The event, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Armed Drones, was convened to address the use and misuse of small drones in the UK. Using Gatwick as a point of departure, the panel discussed the security risks presented by this ever-more intelligent, widely available, easy-to-use and affordable technology. Drawing on his work with Gerda Henkel Stiftung, David presented his research on the future implications of drone technologies and outlined some recommendations for what could and should be done.
Recent years have seen a boom in civilian drone technology, increasing the availability of sophisticated drones on the civilian market. This democratisation of drone technology, coupled with recent incidents of misuse at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, has raised serious questions and concerns about the security threats posed by drones in the UK.
The threat of terrorist drone attacks in civilian contexts has repeatedly been raised by researchers, citing their unique ability to reach otherwise inaccessible targets and rapidly spread terror from the air. The Defence Select Committee has launched its own Inquiry into these urgent issues. In the UK, the use of drones in criminal activity is also significant, and has been particularly widespread in smuggling illicit items into prisons.
Speaking to an audience of MPs, peers, researchers, journalists, lawyers, NGOs, campaigners, and civil servants, Prof Dunn joined the other panelists to engage in a meaningful conversation about the legislative and technological steps necessary to prevent attacks and protect critical infrastructure, while respecting privacy and fundamental rights.