The blurred boundaries of high-risk and the extension of duty of care

By Emily Byrne, Content Manager & Marketing Executive at Track24

Protecting your people and assets globally: We’re extending our high-risk solutions to ensure your duty of care covers your entire workforce

The boundaries of what determines a high-risk environment are now more blurred than ever. Those in professions such as humanitarian aid or journalism working in politically divisive countries and warzones might expect that in doing so they put their safety at risk, however repeated tragic and disruptive events in traditionally lower-risk countries have highlighted that threats to safety could happen anywhere at any time. This blog discusses how an organisation’s commitment to employee security and duty of care in high-risk scenarios should extend to the entire workforce, wherever they are located. 

People Management reiterates the importance of providing an end-to-end, global security solution to ensure a duty of care to all employees: “All employers have a duty of care towards their workforce. In a narrow, legal sense, this means employers are required to take all of the reasonable and necessary steps to protect their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. This, of course, does not end at national borders, and multinational companies who assign expatriates all over the globe are not exempt from this duty when the employee is abroad. In the light of the worldwide pandemic we’re experiencing right now, the topic is more important than ever.” Source.

At Track24, we evaluate the ways in which an organisations’ duty of care is paramount in any environment.

High-risk mobile workforce management: Paying homage to warriors on the field

As high-risk is often expected and sometimes inevitable in areas of conflict, organisations will have extensive risk management plans, incorporating strategies and technologies to deal with the worst case scenarios. These scenarios might include personnel being ambushed, attacked, abducted or injured.

This became a reality recently for oil and gas giant Total, when the port town of Palma, near Total’s gas operations on the Afungi perninsular in Mozambique, became the target of an Islamist attack.

“The town of Palma was attacked […] in a three-pronged assault by rebel fighters which was launched just hours after Total, the France-based oil and gas company, announced that it would resume work on its multibillion-dollar liquified natural gas project nearby.” Source“Residents fled in all directions, but mostly toward Palma’s beaches, according to sources who spoke to local news media including Zitamar News and Pinnacle News.” Source

Reports of ensuing chaos indicate that effective crisis communication and global security management would have provided greater clarity in response to the emergency, lessening the scene of panic and uncertainty. Organisations should always be expecting the unexpected and be ready to provide an informed response, which begins with understanding the location and safety situation of their people.

The incident emphasises how incidents of terror can happen at any time. Mobile workforces in vulnerable locations are at a constant high-risk, meaning crisis communications and actionable and adaptable emergency response plans must be accessible for all employees, at all times.

BBC correspondent Frank Gardner’s story of ambush and life-changing injury, 17 years ago illustrates the scenarios in which broadcasters, media and communications organisations must protect their staff, including in war zones, or areas or political or civil unrest. “BBC correspondent Frank Gardner and his cameraman Simon Cumbers were ambushed by al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Gardner was shot six times and paralysed, his cameraman, killed.” Source. Unlike the honourable Simon Cumbers, Gardner survived, against the odds, though his injuries have changed his life forever, leaving him paralysed from the knees down.

Such scenarios demonstrate not only the astonishing extent reporters will go to for their work, but the high-risk nature of their workplace and the immense duty of care obligations organisations must provide for their mobile workforces, on the ground.

NGOs are swamped by an influx of incidents: Every day is high-risk for our humanitarian heroes

The brave heroes working for NGOs have always been at high-risk, due to the nature of their work. However, the extent of critical incidents recorded reached a shocking extent in 2020, drawing into focus the dangerous working environments which courageous NGO workers face day-to-day.  “Humanitarian action by necessity takes place in situations which are unpredictable and unstable, and where people face profound risks from disasters, armed conflict, political violence and human rights abuse.” Source.

“Staff working at non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in some of the world’s most dangerous countries faced 1,500 incidents – including kidnappings and killings – last year [2020], according to new figures.” Source

“There were 361 incidents of all types for NGOs in the Central African Republic, the report found, the most in the world. These include things like theft, burglaries and threats as well as more severe incidents leading to injuries or deaths.” Source

Due to the nature of the work of NGOs, providing aid in areas of crises, conflict and disaster, working in high-risk environments has always been part of the job description. Therefore, NGO organisations have tremendous duty of care obligations to fulfil to protect their staff and must have meticulous emergency response and crisis management plans in place. For NGOs, lives really are at stake during everyday operations.

Terror and high-risk hits home: Organisations’ duty of care stretches to protect the white-collar worker

Although certain industries might accept a significant level of risk in undertaking their professional activities, it is fair to say that risks to safety, security and threats to operational efficiency are posed to any organisation in any part of the world, at all times. 

In the UK, organisations’ depiction of high-risk environments has undoubtedly been turned on its head in the wake of terror attacks over the past decade and a half. High-risk could now apply to any city. From the horrific 7th July 2005 transport attacks to the more recent London Bridge and Manchester Arena attacks, experience of terror is certainly a global concern. We take a look at terror attacks in the UK then and now, to analyse how our society perceives and encounters high-risk in the everyday and how organisations’ duty of care obligations have stretched to cover all eventualities to protect their global workforce.

The public transport attacks of 7th July, 2005 caused the biggest loss of life in a terrorist attack on mainland Britain, with 56 killed and more than 700 injured. The government, the authorities and therefore organisations’ expectation of attacks was seemingly low before July 7th 2005, though security measures were still in place: “The deputy assistant Met commissioner, Brian Paddick said the security level in London had been high. Mr Paddick said the emergency services had rehearsed for such a scenario and that the plans had worked as they should have done.” Source

Shortly after the July 7th bombings, the terror threat level system was introduced in the UK. “The international terror threat scale was first made public in the UK in August 2006, just over a year after the London Tube and bus bombings that killed 52 people.” Source. The country considered a new way of perceiving risk.

Chris Phillips, International Security and Counter-Terrorism Expert argues “when a crisis happens, you’ve got an hour, two hours, maybe six hours where you have to act quickly and correctly if you’re to get a positive outcome.” This statement outlines an organisations’ need to fulfil their duty of care by immediately understanding the risk posed to its people in the mouth of a critical incident, in order to quickly react to protect all employees and their networks. Due to social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, the golden window of opportunity to gather the facts and establish an accurate account of events has shrunk even further.

The London Bridge attack starting in Westminster in April 2017, the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22nd 2017 and the London Bridge November 2019 attack saw the UK’s terror threat level rise to ‘critical’, then ‘severe’, indicating how home became an increasingly high-risk environment. The UK was horrified when Salman Abedi killed 22 men, women and children, blowing himself up in a suicide bomb attack after an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in 2017. A further enquiry into emergency response took place in January 2021, as documented by Sky News. Source.

