University of Iceland Fined Over Surveillance Practices

Háskóli Íslands University of Iceland

The Icelandic Data Protection Authority fined the University of Iceland ISK 1.5 million ($11,000/€10,000) for failing to comply with legal requirements on electronic monitoring and personal information processing.

Absence of visible markers

As noted in a press release from September 6, the Icelandic Data Protection Authority has imposed a fine of ISK 1.5 million [$11,000/€10,000] on the University of Iceland following a complaint regarding the institution’s electronic monitoring practices.

According to the Authority’s ruling, released today, the issue centred on surveillance cameras positioned both inside and outside university buildings. The complaint highlighted the absence of visible markers indicating surveillance and a lack of information concerning the monitoring’s purpose, nature, scope, and placement.

The Authority concluded that the University of Iceland failed to adhere to legal requirements pertaining to personal protection and the processing of personal information. Consequently, the Authority levied an administrative fine of ISK 1.5 million [$11,000/€10,000] and recommended that the university promptly update and install signage to clarify its electronic monitoring practices, in accordance with the law and regulations.

Attic Skull Sparks Ashtray Theory

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Residence of Minister

The human skull fragments discovered last week in the Minister’s residence are believed to belong to a female individual, based on size, according to experts, Vísir reports. The possibility that the fragments were historically used as an ashtray is also under consideration.

May have belonged to a “small woman”

Fragments of a human skull were found last week during renovations beneath the attic floor tiles at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Tjarnargata. The fragments were discovered by workers who were in the process of removing the attic’s floor tiles and insulation. They exhibited notable surprise upon the discovery.

The skull fragments have been transferred to the National Museum for scientific analysis, including age determination. While it is not yet known when the individual lived or whether they were an Icelander, certain details have been ascertained.

“Initial assessment suggests that the skull fragments likely belong to a female, a rather small one, based on the size,” Ágústa Kristófersdóttir, Head of Artefact Collections at the National Museum, stated in an interview with Vísir.

Possibly used as an ashtray

There is currently no evidence to indicate that the individual sustained injuries during her lifetime. However, it appears that the bones may not have been properly cared for post-mortem. “In the past, skulls were sometimes used as ashtrays. We have such specimens in our collection,” Kristófersdóttir noted. When asked if this theory was viable, Ágústa replied: “Yes, and further examination in the future could provide more insights.”

Experts have yet to determine how the skull fragments ended up in the Prime Minister’s residence. “It is clear that the fragments were intentionally placed beneath the attic floor. They didn’t merely fall between the floorboards. It appears that someone made a deliberate decision to put them there,” Kristófersdóttir stated.

The discovery has intrigued many, including researchers. “The situation is reminiscent of the opening scene in a crime novel, a sentiment that is shared by everyone – even among the most coldly rational scientific professionals,” she added.

Deep North Episode 43: To Catch an Oystercatcher

waders iceland oystercatcher

Under the regular ascent and descent of Keflavík jet traffic, out past the old American radar stations, at the northwestern tip of the Reykjanes peninsula, sits the Suðurnes Science and Learning Centre. Much like the airport terminal a few kilometres from here, this spit of low-flung land is a place where many visitors to this island come and go. Along with an international team of ecologists, Sölvi Rúnar Vignisson has been working here for the past 10 years studying the oystercatcher (in Icelandic, tjaldur), a distinctive shorebird whose migratory patterns may serve as a good indicator of climate change.

Read the story here.

Footballer, Sports Commentator Bjarni Felixson Passes Away

Bjarni Felixson

Veteran sports journalist and former Icelandic national footballer Bjarni Felixson passed away at the age of 86 yesterday, RÚV reports. Known as “the Red Lion,” Bjarni Felixson had a storied career in football before transitioning to journalism, where he became a household name.

“The Red Lion”

Veteran sports journalist and former Icelandic national footballer Bjarni Felixson passed away yesterday at the age of 86. As noted by RÚV, Bjarni was in Denmark to attend the funeral of longtime friend Finn Heiner. The duo originally met during their respective careers at RÚV and DR, Iceland and Denmark’s national broadcasters, forming a lifelong friendship.

Survived by his wife Álfheiður Gísladóttir, four children, and a combined 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Bjarni was born in Reykjavík on December 27, 1936. He gained prominence as a left-fback for the dominant KR team of the 1950s and ’60s, amassing five Icelandic championships and seven cup titles while earning six caps for the national team.

Known affectionately as “the Red Lion,” a moniker coined by his teammates, Bjarni Felixson came from a footballing family; both of his brothers also donned the national jersey. In 1963, all three of them played against England in an international match.

Colourful commentary

Bjarni Felixson transitioned into journalism in 1968, joining the National Broadcaster (RÚV), where he served for 42 years. He became a household name for his coverage of national and international sports, notably English football. Bjarni was known for his colourful commentary, once stating that a football team had “conceded a corner kick in a dangerous area.”

Bjarni witnessed the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, later recounting the emotional toll of reporting the event where 96 fans lost their lives.

Throughout his illustrious career, Bjarni received numerous accolades, including the gold medal of the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland (ÍSÍ) on his sixtieth birthday and an honorary plaque from the Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ). Last year, he was conferred the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Falcon by President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson for his contributions to sports, social affairs, and communication.

Bjarni’s legacy extends beyond journalism and football; two Reykjavík establishments, the Red Lion and Bjarni Fel Sportbar, were named in his honour.

Fatal Collision in Downtown Reykjavík Under Investigation

police lögreglan

A man in his thirties was killed in a Reykjavík traffic accident involving a delivery van and a telescopic handler, Vísir reports. The accident has prompted an investigation by local police and the Icelandic Research Committee for Transportation Accidents.

Front fork in a lowered position

A male in his thirties was fatally injured in a vehicular accident at the intersection of Lækjargata and Vonarstræti in downtown Reykjavík on Wednesday afternoon.

The collision, involving a delivery van and a telescopic handler, was reported to police at 1:23 PM. The van’s driver was declared dead at the scene.

An eyewitness account from a Vísir reporter noted that the telescopic handler’s front fork was in a lowered position and penetrated the front section of the delivery van. Students at the MR Junior College also witnessed the collision.

Both the Capital Area Police and the Icelandic Research Committee for Transportation Accidents are currently investigating the incident to determine its cause.