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​Britons divided on whether drones will boost security or invade privacy, Unisys survey reveals

​The Unisys survey, which polled over 2,000 British adults, also gauged people’s views on the likelihood of their personal information stored by various public and private sector organisations being accessed by unauthorised personnel in the coming 12 months.

​London, UK, July 14, 2015 – British citizens are divided on whether they want to see video-enabled drones used to patrol the UK’s streets and public spaces, according to the findings from the Unisys Security Insights report announced today.

Nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) believe drones will help combat anti-social behaviour, but 40 per cent fear that drones will compromise privacy. And nearly a quarter of respondents (22 per cent) see drones as a threat to the British public.

The research also showed a link between age and attitudes towards the idea of using drones for policing or monitoring public spaces; with younger respondents expressing the most doubt that drones could help combat anti-social behaviour and improve personal safety while protecting the public’s privacy.

Only one-third (33 per cent) of young adults aged 18-24 – compared to nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of seniors aged over 65 years – believe drones could help combat anti-social behaviour. The seniors surveyed also scored highest in their feeling that drones could improve personal safety (42 per cent, versus 33 percent of 18-24 year olds), and they had the lowest levels of concern about drones compromising the public’s privacy (34 per cent, versus 45 per cent of 18-24 year olds).

Police who guard London’s airports will start using drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for airport surveillance, following an 18 months review by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters. Moreover, there is continued discussion about drones being used more widely in British law enforcement, with the Home Office awarding Sussex and Surrey police forces almost £250,000 earlier this year to expand a drone trial.

However, as the Unisys research highlights, there is growing concern about the irresponsible or illegal use of drones. Anti-terrorism organisations estimate there are more than 50,000 privately-owned drones in the UK, and there is fear over the damage they could cause in the wrong hands.

Forbes Gallagher, Account Director Police and Criminal Justice, Unisys, comments: “These findings show an interesting British schism around drones. Clearly UK citizens are still conscious of the need to improve their personal security, but many feel drones aren’t the right answer – with a significant proportion actually finding them threatening and invasive.

“If British law enforcement wants to introduce drones as a mainstream monitoring strategy, there is clearly a lot of work to be done consulting with, and above all reassuring, the British public that it can be done safely and effectively, Gallagher said.

Confidence in Organisations Holding Personal Data in the UK

The report also found that when it comes to people’s personal data, the retail sector is perceived to be the least secure by British people, with 44 per cent of respondents expecting retailers to suffer a breach in the next 12 months. Telecoms companies and government did not fare well either, with 43 and 36 per cent of respondents, respectively, expecting a data breach in those industries in the coming year.

Banking was seen to be the most secure sector with only one-quarter of respondents expecting a breach. Airlines and healthcare were seen as the second and third most secure sectors, at 29 per cent and 30 per cent of respondents citing those industries as likely to experience a breach.

“Whilst banks fared the best in terms of citizen confidence, still a full quarter of all respondents don’t feel their personal information is safe from a breach, which is way too high. Organisations across all sectors clearly need to do more to improve British citizens’ confidence by prioritizing security and improving their security systems and processes accordingly,” concludes Gallagher. 

About Unisys Security Insights

Unisys Security Insights is a global research that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a range of security related issues. The survey was conducted in April and May 2015, by Lieberman Research group in Latin America, Europe, Malaysia and the U.S.; and by Newspoll in Australia and New Zealand. Responses are from nearly 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that solves organizations’ most pressing IT and business challenges. With more than 20,000 employees serving clients around the world, our offerings include cloud and infrastructure services, application services, business process outsourcing services, and high-end server technology. For more information, visit

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