“We asked a Security and Risk Manager, working for a leading broadcasting giant what kept him up at night. It wasn’t protecting journalists and teams on the field in war zones, but protecting the everyday worker in London from unexpected events that may compromise their safety.”

As a consequence of the rise in terror attacks, the need for organisations and corporations to have duty of care and crisis management plans in place has become more urgent. For global organisations, this means protecting their entire workforce, not just those in perceived high-risk areas. The ‘white-collar’ workers who once seemed less at risk, are arguably at high-risk day to day, as they commute into their city-based office as travel and work from home restrictions begin to alleviate, post pandemic. We asked a Security and Risk Manager, working for a leading broadcasting giant what kept him up at night. It wasn’t protecting journalists and teams on the field in war zones, but protecting the everyday worker in London from unexpected events that may compromise their safety.

How has our perception of high-risk in traditionally lower-risk locations adapted to the terror risk? Crisis management and emergency response plans are woven into the duty of care obligations of organisations and corporations as a result of the regularity of terror attacks. Although in February 2021, the UK terror threat level lowered to ‘substantial’, the country is far from out of the woods yet when it comes to being at risk. Home Secretary, Priti Patel said: “Terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security.” Source. In the UK, we are still living and working in a high-risk environment, particularly in our capital city, as “Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat.” Source.

It’s not just terrorism that poses a threat to employees. Driven by the pandemic, the proliferation of delivery service companies such as Deliveroo and Amazon operating in cities across the world has seen the growth of a mobile working landscape in which duty of care is all the more urgent. Consider the risk of violence recently faced by Deliveroo drivers in Dublin:  “There have been several violent incidents in the northeast inner city over the last 12 months, some of which began as robberies of Deliveroo staff.” Source.

“On January 22nd, Dublin Deliveroo drivers staged an unofficial strike over pay and working conditions. The organisers highlighted the “lack of security” and the level of violence riders experience and said three couriers had been attacked in the previous week alone.” Source. High-risk is now, as much at home as it is away and this example proves a high-risk environment for a lone worker, really can be anywhere.

The high volume of mobile workers at risk to the public or indeed to any unexpected event such as traffic disruption, weather events or unrest, can legitimately expect a duty of care to be provided by employers not only for their protection, but to ensure they are kept informed of events that may impact their ability to fulfil their role. 


To conclude, as a result of terror incidents and scenarios highlighting the increased threat of violence faced by lone workers all over the world, the boundaries are entirely blurred as to how we define a high-risk environment. 

An organisations’ duty of care obligations to a dispersed and mobile workforce must stretch, from workers operating in exceedingly turbulent political environments, such as aid workers and journalists, to the everyday ‘white-collar’ worker in traditionally lower-risk countries. Organisations must prepare for that which is considered ‘unpreparable’ for and constantly expect the unexpected. This phenomenal task is enforced upon organisations by the shifting high-risk nature of our society. The landscape of what we class as high-risk has changed forever, meaning the need for organisations to provide a duty of care solution for their entire workforce is more vital now than ever.

To find about AtlasNXT, our new duty of care and communications platform, visit: http://info.track24.com/atlasnxt-protect-your-people-transform-your-operations 


What does privacy mean in the context of duty of care?

By Emily Byrne, Content Manager & Marketing Executive at Track24

What does privacy mean in the context of duty of care? How do both apply to organisations, enterprises, their employees and extended networks? Most people understand the term ‘duty of care’ to mean: “The moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of others.” Source. However, the need for privacy in the context of duty of care has integrated itself into every avenue of our daily working lives. In which ways?

The society we live in is flooded with security breaches and cyber-attacks, particularly amidst Covid19. The Covid19 crisis brought around a cyber pandemic and a fivefold increase in cyber attacks noted by WHO by April 2020 alone. Source. We are targeted on the daily by imposters claiming we have a parcel from Royal Mail or DPD to be re-delivered and prompted to enter our card details to do so, or by hackers claiming to be HSBC, Lloyds or (insert other bank or building society name here). 

A recent study shows; “Majorities think their personal data is less secure now, that data collection poses more risks than benefits, and believe it is not possible to go through daily life without being tracked.” Source

In light of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of May 2018 and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), effective from January 2020, enterprises must protect their customer’s data at all times. What systems are in place to protect customer data? What must organisations do if they are impacted by a cyber attack or data breach? What is the organisation’s best practice to protect individual privacy? 

Notably, half of the CEOs asked in a recent study undertaken by the World Economic Forum cited regulation as a priority for 2021, post-Covid. “This unquestionably reflects a rising assertiveness by governments around privacy, data, trade and – amplified by COVID-19 – health,” IBM says. Source.

Trust is as important as it ever has been to business and enterprises. A breach of user privacy or duty of care can sabotage a brand’s reputation entirely. People want to work and buy from reputable, credible companies who they know will keep their data secure. “The business value of data has never been greater than it is today. The loss of trade secrets or intellectual property (IP) can impact future innovations and profitability. So, trustworthiness is increasingly important to consumers, with a full 75% reporting that they will not purchase from companies they don’t trust to protect their data.” Source.

We explore what privacy means in the context of duty of care for businesses and enterprises. This is a hot topic, as highlighted by the fall from grace of third-party cookies, steered by Apple and Google, to be enacted in 2022 and recent, tragic events in the UK media such as the case of Sarah Everard.

Honing in on the GDPR effect: A shift in the status of duty of care and privacy

Illustrative of a recent global increase in data privacy concerns: “Some 81% of the American public say that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits, and 66% say the same about government data collection.” Source.

In order to provide their duty of care obligations to their customers, businesses and enterprises need to have solutions in place to actively protect customer data. As stated by IBM: “Consumer awareness of the importance of data privacy is on the rise. Fueled by increasing public demand for data protection initiatives, multiple new privacy regulations have recently been enacted, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of May 2018 and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)”, effective from January 2020. Source

If businesses slip up and fail to follow GDPR or CCPA privacy regulations, this could result in detrimental brand press and public scandal, as we’ve seen in recent years through the wrongdoings and corruption of Cambridge Analytica, at the most concerning end of the scale. Source

“Companies that have overlooked their duty of care to their customers after a data breach have seen significant and long-lasting reputational damage as well as financial penalties being imposed by the regulator.” Source

So, why is data privacy and data security so important? IBM gives us the data security 101: “When properly implemented, robust data security strategies will protect an organization’s information assets against cybercriminal activities, but they also guard against insider threats and human error, which remains among the leading causes of data breaches today. Data security involves deploying tools and technologies that enhance the organization’s visibility into where its critical data resides and how it is used. Ideally, these tools should be able to apply protections like encryption, data masking, and redaction of sensitive files, and should automate reporting to streamline audits and adhering to regulatory requirements.” Source.

