DroneGate: Here’s What Really Needs To Be Done To Prevent Another Gatwick

The MoD has withdrawn military anti-drone technology from Gatwick, so what does it take to keep airspace safe from Drones?

The former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, once famously spoke of there being known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. All three variations apply in the aftermath of DroneGate, which saw London’s Gatwick Airport spinning into chaos with 1,000 flights cancelled or diverted across three days starting on December 21st as a result of illegal drone activity. While the U.K. Ministry of Defence has now stood down the Royal Air Force counter-drone capabilities that had been deployed at Gatwick Airport in response, the question remains of how do you solve a problem like DroneGate?

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2 thoughts on “DroneGate: Here’s What Really Needs To Be Done To Prevent Another Gatwick

  • January 7, 2019 at 9:11 PM

    I’ll post the same comment I did on LinkedIn.
    1. There is really a high probability that Gatwick never even happened and it was all just a hype/media circus that caused a panic. Again, high change there was never a drone.
    2. There are 3 types of drone operators: legal, ignorant, and illegal. Regulation only serve to restrict legal operators. In the US ignorance makes up a very, very large segment of that. Illegal operators are out there, but usually are just people who think drone laws are stupid and don’t care about the liability they are putting themselves under. They are not malicious, just stupid.
    3. People who want to cause chaos and panic at an airport or public event are going to do so. A drone is simply one of hundreds of means to an end. Drones are simply new and misunderstood. No on in the public knows much about them and how they work. The news media is equally ignorant and feeds off the panic that is created through incidents like Gatwick because it gets them views. The love to focus on a new tech and how it can be used for bad. Again, there are hundreds of ways (many that are less conspicuous than a drone) to cause chaos or hurt people.

  • January 8, 2019 at 7:22 AM

    1. Only time will tell, of course, but I would have thought that if it were purely a hysterical event that law enforcement would have come to that conclusion quickly enough given the seriousness of the situation. That said, as with the old hoax bomb threats during the Northern Ireland troubles, false alarms have to be taken seriously until proven otherwise.

    2. I tend to agree, and covered the fact that regulation would impact upon legal users in the article. I also agree that regulation will do nothing to deter a determined activist or terrorist, although it may well deter the lower end of the malicious user spectrum. As for those who think that drone laws are dumb being stupid rather than malicious, that’s a moot point when stupidity leads to the same end result (not to mention that willful disregard for a safety law because you think it shouldn’t apply so carry on regardless is malicious by definition anyway.)

    3. Yep, terrorists will cause terror with no regard for the law or for their own safety/future. Yep, there is a lot of misinformation about drone tech and undoubtedly a lot of media hype when events such as Gatwick occur. However, I strove to be balanced in my reporting which included talking to a number of people who most definitely well informed about drone technology – that their views don’t match up with your does not make them either ignorant or wrong. Finally, yes of course there are other ways to cause chaos but that fact doesn’t mean that the drone issue should be ignored…

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