Public safety has always been a concern for governments and communities, but it has taken on new challenges as technology advances. For example, the increased use of smartphones has created new challenges for governments and law enforcement to combat cybercrime. In addition, the overuse of social media sites by people with mental health problems is leading to more tragedies that used to be rare occurrences. These unprecedented threats require enhanced safety measures.
This article discusses the current public safety trends that have come into play over recent years as a result of technological advancements.
Prevention is better than the cure
What steps are being taken to protect public safety? As society is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, there are more reasons to worry about hackers and cybercrime. Many governments have realized this, and so have taken preventive measures. Educational institutions are also offering courses in public safety like this Master in Public Safety from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Social Media Websites
Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are no longer content-sharing sites. They are now becoming a place where people are using photos, videos, and other content to share experiences with the world. It is thanks to the explosion of social networking that groups like ISIS have been able to recruit people from all over the world.
Cybercrimes and Hackers
As the number of Internet-connected devices has increased to over six billion, cybercrime has shifted from traditional crimes like theft, fraud, and rape. The most notorious cybercrime today is computer hacking because it can be done anonymously. Criminals use hijacking of devices to infiltrate and steal information, threaten or blackmail victims, or even act as a digital hitman (e.g., take down a competitor’s website) to cause damage.
A phishing scam is a fraudulent activity that involves sending emails or messages that pretend to be from legitimate institutions like banks or credit card companies. It may also involve the fake delivery of phone calls, text messages, or letters. A victim’s computer is used to trick the victim into revealing personal information through an online form. The fake “email” may ask for personal information like account numbers, passwords, and PINs to be used for online banking transactions.
- Ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks are also called Cryptoware. These are computer viruses that encrypt all of the victim’s files and then demand that the victim pay a fine to regain access. Payments are made using a variety of means such as credit cards, electronic checks, and online banking transactions.
Malicious software is a type of computer virus that can cause damage to a computer or its data.
Although internet connectivity is growing at an exponential rate, the concept of public safety has not changed nor has it evolved. In the decades to come, there will be more changes in technology and public safety. As these trends come into play, governments and communities need to take heed and develop policies on how to deal with these issues.