Digital transformation is profoundly affecting every aspect of how businesses and enterprises operate and compete on a daily basis. As the volume of data enterprises create, store and manipulate grows, as does a greater need for data governance. As computer environments span the public cloud, enterprise data centers and IOT sensors, remote servers and even robots, businesses and enterprises have an extensive duty of care to protect the privacy of the data of their customers. 

Recent trends have seen business enterprises and corporate entities implement GDPR across the board, in order to keep themselves compliant and prepared. StreetFight notes: “This trend is different across regions. Companies based in the U.S. are trying to leverage CCPA to collect more data whereas companies in Asia Pacific are defaulting to GDPR to leverage data sharing with the EU. As a result, the investment in privacy experts, tools, consultants, and practices will increase dramatically in 2021”. Source. “The ‘GDPR’ effect can be seen across the world with many countries stepping forward with their version of data protection and showing how their consumers’ rights are important to them. With major markets like Brazil, China, and India declaring that they will be implementing these regulations, smaller countries will have an incentive to follow suit and create a framework to emulate these regulations.” Source.

In the context of data privacy, duty of care is most valued by customers when it’s enacted to help, support and protect them, especially if something goes wrong. If you fail to protect your customers and their data, they’ll vote to abandon your brand with a swift click of a mouse.

Welcome to the privacy-first party: Customer data, marketing and duty of care 

In the wake of Google and Apple’s announcements of removal of third-party cookies early in 2022, the advertising ecosystem must strategise and explore new methods of marketing which embrace a privacy-first, first-party data approach. A duty of care is now attached to the usage of customer data and data privacy, after the most recent passage of Virginia’s new privacy regulation: the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act of March 2021, built upon changes made by the CCPA and the EU’S GDPR Act.

‘As smartphones, mobile apps, and mobile web rose to the top of the usage charts, companies realized that these phones could basically be used as 24/7 surveillance devices.’ Source.

Apple has begun to develop its data privacy measures, with the iOS 14 update at the end of April and beginning of May 2021. “Apple will require apps to ask users for permission (opt-in) to collect and share data on all Apple devices, most notably iPhones.” Source. “The biggest unknown […] after the iOS 14 update is how many people will choose to opt-in and continue to allow personal identifiers on their Apple devices. Current estimates range from as low as 10% to 30% or higher.” Source.

As for Google, they plan “to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from website to website.” Source This has “the potential to move the digital advertising industry as a whole away from individualized tracking.” Source. A definite nod to preserving the privacy of the individual user and towards duty of care, no doubt.

StreetFight expertly condenses the recent shift from third to first-party data and indicates how this has forced companies to review their duty of care to their customers, in terms of data privacy: “First, users were merely informed that apps were using their personal data. Then regulators drafted tougher legislation, including personal legal implications for executives whose companies didn’t comply. Next came rule changes that forced apps to make specific requests for every type of sensitive data they wanted to use.” Source

Aptly put, each one of recent changes to data regulation legislation: “was aimed at curtailing practices that compromised users’ privacy. Each new wrinkle forced companies to adapt.” Source.

Recent changes will protect user privacy under a duty of care umbrella, which will eventually enable users complete control over their data. Customers will be able to determine whether they wish to share their data and if so, which parts, and consider with whom they may share it with.

Employing duty of care and a privacy-first approach in the workplace 

Let’s begin by exploring the common law of confidentiality, in order to determine what privacy means in the context of the most basic level of duty of care employers are obligated to fulfil to their individual employees. We’ll move on to evaluate how duty of care and privacy protection have evolved in the workplace in recent years.

“The legal obligation for confidentiality is one of common law, which means it will change as case law evolves. The so-called common law duty of confidentiality is complex: essentially it means that when someone shares personal information in confidence it must not be disclosed without some form of legal authority or justification. In practice, this will often mean that the information cannot be disclosed without that person’s explicit consent unless there is another valid legal basis.” Source.

In less legal jargon: Although set to constantly evolve with common law, the common law duty of confidentiality protects employees’ private information from being disclosed in normal situations. Only with legal necessity or consent from the individual can this be done. Therefore, a basic level duty of care is ensured. 

An organisation’s duty of care is not only necessary offline in the technology-obsessed world we operate in. A new statutory duty of care was set in place to monitor online platforms and end user privacy, operating in the UK in the Government’s Online Harms White Paper, published back in 2019. 

“Social media platforms, file hosting sites, online discussion boards, messaging services and search engines, as well as other businesses that ‘allow users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online’, will be subject to the new duty. Compliance with the new duty is to be overseen by an independent regulator, which the government said industry would fund.” Source.

This regulator was proposed to have a legal obligation to ‘pay due regard to innovation’, as well as ‘protect users’ rights online’, ‘particularly rights to privacy and freedom of expression’. 

Recent, harrowing events in the UK media have highlighted the need for organisations to continue to ensure their duty of care obligations to employees after hours, with Sarah Everard’s story sparking a movement based around female security. 

“Activists who have previously channeled energy into almost every other social and political cause are, finally, turning to the matter of women’s lives. Here in the UK, a spontaneous political movement has erupted with women at its centre.” Source.

Any emerging protective intelligence technologies or software used by organisations to monitor the safety status of employees should be deployed carefully, with the promise that they are privacy-first and user consent driven.The end user should be able to determine when they are being tracked and be able to switch to private mode or disable active tracking when they have reached their destination safely, or no longer feel at risk.

In recent years, the importance of an employer’s duty of care over their employees has come under the spotlight. In the aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic and the increased terror threat level in the UK, we’ve seen organisations focus on both protecting mental health in the workplace and adopting a more hybrid way of working. Companies are much more ‘woke’ when it comes to protecting the well-being of their people.

An example of the evolution of duty of care, performance management technology? BambooHR is using geolocation technology to help record employees locations and timesheets. The HR platform states: ‘Adding geolocation to Time Tracking in the BambooHR Mobile app helps make your workforce that much more transparent across the board.’ Source. Employees’ privacy remains protected when they clock out of their app once their working day is done and of course, employees must first, be willing to opt in. 

Let’s consider how duty of care has evolved into ‘reasonable care’ in the midst of the pandemic: “‘Reasonable care’ means that an employer has to assess potential risk; the harm it could cause an employee (and others); and the safety precautions that could be implemented to eliminate or minimise risk to as low a level as reasonably practicable.” Source. This obligation becomes more complicated for organisations to enact when we consider all the employees working remotely. 

Two major aspects of this new form of duty of care? Protecting individual privacies and taking reasonable care to shield employees from foreseeable harm. It becomes clearer than ever, duty of care cannot be delegated to another person or organisation, it is entirely in the hands of the organisation in question and has arguably become more important than ever. Brand reputation will undoubtedly suffer, should malpractices of a duty of care or privacy protection nature be reported.

