Droning on at Christmas

So ‘tiz the season to be jolly, to eat your weight in stodgy food and then make resolutions that will last… all of a day before the new year takes over and the routine resumes! Here it is, merry Christmas!

So, as the season began to take hold we had chaos at Gatwick as a suspected drone incursion grounded flights and disrupted many planned getaways, causing misery and upset to countless families literally across the globe. Watching the chaos unfold made me wonder at the nature of technology and the challenges advances present, as well as the opportunities.

Drones clearly present some significant opportunity to provide really effective air coverage at minimal cost, helping to find missing persons, track vehicles, deliver parcels, take aerial photos, provide a cheap aerial platform to provide wonderful wildlife images and all of the other countless other positive uses they can be deployed. On the flip side, they have already been used in conflict to drop explosives, they have been used to spy on people, deliver drugs into prisons and now to cause disruption to transport. Isn’t this always the way with technology? Developed for good, so many things quickly become corrupted and used for harm.

This is very much the case with the internet. In a past life, I worked at a national and regional level regarding the insidious and hugely damaging issue of indecent images of children on line. There are literally hundreds of thousands of such images circulating, and each one is attached to a terrified exploited victim. They are common currency in chat rooms, the dark web, peer to peer sites and a plethora of other locations. Something developed with huge potential for good has unleashed massive forces for bad. The use of the internet for exploitation is not confined to indecent images. From denial of service attacks through to hacking, hijacking, blackmail and extortion criminals have made the internet their means of earning a living, enabling crime through it and earning millions in the process.

Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the internet, is working on a contract for all for the internet. By May 2019, he predicts that the tipping point on world use of the internet will be reached, where over 50% of the worlds population will be using the internet. He wants to see a position where the internet is owned by its users, where big corporations don’t have a strangle hold upon it, and where governments do not censor it. This may be achievable, but only if all users take responsibility for their use of the internet and play a part in keeping it safe. That element of keeping it safe has to therefore involve steps to secure your own use, by for instance installing and properly maintaining a firewall and appropriate anti-virus software.

That element of maintenance is so critical, because as I said at the outset, technology will keep changing and creating new opportunity for both good and bad. Those intent on committing criminality on the internet or using it to enable their crimes will keep exploiting new technology to do so, and we have to keep up to date as new threats emerge. It is for this reason that UKP wants to play its part helping people to manage risk from online crime effectively, and so early in 2019 we will be holding a seminar to discuss online safety so that businesses can plan effectively and be assured not only in the security of their information but also recovery should the worst happen.

As to drones, our sister company ASAP is in a position to provide not only very effective CCTV monitoring to detect incursions, but also drone units that are highly sophisticated and can be deployed in a wide range of situations.

I close by hoping that Rudolf and colleagues won’t be grounded by a drone as they go about their airborne parcel delivery service tonight – may you and yours have a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous new year. 2019 promises to be an interesting year, don’t forget to call us for your security needs!


Written by Chris Singer, Chairman and business consultant UKP