The sign at the gatehouse states in big bold red letters: “Photography prohibited anywhere within the plant.” In addition, each visitor is escorted to a room in the administration building to see a safety video that ends with “Taking photographs while on this site is not allowed.” Then, someone from the plant asks for the visitor’s smartphone or camera, noting that the devices will be returned when the visitor’s badge is turned in.
Call them prudent or paranoid, such steps are increasingly common. The lawyers and security teams at many companies consider them essential. After all, the location, size and shape of equipment and other such details may reveal proprietary technology, the number and nature of railcars on site may offer commercial insights, and both types of information may enable potential attackers to discover vulnerabilities.
The emergence of relatively low cost and more capable drones is adding a new dimension to safeguarding intellectual property and protecting plant assets and personnel.