Employees are now driving employers to take duty of care seriously. Safety, flexibility and wellness are the top trending priorities in the workplace. Here’s how, as cited from Forbes’ fascinating article: “10 Workplace Trends to Watch For in 2021”.

Safety: “Workplace safety isn’t just a topic for manufacturing and warehouse environments. Employers need to have policies and procedures in place to make sure their office workers feel safe, too.” Source.

Flexibility: “Prior to the pandemic, flexibility was seen as a perk. Now, it is much more than that. To attract and retain talent, it has become a necessity. Offering this flexibility can benefit companies as well. Providing flexible schedules can result in increased morale and productivity while also reducing stress.” Source.

Wellness: “There is an added focus on health care benefits and wellness initiatives. Employees will continue to directly compare their current benefits to the benefits offered at prospective employers, particularly when it comes to mental health and wellness.” Source.

As we’ve all experienced, the trends in 2021 have prompted major adaptation and change in the workplace, such as an increased use of technology and significantly, a shift in mindset. Now, a huge emphasis is placed upon employees feeling safe, well and provided with flexible working opportunities. Organisations must provide employees with a duty of care which rivals competitors and previous workplaces. In this day and age, duty of care obligations can in no way be ignored.


In answer to the question: “What does privacy mean in the context of duty of care?”, protecting employees’ privacy IS an integral part of an organisation’s duty of care culture. After all, “Trust is based on three key components: what you say, what you do, and how you perform.” Source

Trust culture depends on not only employees, but also customers maintaining confidence in a brand. Organisations must be reliable, dependable, accountable and transparent both internally and externally, not only in their duty of care policies but also in the way they handle data privacy and confidential information, particularly in light of recent legislation changes, prompted by the EU GDPR Act and the CCPA.

The modern world we live in, in the shadow of the impact of the Covid19 pandemic, a boom of online activity, terror threats and hybrid, remote working, has married the obligations for organisations to ensure that sufficient duty of care and privacy protection is readily available to their employees and even their extended networks. Perhaps… technology provides a solution for the provision of both necessities. 

For more information about the work of Track24, visit our refreshed website here: https://www.track24.com


Your people should be protected: As should your data

By Emily Byrne, Content Manager & Marketing Executive at Track24

Why Track24 is your best-in-class, data secure provider of tracking solutions

The fifth edition in our content series, exploring tracking in the digital world considers why security of people is not an area in which organisations can afford to cut corners. Have you considered how substandard security solutions might sacrifice the data security and quality of your protective intelligence system?

Track24 is the best-in-class, data secure, privacy-first solution, because your people should be protected, as should your data.

We’re your industry-leading vendor, miles ahead of low cost competitors, thanks to the quality of our robust systems, our ISO27001 certification and rigid GDPR compliance, our privacy-first outlook and promise to keep your people, assets and data safe and secure and our outstanding reputation for customer service and satisfaction. 

Track 24: The best-in-class, quality system & vendor

It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to choose a tracking provider you know you can trust. Our platform is effective, easy to use and allows you to communicate with your people fast, in the moments it matters most. Here’s a handy checklist which will help you access the quality of a vendor: 

  • Look into the clients your system provider works with. Are they credible organisations?
  • Can you find independent, third-party reviews or MPS scores online?
  • Does the provider hold relevant independent certifications for compliance? The most important certifications you should look for is whether the provider is ISO27001 certified and whether they’re an accredited HM Government G-Cloud supplier.
  • Does the provider adhere to the rules and regulations of GDPR? Will your information be used safely and securely?
  • Has the provider won any awards?

When using one of Track24’s solutions, you can place the entirety of your trust in the fact we are best-in-class for quality assurance, a highly credible organisation with a high-profile list of clients, award accolades and are fully GDPR compliant. We never cut any corners when it comes to quality and you know with our company, your data is always safe and secure. 

Track24: GDPR compliant & ISO27001 certified 

Track24 is committed to operating at the highest security standards which we achieve through investing in our people, processes and technology. Our ISO27001 policy is informed by the requirements of ISO/IEC 20001:2011 (IT Service System Management Standard), ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (Information Technology – Security Techniques – Information Security Management Systems) and the Payment Cards Industry Data Security Standards.

Track24 ensures we manage data in an entirely GDPR compliant manner through the regular monitoring of security threats and the testing and auditing of the effectiveness of our control measures. Additionally, we provide appropriate information, instruction and training to make sure all employees are aware of their responsibilities and legal duties.

Track 24: A privacy-first approach

At Track24, we always take a privacy-first approach when it comes to your people, assets and data. We will never sacrifice your privacy by cutting corners when it comes to data security. Data is collected to keep your organisation and teams on the ground informed and within a communication loop, with the ultimate goal of keeping your people and assets safe and secure. Other than for this reason, you never need to worry about your location data leaving your phone with Track24 applications.

With a Track24 solution, you never need to be concerned about your data being used for unnecessary marketing purposes, or your privacy being exploited or at risk. We’ve got you covered.

Track24: Outstanding customer service and satisfaction rates

Most importantly, here at Track24 we’re always here to help. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service and satisfaction rates and are delighted to hold an above industry standard MPS score.

We offer 24/7, 365 days a year customer support and go above and beyond to make sure your problems are solved, your technologies up and running and your people and assets are safe and secure. 

Track24 benefits from an in-house team of engineers which allow us to constantly evolve and adapt our product internally, in response to customer feedback. 

We are delighted to now be able to provide virtual training solutions, in order to expand our reach and support staff working in remote and disparate environments. 

Track24’s solutions operate for customers all over the world, in high-risk environments such as the Middle East, South America and Africa, to name but a few. Track24 and their partners have recently expanded our footprint and now have field support officers or representatives in 30 countries worldwide.


To reiterate, Track24 is your best-in-class provider of tracking solutions, thanks to the quality of our systems, our GDPR and ISO27001 compliance, our privacy-first approach and our outstanding customer service and customer satisfaction ratings. 

We outshine cheaper alternatives by always ensuring your data is kept private, safe and secure, which is why we’re trusted by some of the most high-profile organisations in the world. 

At Track24, our goal is to keep your people and assets safe and secure and we’ll always do the same with your data. 

To find out more about Track24’s solutions, click here: https://www.track24.com/products/


How do we engage with tracking on a daily basis and what happens to our data?

By Emily Byrne, Content Manager & Marketing Executive at Track24

The third edition in our new series, exploring tracking in the digital world considers, from a duty of care perspective, how we engage with tracking day-to-day, through the activity and location tracking apps we use.

We also consider how recent announcements made by communications giants which promise to change the way they use third-party cookies will incentivize a privacy-first marketplace. Of course at Track 24, our approach is always privacy-first.

