Distribution of data and data bulletins to Member States
Monitoring data and their analysis are central to the verification effort of the CTBT/CTBTO. It is often emphasized that the data belong to the Member States. A State Signatory has the right of full access to all monitoring data and data bulletins, which can assist a State in exercising its prerogative to make the final judgement in the case of a suspicious event.
In order to enable Member States to come to an informed judgement on a suspicious event, they need to have at their disposal all raw data and data analysis results in a reliable, equal and timely fashion. The International Data Centre (IDC) makes sure that these requirements are met and is supported in its efforts by the Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI).
Member States have the right of full access to all monitoring data and data bulletins. This information assists them in exercising their prerogative to make a final judgement on a suspicious event.
Over 1200 users in 120 States are currently authorized to receive CTBTO data and data bulletins. And the numbers are increasing. Who are these users and who authorizes them?
A Member State that wants to use its right of full access to monitoring data and analysis reports must establish a secure signatory account with the CTBTO. This is the mechanism by which authorized users can communicate with the IDC and transfer data securely. The person responsible for overseeing and managing this account is the principal point of contact.
The Member State, through the principal point of contact, then nominates users in three different classes: principal users, regular users and station operators. The number of users per category is regulated as is their level of access to data and data bulletins. No more than 18 principal users and a maximum of 10 regular users can be appointed per Member State. The number of station operators depends on the number of International Monitoring System (IMS) stations in the respective country.
Member State-appointed users may receive monitoring data and data bulletins via an automatic data request manager, subscriptions, access to the IDC secure web site or access to the IDC databases.
A Member State’s access to monitoring data and analysis reports is ensured through a secure signatory account.
National Data Centres
To facilitate the technical interaction between a Member State and the CTBTO, the establishment of a national data centre (NDC) is very advantageous. Although the Treaty does not require that a Member State has an NDC, as this is a national issue, the CTBTO strongly encourages their formation and use. Currently, 100 States have established an NDC.
NDCs are usually institutions specializing in verification technologies, such as a national earthquake institution or a nuclear radiation monitoring agency. In some cases, several institutions jointly assume the functions of an NDC. The exact modalities of an NDC’s operation are defined by the Member State itself which may adjust the NDC, its functions and its levels of operations to suit the national needs.
The CTBTO encourages Member States to establish a national data centre, which helps a State to receive all monitoring data and analysis reports.
An NDC aids a Member State in assuming its role under the Treaty as it helps the Member State to obtain, examine and analyse all necessary information, i.e. monitoring data and analysis reports provided by the International Data Centre (IDC) of the CTBTO.
In States with IMS stations, the NDC can play a key role in facilitating the operation of these stations and the transmission of monitoring data to the IDC in Vienna. After the Treaty’s entry into force, an NDC can assume additional responsibilities in relation to other verification measures.
Supporting Member States
Not every State that has signed the CTBT has established an NDC. Why is that so? Not every country has the technical or personnel capacity to establish an NDC. The CTBTO has recognized this and created ways and means to assist such States in developing these capacities.
The CTBTO provides technical assistance that enables Member States to work with monitoring data and IDC products. This assistance includes distributing and help with installing an NDC software package. This ‘NDC in a box’ consists of software to receive, work with and analyse the data. In addition, the CTBTO helps to establish the necessary communication links to receive verification data from the IDC in Vienna.
The CTBTO provides technical assistance that enables Member States to work with monitoring data and IDC products. This assistance includes the distribution and installation of an NDC software package, the ‘NDC in a box’.
Beyond the technical realm, the CTBTO also assists in training the personnel that are necessary for a Member State to assume its rights and responsibilities under the Treaty.
Training courses designed for NDC staff and IMS station operators are extensive. They familiarize participants with the CTBT verification regime and its functioning. Courses also provide targeted information on the operation of an NDC, the handling of all relevant software, analysis and station equipment training.