Top-secret Anglo-French drone plans stolen

The theft involved at least two culprits. One apparently ‘hassled’ the executive’s wife, who briefly put the case down to respond – and the other walked off with it.

The Economic Times of India writes: "His attention had been purposefully diverted. It was not a random theft. We have to determine whether the thieves were targeting confidential documents on the drone project or other valuables in the briefcase.” While the police insist “that a highly-sophisticated operation by a spy agency could not be ruled out, Dassault said it was ‘probably a random theft’” continues the report.

Dassault insists that that the briefcase contained no sensitive documents. A separate report by the BBC states: “A Dassault spokesman denied initial French reports that important documents were taken, suggesting it was a straightforward criminal act. ‘The police shouldn't have difficulty finding the thieves because the area was filmed,’ he told French media.”

Nevertheless, there is a collaboration agreement between the UK and France to develop a new generation of unmanned fighter drone aircraft. The possibility that sensitive documents have been stolen highlights the security problem in carrying paper records – you cannot realistically encrypt the written word.

“Once again”, comments Ricoh UK director Chas Maloney, “the threats posed by paper-based documentation have been exposed, in this case top secret military files on the UK’s multimillion pound deal to develop drones with France. This is the latest in a series of high profile incidents of document security breaches that could have been prevented via digitized documentation. Only by adopting a secure, digital approach to information sharing will organizations be able to eradicate the threat of paper-based security breaches once and for all.” 

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