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International body proposes a plan for authorising drone flights, but operators may choose to fly under the radar instead

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The plague of unmanned aerial vehicles – otherwise known as UAVs, or simply ‘drones’ – continues over European airports. In mid-August, UK police issued a statement saying that commercial flights approaching Newcastle Airport were placed in a holding pattern after a drone was spotted. The drone was not tracked, and its operator was not identified. Elsewhere, Sweden’s busiest airport, Arlanda, suspended flights four times in August in response to rogue drone flights, while its second-busiest airport of Bromma has halted its operations three times. In response, national authorities are racing to find ways to police drone activity, while allowing responsible operators to develop fully the drone industry’s vast commercial possibilities. Toward that goal, on 31 July the…

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Horizon 2020 programme throws cash at cybersecurity-related security projects, hoping something will stick to the Dark Web

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Among the measures included in European Commission’s cybersecurity package, adopted on 13 September 2017, is the goal of transforming the European Union Agency for Information Security (ENISA) into a new cybersecurity agency. The Commission is also pushing researchers to study new ways to tackle Europe’s burgeoning cybercrime threats. The need is great, to say the least. According to the EU, ransomware attacks increased by 300 per cent between 2015 and 2017, and may increase four-fold again by 2019. One of the workshops during the 6 December meeting of the Commission’s “Community of Users” (CoU) of security research stakeholders (see related article in this issue) focused on cybercrime, several related research projects and the eye-raising statistics that confront authorities in their efforts to combat it. As Michele Socco of the Commission’s home affairs directorate-generale (DG HOME) told the workshop, “65 percent of digital evidence is...