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UK Consumers Don’t Fear Breaches But Have a Problem With Drones

The UK is more confident in the ability of its government, utilities, banks and airlines to withstand a data breach than almost any other country, according to new research from Unisys.

The IT consulting giant interviewed people all over the world – including 2,000 Brits – to gauge their attitudes to data privacy and cyber security.

Consumers in 12 countries were asked what they though the likelihood of a data breach in the next 12 months was.

It found that the UK consistently ranked in the bottom two nations alongside the US.

Overall, just 34% of British adults predicted a breach happening within the year, three percentage points more than US consumers, but a full 11% lower than the 12-country mean figure.

Breaking it down by sector it was a similar story, with just 36% predicting a government data breach in the next 12 months, and low figures for banking (25%), utilities (33%), healthcare (30%) and airlines (29%).

Only in telecoms (43%) and retail (44%) were Brits less confident.

The research also found UK consumers divided over whether they want to see unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by police to surveil streets and public places.

Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said it would help fight anti-social behavior, but 40% argued it might affect privacy, while 22% said they saw drones as a threat to the public.

Police were recently given the all-clear to use drones to ‘patrol’ London’s airports, after an 18 month review by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters, Unisys said.

Unisys director of police and criminal justice, Forbes Gallagher, claimed the same arguments about privacy were made when CCTV cameras began to appear on the UK’s streets decades ago.

“It is unlikely that we will ever see the day when the police use drones to monitor public places as a form of routine patrol as the benefit of this would be very limited. They will, we would imagine, be used to conduct specific tasks,” he told Infosecurity by email. 

“Consider the cost savings of monitoring a parade by means of a drone as opposed to a helicopter; of a tactical firearms advisor using it to confirm terrain or premises;  supporting the Fire Service in a rescue or firefighting operation; as a mobile camera site for a specific short term event; and of course surveillance of targeted individual.”

On the latter point, he claimed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) would guard against privacy abuses, and “there are clear economic and operational reasons why drones would not be used on random flights.”

“We believe that the public should be comfortable with the police’s use of drones. Where the greater concern should lie is in the less controlled or uncontrolled use of drones, for example; private security firms, parking enforcement, or individuals using them to guard their property and of course if law abiding citizens can buy drones so can those of a criminal persuasion,” Gallagher concluded. 

“It is here that we believe there should be stricter guidelines brought in to control the supply and use of these devices.”

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