There’s no denying we’re in awe of these wondrous wearables and tactile activity trackers. But do you know the data you’re actually sharing when you use everyday applications which track your location, actions and behaviours? 

Colossal comms corporations embark on privacy-first changes

We’ve seen immense news from Google this month. Google will stop selling ads based on users’ specific browsing searches and habits by 2022. “Google’s recent announcement that it would stop selling ads based on users’ specific web browsing histories was met with enthusiasm among consumer privacy experts.” Source. Go, Google! 

The issue of privacy once again takes the spotlight, as the recent passage of Virginia’s new privacy regulation combines with changes made by California’s Privacy Rights Act and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

‘Google’s plan to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from website to website has the potential to move the digital advertising industry as a whole away from individualized tracking.’ Source

This announcement doesn’t come as an overwhelming surprise, as Google has already announced its Chrome browser will phase out the enforcement of third-party cookies by 2022. Google’s made it explicit it doesn’t plan to track individuals online by building substituting identifiers once third-party cookies have been painted out the picture. 

StreetFight notes: ‘IAB recently reported that only 48% of brands feel that they are “very or somewhat” prepared for the loss of third-party cookies and identifiers. Agencies fared a little better at 64%.’ Source. Google’s privacy-first changes will have an enormous future impact on advertising revenues, whilst pushing other corporations in the privacy-first direction.

Google isn’t the only colossal corporation undergoing user tracking changes. The big Apple are following suit. ‘In its announcement, Apple states: “App Tracking Transparency will require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.”’ Source. These changes are expected to come into play from March of 2021. 

With it recently being declared by a TapResearch poll conducted in 2020, 76% of iPhone users would choose to decline the sharing of their location with apps or remain indifferent on the matter, we can gauge the impact on advertising agencies and applications would be phenomenal. Source.

A final string to add to the privacy bow comes with location-based marketing association, Cuebiq announcing the shutting down of their SDK to become more privacy-friendly. Source

We’ve seen a shift in recent years in the behaviour of the ad industry, suggesting where digital identity is going. ‘Brands, publishers, and others dependent on Google’s, and other, marketing platforms need to invest in alternatives and realize that there are new challenges ahead.’ Source. Independent companies reliant on Google’s marketing platforms will need to think outside the box and make their own preparations ahead of changes in 2022.

Staying security-savvy on Strava 

What information are you sharing with the world when you don your trainers and upload that impressive 50 minute 10k to Strava?

What information is shared?

Strava declares itself to store the following data on its website: Your name, location, route taken, your speed and your exercise activity – whether this be running, cycling, or even wind-surfing!

Strava notes you can change your privacy settings in the ‘settings’ section of the platform. You can make your profile entirely private by heading to Strava and going to: ‘Settings > Privacy. Under “Edit Past Activities,” select “Activity Visibility,” then click “Next.” Select either “Everyone,” “Followers,” or “Only You,” then click “Next.” Confirm your choice and Strava will update all the activities.’ Source.

It can be argued those who choose not to go private, are willingly sharing their data with their friends and network. Duh… isn’t this the social concept of the app? We hear you cry?

What happens to your data?

Who outside your chosen social network can view your information? An article recently published by Cosmopolitan, unveils a functionality of Strava which goes unnoticed by many: “One user tweeted about her experience with the app, writing, ‘Ran past the same girl a couple of times on my morning run and Strava has automatically added her as a ‘group activity’. Incredibly creepy and unsettling (particularly when you consider most of us run close to home lately). And there’s no way to remove her …’” Source.

Strava settings are automatically set to add users and share data. So, if you’d rather keep this information to yourself, then be sure to change your privacy settings. 

For additional information on varying privacy settings, be in the know and data-secrecy savvy, by visiting Strava’s website here. Source.

Media coverage in recent years has highlighted how activity trackers may have revealed the whereabouts of US military operations. The Strava saga was uncovered on Twitter by an International Security student from Australia, in January 2018.  

‘Natahn Ruser, pointed out Strava user activities potentially related to US military forward operating bases in Afghanistan, Turkish military patrols in Syria, and a possible guard patrol in the Russian operating area of Syria.’ Source.

Ruser’s findings were inevitably followed by a flurry of examples, ‘based on cross-referencing Strava user activity with Google Maps and prior news reporting: a  French military base in Niger, an Italian military base in Dijbouti and even CIA “black sites.”‘ Source.

A bigger concern from an operations security angle surrounded how activity data could be used to identify particular individuals and track them to sensitive locations. 

A researcher and activist ‘claimed to have used public data scraped from Strava’s website to track a French soldier from overseas deployment all the way back home.’ Source.

  • Paul Dietrich, A Researcher and Activist – 2018

Since these data discoveries dating back to 2015, the US military have been actively pursuing solutions and enacting changes in policy to keep their location whereabouts secure. 

Some of the security tightening may involve certain “no-go areas” or “leave-at-home policies” for personal smartphones and wearables, similar to what already exists in sensitive offices of the Pentagon and other installations.’

  • Peter Singer: Strategist and Senior Fellow at New America, a think tank based in Washington, DC – 2018

In light of modern geolocation technology, which is soaring in usage and popularity in recent years, persistent training and awareness is required by not only the military, but other corporations and establishments, to analyse and address security threats.

‘Militaries and other organizations will require constant, up-to-date training for both their leadership and the rank-and-file, to ensure they’re aware of the threat from modern geolocation technology.’ 

  • Lynette Nusbacher: Strategist and Military Historian, UK – 2018

Strava is a hugely popular, well-loved app, used across the globe to motivate and mobilise us to exercise and then proudly share our activities with our networks. We’ve acknowledged the worst-case scenarios from a data-security perspective, without discrediting the success and importance of this app to users’ day-to-day lives. Our report simply gives you everything you need to know to stay security-savvy whilst recording your runs.

Zooming in on Google Maps

What information is shared?

What happens to your data when you share it with one of the nation’s favourite location-based applications, Google Maps? To create a more personalised user experience, every place you’ve looked up in Maps is stored and integrated into Google’s search engine algorithm for 18 months. Source. To view more information on Google’s ‘Web & Activity’ settings, click here. Source.

Google Maps won’t allow the saving of frequently visited places if you’re not logged into your Google account, a loophole if you’d like to prevent your favourite spots being stored.

Leaving reviews for your most-loved haunts on Google Maps documents your location. Be security-savvy about the information you might be sharing when you leave a review. If you’d like to make your review private after leaving it, here’s how: ‘Profile icon> Your profile > Edit profile > Profile and privacy settings > Scroll down > Restricted profile. If you enable this, you’ll need to approve who can follow your profile and see your reviews.’ Source.

