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Foresight crucial to combating rising cyber crimes: Abu Dhabi official

Criminals using technology for mass robberies and drug smuggling, experts say at forum

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: There is an ‘exponential change’ in society, driven by technological growth, and criminals have been using this to their advantage. Therefore, practising foresight in drawing out possible scenarios is key to combating crime and being prepared to prevent it before it happens, experts in the capital said on Tuesday.

“The science of foresight helps decision makers instil the policies and strategies necessary to curb instances of terrorism and crime that may happen in the future,” said Colonel Dr Salah Obaid Al Ghoul, Director of the Law Respect Culture Bureau, the General Secretariat of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The official was speaking at the first Foreseeing the Future of Policing Forum that took place on Tuesday.

Global strategist and founder of the Future Crimes Institute Mark Goodman revealed that criminals also use the science of foresight and are now targeting more people than before using the power of technology. He also urged UAE authorities to make use of specialised governments and private institutions that possess technological know-how.

“Previously a robbery used to be a one-on-one affair but now one person can target up to 110 million people as we recently saw with the Japanese Sony Playstation hack. With the ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon where multiple devices will be connected to each other, people have to worry about their computer systems in cars getting hacked. Governments must also be wary that critical infrastructure, water systems and air traffic control, that are all controlled using computer systems, can all become compromised if criminals gain access,” he said.

The democratisation of devices that were previously used by government authorities and universities, such as drones, has resulted in its misuse, Goodman stated.

“Drones are being used to smuggle drugs into prisons and for espionage and have been seen trespassing prison fences that were designed for humans, not flying objects,” he added.

Dr Amy Zalman, CEO of the World Future Society, echoed Goodman’s recommendations and added: “Individuals are often able to see things from higher grounds that would normally lie within the periphery of their vision had they remained at the bottom. This is why futurism is vital and helps us understand why a major issue like drug abuse is something that needs to be tackled not only by police forces but by schools, hospitals, the media and all the other institutions that this illegal activity affects and is affected by.”