Britain’s stance on cyber crime

Britain’s stance on cyber crime is like driving a car without airbags

Information sharing is critical to mitigating the corrosive and systemic risk of cyber crime, something that the UK has yet to fully acknowledge

By Sarah Stephens

You probably haven’t heard of John W Hetrick. In fact, it’s fair to say that among the ranks of great US inventors – including the likes of Edison, Morse, Tesla and Jobs – Hetrick occupies at best a modest position. However, most people reading this column will come close to his invention – although hopefully not too close – every single day.

The invention of the automobile airbag is credited both to Hetrick and the German engineer Walter Linderer, who both registered patents in 1951. Hetrick’s patent was issued about two months before Linderer’s, and later research would show that the German’s design would not inflate fast enough for maximum safety. Although Hetrick did not profit much from his patent, with Ford installing a few test airbags in 1971 after the patent expired, his invention is now fitted as standard in every car in the world.

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