What happens to your data?

Currently, Google sells advertisers the chance to evaluate how well their campaigns are doing and how many people have visited their shops. However, this only happens if you choose to opt in, or forget to opt out of this service on Google Maps. Plus, remember, all this will change come 2022.

There are of course alternatives out there, but Google Maps really does lead the market when it comes to map-apps. Substitute apps aren’t readily available on both iOS and Android devices, or arguably simply aren’t as feature-rich as Google’s intuitive platform.

Fitbits: Locking down your health and wellness data

What information are you sharing with the world when you upload the 20,000 steps you’ve smashed on your long Sunday stroll?

What information is shared?

As outlined in Fitbit’s extensive privacy policy, using a Fitbit device will collect data to estimate metrics like distance travelled, number of steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, active minutes and location. These are collected in order to determine your stats and progress. Source.

Reassuringly, Fitbit’s website states: “We do not share your personal information except in the limited circumstances described in our privacy policy like when you agree or direct us to share the information, or when the information is shared for external processing, for legal reasons, or to prevent harm.” Source.

What happens to your data?

Fitbit allows you to customise your profile information, determining which stats you make publicly available to your network. You can adjust your privacy preferences in account settings to your liking.

Community features are those like 7-day leaderboards and forums, which you may link in with when competing with your friends. If you choose to participate in a challenge on Fitbit, information like your profile photo, posted messages, total steps, personal stats and achievements are not protected by your privacy preferences. Be aware, this information will be available to other challenge participants, not just your selected network. 

If you know your friends are on Fitbit, you can invite them to join your network by providing their email address. Fitbit will then use their contact information to send them an invitation. The company claims never to add this data to a marketing list. Fitbit’s website humorously states: ‘We’ve tried, but we just can’t get the psychic thing down. So, when you contact us for help, we collect your name, contact information, and message to make sure we get you the answers you need.’ Source.

When you visit Fitbit’s website, your IP address is collected and used to make sure you’re receiving content which is relevant to you and your location. 

Fitbit’s chucklesome tone embellishes their Cookie policy content. ‘Our policy on cookies—in life, and online—is that we like them a lot, in moderation. When you visit our site, we use cookies and other technologies to improve what we do and how we do it. Source.

Only if you grant Fitbit permission to access your location, will GPS and location data be collected. ‘Some features, like mapping a run or activity, use precise location data. This includes GPS signals, device sensors, Wi-Fi access points, and cell tower IDs.’ Source.

With regards to your account info, Fitbit explains its collection of information like your height, gender, age and weight upon creation of your account with them with a dutiful: ‘Everything’s better when it’s tailored to you.’ This information helps Fitbit personalize daily exercise and activity stats, including the number of calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve travelled. These key features are of course, what most users buy and own their wise wearables for!

Partnerships and pastures new

Fitbit is part of the Google family, as of 2021. ‘The search giant bought the health-tracking company for $2.1bn (£1.5bn) in November 2019 but faced questions from regulators. Following a four-month European Commission investigation, it agreed not to use health and location data from Fitbit devices for advertising. The deal was then approved by authorities in December.’ Source.

Both Fitbit and Google remain crystal clear about their data privacy policies under their new partnership. ‘The trust of our users will continue to be paramount, and we will maintain strong data privacy and security protections, giving you control of your data and staying transparent about what we collect and why’, says Fitbit CEO, President and Founder, James Park. Source.

It will come as exceedingly reassuring news to Fitbit users, that their health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads, with this data being stored completely separately.

‘Google said the acquisition “has always been about devices, not data”. “We’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy.”  Source. Google also promises the commitments given to the European commission, which it must keep for 10 years, will be implemented globally.

Google promises: ‘to store Fitbit data in a “silo”, separate from data used for advertising, to maintain third-party access to the Fitbit platform and not to degrade the user experience of third-party smartwatches paired with an Android phone.’ Source.

James Park assures: ‘Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data.’ Source.

Park summarises the new partnership with a triumphant: ‘Many of Fitbit’s ‘devices’ features will remain the same but, with Google at the helm, “possibilities are truly limitless’. Source.

It’s worth remembering with Fitbit, regardless of all its data-privacy assurance, particularly in light of the Google partnership, a user can change their profile to entirely private in settings, if they wish.

Technology takeaways

To conclude, the third edition in our tracking series comes to your readership from a privacy-first, duty of care perspective, much like the popular-with-the-people examples we’ve evaluated. We’ve shared our insights on how to stay safe whilst engaging with location-based tracking day-to-day and addressed your burning questions about what happens with your data. 

In light of the recent announcement from Google of plans to stop sharing location based marketing information with third-party services by 2022, we’ll continue to see a rise in privacy-first technology models and witness companies approaching location data with a refreshed and revived, privacy-first perspective.

To find out more about the work of Track24, visit our main website here: www.track24.com 


The nationalisation of tracking

In recent months, the UK government has started to nationalise tracking in an attempt to positively impact society. What does the nationalisation of tracking actually mean?

If tracking is nationalised, it is owned or led by the government or state. For example, NHS track and trace.

In this blog, we take a look at the questions and concerns the nationalisation of tracking has raised.

Keeping tags on our health service

The government has teamed up with telecoms giants, BT, to test the use of tracking bracelets for hospital patients, to counteract the huge bill accumulated by missed appointments. Source.

The tagging of all patients, visitors, patients, staff and equipment in hospitals would mean the monitoring of location at all times.

Artificial intelligence may be used to determine when someone may be about to miss an appointment, if they are, for example, in the wrong area of the hospital. Appointments may then be rescheduled accordingly, freeing up staff and equipment to serve other patients. 

“Data from NHS Digital showed that 7.7 million appointments were missed by hospital outpatients in 2019-20, costing the health service an estimated £920 million. 

BT chief executive Philip Jansen said missed appointments were ‘just too costly’ to the NHS and the system needed to be made more efficient.” Source.

This proposal promises to have a distinctly positive impact on the efficiency of our NHS. 

However, concerns about the privacy of patients and staff alike are raised. Will individual rights become infringed upon, if the system eventually determines: You’re either tracked, or you can’t enter the hospital at all?

Further concerns surround healthcare tracking. There are security issues, as ever, related to hacking. Data tracking gathers the most intricate details of a person’s life, which a hacker seeks to use to harm an individual, perhaps through identity theft or ransom threats. 

What might happen if the new NHS system is hacked, as we’ve seen happen to the NHS and huge government systems in the past? The NHS WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 was caused by a bug in Windows systems. Source.

Any proposed healthcare tracking solution needs to be both user-friendly and transparent. The criteria for platform evaluation could include availability, scalability, ease of use, ability to manipulate at different levels of granularity, privacy and security enablement and quality assurance.” Source.

