Wonderful Engineering

Italy’s Earthquake Rescuers Ask Locals To Unlock Wi-Fi To Assist In Search And Rescue

Two days ago, Italy was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 killing more than 240 people in the disaster. About 4,300 Italian Red Cross rescuers are searching for survivors still believed to be trapped beneath the debris. The emergency response team in central Italy have requested the locals to remove their Wi-Fi passwords.

They said that the home internet networks of the residents can help improve the communication and feedback during search and rescue missions. The Italian Red Cross shared a step-by-step guide on how the locals can turn off the encryption keys to their Wi-Fi networks on their Twitter account. The Lazio Region and the National Geological Association have also made similar requests.

Credits: Twitter

A security analyst has observed that unlocking the password of home wi-fi network makes it more vulnerable to various risks however, these concerns are not that important in wake of the ongoing rescue process. Anyone can use your wi-fi as it will be as if you are using it and will have access to documents and devices that were previously private.

“If someone gets on your wi-fi network, what they do from that point onwards would be appearing as if they were you,” said Dr Joss Wright, who works at the University of Oxford Internet Institute. “But frankly, in a situation like this, those concerns are outweighed by the emergency need,” he added.

These pictures show the main street in Amatrice before and after the quake. Credits: Google/ AP
These images show the hamlet of Pescara del Tronto before and after. Credits: Google/ EPA

The 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy this Wednesday at 03:36 local time. Its origin was about 100 km north-east of Rome where only tremors were felt following the earthquake. Most of the building in the affected area have been rendered unsafe so tents and camps have been set up for the safety of the people.

The clock tower in the town centre was left standing but many of the surrounding buildings were not. Credits: AP

Do you think it is wise to remove the wi-fi encryption? We believe it is essential and the need of the time. What do you say?