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I spy with my beady eye ...

9 Jul 2015

Droning on

The security awareness module this month concerns the physical aspects of information security including controlling physical access to information assets.

Seeing a TV program last evening about the NZ police systematically stopping and searching visitors and their cars arriving at a prison, several things occurred to me: 
  1. Some prison visitors aren't exactly the crispiest crackers in the pack.  Despite the strict regulations, the warning signs, the obvious police presence on site and the primetime TV programs (!), they still roll up nonchalantly with barely-concealed drugs, weapons, pathetic excuses and bad attitudes.
  2. Some prison visitors and employees, in contrast, are probably a lot more on the ball ... and some are presumably more creative and ultimately more successful in their endeavours to smuggle in contraband since prisoners evidently have access to tobacco and other drugs, weapons, cellphones and so forth.
  3. What stops smugglers simply dropping contraband over the prison walls using drones? Seriously, how would the prison authorities (a) detect and (b) stop them? Perhaps keeping an active watch for them, then shooting them down or jamming/subverting the wireless remote controls maybe? Radar and automatic ground-to-air weapons?! Or perhaps they just rely on internal detection and confiscation? Drones are readily available, relatively cheap, and are increasingly being used to snoop on neighbours and celebrities (as well as to observe targets and guide-in or deliver lethal payloads in the Middle East) while the controls would be both costly and of limited effect, so I presume this is an increasing risk. 

It's an intriguing and perplexing issue.  I'm just glad I'm not responsible for prison security!


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