Tracking objects vs humans: A humane game?

The potential use of tracking bracelets in hospitals prompts us to consider the difference between tracking inanimate objects and people and the ethical concerns surrounding the latter. There is more of a societal concern surrounding the tracking of humans. This is something many are wary of.

The tracking of equipment has been recently trialled in some NHS hospitals, in a bid to free up equipment and improve efficiency.

“Last year, a hospital in Putney, South-West London, introduced BT sensors to save staff time by monitoring the location of equipment such as wheelchairs, as well as room and fridge temperatures.” Source.

Although a clear winner when it comes to improving productivity, some fear the tracking of equipment poses a threat to jobs, for example, for those tasked with monitoring, auditing or managing equipment. 

Test and trace: Surveillance or saviour?

Casting our minds back to 2020, there has been some debate surrounding the success and uptake of the NHS test and trace system, led by the government. Perhaps debates were born out of public concern for how an individual’s data would be used – rather than as an outright rejection of the system itself. 

The release of Singapore’s ‘TraceTogether’ app on 20 March 2020 illustrates this concern. “Only 12% of the population installed the app after its release, leading to a resurgence of new coronavirus cases after lockdown restrictions were eased in April. Source. Even now, only 20% of Singapore’s population are signed up.” Source.

With 60% of the public said to have downloaded the test and trace app, a weariness of surveillance is indicated. However, the UK Government confirmed last April: “at least 60% of the population need to download the app for it to fulfil its purpose”, so usage figures were in fact met. Source.

Although the NHS test and trace app was adopted by pubs, venues and close contact services, many businesses didn’t force members of the public to scan barcodes.

“According to the Guardian, analysis has also shown a correlation between low percentages of contacts being traced and higher rates of Covid in local areas.” Source. In reality, few people were contacted by test and trace in relation to the vast numbers of people testing positive for Covid19.

Some companies, particularly in the scientific sector, saw test and trace as a hindrance, preferring to use their own systems, processes and top-of-the-range PPE to combat the spread of Coronavirus within their workplace. 

Overall, the lack of trust in the NHS test and trace, resulted in some undermining of the system itself, despite its entirely positive intentions. In order for a nationalised tracking system to work successfully, the public must trust what may happen with data they share, to feel confident enough to fully adopt a system.

Tracking in a Covid world

As we cope with living with Covid19, tracking has integrated itself into our daily lives. We see this in recent news through the tracking and surveillance of visitors to Britain from ‘high-risk’ countries where new variants are prevalent. 

Those re-entering the UK without declaration may be faced with a jail sentence of up to ten years, with government officials checking up on those quarentening.

Once travel corridors reopen for the public and lockdowns ease, it’s expected health passports will be used to track travel. It’s suggested a proof of vaccination will be needed for travel to be permitted.

If, post Covid, tracking is seen as essential to monitor travel, this should only remain in place where necessary to ensure the safety of the public. New tracking travel legislation should be considered carefully, so as not to compromise individual freedoms. 

We’re rapidly speeding towards a world dependent on location sharing and movement tracking. Pre Covid, the freedom of movement was largely uncensored and encouraged.


The proposed nationalisation of tracking in hospitals demonstrates how changes in motion are for the benefit of our healthcare system and country as a whole. Aiming for a more efficient, cost-effective NHS takes top priority during the pandemic.

The nationalisation of NHS test and trace was born out of the government’s intention to combat Covid19 and control its spread. Ultimately, the system was set in place to protect the nation, despite some public criticism. 

Covid19 has changed the landscape of tracking in society, prompting an increased dependency on tracking and location sharing, contrasting with the freedom of movement we once experienced.

Overall, the government’s proposed nationalisation of tracking in hospitals and the nationalisation of NHS test and trace have the shared aim of improving our society for the better. 

To find out more about the work of Track24, visit our website here: https://www.track24.com


UN Environment GEO-6 Global Outlook Report for Youth: Keep it Green and Switch to Screen

UN Environment GEO-6 Global Outlook Report for Youth: Keep it Green and Switch to Screen

Proudest writing moment: Press release for the UN Environment Project and YUDU’s collaboration in publishing technologies to digitally distribute the GEO-6 Global Outlook for Youth Report

UN Environment GEO-6 Global Outlook Report for Youth: Keep it Green and Switch to Screen

For webpage, click here: https://www.yudu.com/case-studies/un-environment-programme

Web copy by Emily Byrne

Graphic design by Gemma Smith and web design by Ed Jones

Read Press Release here:

UNEP push for paperless GEO-6 Youth Report to encourage environmental empowerment

Covid-19 furthers need for digital publication and communication

The image of a schoolgirl on a Swedish summer’s day, holding a sign stating ‘School Strike for Climate Change’ outside parliament reminds us global warming and sustainability have soared to the top of our global political agenda. We’re losing our rainforests at a rate of one football pitch every two seconds. We must act fast. The Covid-19 pandemic furthers the need for digital publication and communication, in order to promote environmental behavioral change amongst young people.

In aid of the current (and increasingly scary) state of our planet, the UN have pushed for paperless when it comes to publishing their GEO-6 Report for Youth, with the help of YUDU Publisher’s document management technologies. This means thankfully, you don’t have to be Greta Thunberg or David Attenborough to educate yourself about the environment. 

GEO-6 will enable young people to have their voices heard when it comes to sustainability, encourage them to make daily sustainable decisions and to consider green, sustainable career paths. The report aims to inspire transformative change and to empower involvement in decision-making, on a local, regional and global basis.

Pierre Boileau, GEO Head said: “Digital publications are now more important than ever for ensuring the environmental sustainability of UNEP’s products. With COVID-19 keeping us at home, it is still important to stay informed about how our actions and lifestyles continue to affect the environment, both positively and negatively. GEO-6 for Youth is a new e-publication to guide youth on how to help in the global movement to build back better, inspire social mobilization, and ultimately, put the planet on a more environmentally sustainable course. This report offers an interactive, digital alternative to traditional print publications enhancing global accessibility, to engage young people through dynamic graphics and videos.”

YUDU joins the UN’s mission to prevent any wasted paper caused by printing and distributing the GEO-6 report, which will save trees lives. UNEP’s decision to host the report digitally will also help prevent pollution and fuel costs by limiting shipping and freight.

YUDU’s system provides a single URL to distribute the report across websites, email and social media. YUDU Publisher has warranted the enhancement of GEO-6, featuring overlay content like video, audio, imagery and animation. YUDU have embellished the report with bright colours, interactive elements and a vibrant design to make it a fun and inspiring document for young people to learn from. 

