The Royal Academy of Engineering has issued a warning that the U.K.’s reliance on space-borne positioning and timing data, often with little or no backup, poses a serious threat, BBC News reports.
The engineers say satellite navigation signals are relatively weak and thus open to interference or corruption from natural or man-made sources. To counter this, they say receivers need to be capable of using a variety of data sources.
“What we’re saying is that there is a growing interdependence between systems that people think are backing each other up,” said Martyn Thomas, who chaired the group that wrote the report. “And it might well be that if a number these systems fail simultaneously, it will cause commercial damage or just conceivably loss of life. This is wholly avoidable.”