurisdictions, DHS noted.

The list of approved radio equipment on DHS’ P25 CAP web page now includes an inventory of platforms that are fully-compliant with all P25 CAP standards as well as a list of equipment that comply with previous P25 requirements but do not meet the new AES 256 encryption standard.

P25 is a set of standards designed to support interoperability among digital two-way land mobile radio communications products used by public safety personnel.

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