Users are able to search the GEO-6 report using specific keywords and a historical archive, to find exactly what they’re looking for. Multi-platform access means GEO-6 will become accessible on multiple devices, widening the opportunity for young people to embrace sustainable living. All of the above technologies can be easily applied to any business documentation.

YUDU CEO, Richard Stephenson said: “GEO-6 is using the very best digital techniques to engage the younger generations around the world. The UNEP message is powerful and fostering a vital youth-led awareness of the importance of protecting the life on our planet. Digital is the only way to effectively reach this audience and keep true to the message of sustainability. Of equal importance to the excellent content is the simplicity of navigation and ensuring the experience will suit all levels of digital competence. Effective communication requires easy access, engaging content and a simple user experience. The YUDU platform’s interactive and distribution features make all this possible.”

GEO-6 for Youth will act as a one-stop-shop for young people to understand the state of the environment, inspire them to make transformative change, make daily sustainable decisions and advise them on sustainable career choices for the future. The digital delivery of the GEO-6 document will save wasted paper (and our trees), prevent pollution caused by manual distribution and shipping and provide education and accessibility for young people.

If you would like to see how YUDU can benefit your organisation and help you to reach destination digital, click here.


Music, productivity and YUDU’s desert island discs

By Emily Byrne

Does listening to music while working remotely increase productivity? Let’s take a look at the facts and figures. One study shows 90% of workers perform better when listening to music, with 88% of employees producing more accurate work when listening to tunes. Business owners seem to agree with their employees, with 65% suggesting music makes their employees more productive and as many as 40% claiming playing music can increase sales. Source.

Meanwhile, another study found an increase in mood and quality of work whilst listening to music, as well as an increase in productivity whilst listening to background music when performing a repetitive task. Source.

The jury’s out at the BBC as to whether music makes us more productive when working: “While some research has found that music can help us stay calm and focused, a recent study found that it can make it hard to communicate basic instructions.” Source.

YUDU CEO, Richard Stephenson posed an important question to the team at YUDU, in preparation for our Samling Zoom video call: “Which would be your five desert island isolation tracks?”

This question got all our staff thinking. Which song would keep us positive? Which track could be played over and over, without getting tiresome? What would our colleagues make of our taste in music?

Here are a few of YUDU staff’s responses of there can’t-live-without tracks:

Ryan Forsdick: Long Road to Ruin; Foo Fighters  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=308KpFZ4cT8

Be mine Tonight; Dave Dobbyn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjT9NxJcwy8

301210; Antonymes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iApmIYURxY4

Surfing with the Alien; Joe Satriani https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoERl34Ld00

Natural Disaster; Zac Brown Band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fPPEcAi3Lk

James O’Brien: Stevie Wonder; As https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_sG0weS1d8

Arcade Fire (with David Bowie); Wake up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6c9Ejfu-iU

James Vincent McMorrow; Gold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJsBpng1wY0

Fleetwood Mac; Rhiannon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgmRb3MlpHQ

Blur; Tender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB8_8tsmg2Y

Alan Tidmarsh: Crossroads; Cream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJn8XbPeKc

Voodoo Chile; Jimi Hendrix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZBlqcbpmxY

Hotel California; Eagles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=811QZGDysx0

Eight Days a Week; The Beatles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kle2xHhRHg4

505; The Arctic Monkeys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV5VKdcQOJE

Ann Petty: Forever Autumn; Justin Hayward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJbp_GjD9VE 

Wade in the Water; Ramsey Lewis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skCYAnFcQu8

Handbags and Gladrags; Rod Stewart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CShlFZr8ORw

Born to Run; Bruce Springsteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxuThNgl3YA 

Summer of 69; Bryan Adams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFjjO_lhf9c

Harvey Brindle: Step right up; Tom Waits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTdScE3Rqh8

Walk on hot coals; Rory Gallagher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvO5OdZgtyM

Voulez Vous; Abba https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10yrPDf92hYhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwcgMVXuBJc

M.A.A.D. City; Kendrick Lemar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10yrPDf92hY

Bossa Dorado; Joscho Stephan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vusBz4HdnYY

Ruxandra Recoseanu: Kriminal; Robin and the Backstabbers https://youtu.be/3_QFRHMyVYQ
Chop suey!; System of a Down https://youtu.be/CSvFpBOe8eY

Till Kingdom Come; Coldplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0UN-pVTLf4&feature=youtu.be

The Kill; Thirty Seconds to Mars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yvGCAvOAfM&feature=youtu.be

Closer; Kings of Leon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8agEo6zxeHY&feature=youtu.be

One of the most pressing and controversial questions staff asked was: Who wins? The Beatles or Abba?

Richard’s burning question stemmed a flurry of further Samling discussions. We’ve gone on to discuss our top five Christmas movies, action movies and TV series. Talking about these topics has boosted staff morale and has us all feeling super festive. What’s next? The list is endless.


Covid confusion as parents worry about sending children back to school

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Markus Winkler

Fake news on social media is causing Covid confusion among parents many of whom are unsure whether it’s safe to send their children back to school. Parents are inevitably feeling extremely conflicted. They want to keep their children safe but also know how important education and social interaction are to young minds. Add in a storm of fake news about the dangers of schools’ reopening and it’s no wonder parents are stressed.

Guardians have found themselves wading through advice on what can be expected in a Covid-safe school. Creators and publishers of distorted headlines exploit the concerns of the ever-worried parent in order to get their stories out there. Social media and networking apps have become a breeding ground for Covid confusion and the spreading of false information. In an effort to set the record straight we attempt to separate the fact from the fiction.

Claim: Schoolchildren can be taken for Covid tests and detained without their parents’ consent

More than 500 Facebook and WhatsApp posts have circulated in the past month claiming that children can be taken for Covid tests against their parents’ consent. One post has been shared 10,000 times on Facebook. It reads: “Parents: did you know that legislation has been passed under the Covid Act which would allow them to take your child out of school, test them and/or DETAIN them for fourteen days WITHOUT even informing you?” The post is cynically addressed to ‘all caring parents out there’. With a hook to reel in perturbed parents, the false news cycle begins.

Truth: Teachers cannot take children to coronavirus testing centres without their parents’ consent. If children were to test positive for coronavirus, they still cannot be detained without their guardians’ permission.

Claim: Masks could end up helping child abductors

In another scare it has been suggested that child abductors could use face masks to hide their identity. A troubling post declared: “It took under three minutes to throw a shirt over her tank. Put tape over her mouth. Turn her pink mask to the white side. Tuck her hair in a hat. And out shorts over her pink pants with the pant legs scrunched up. You wouldn’t even recognize your own child after three minutes. And you would be searching for the face of your missing child in a sea of MASKS!”

The allegation appeared in over 150 posts on Facebook in the last month, mainly in the US, but also in Canada, the Netherlands and the UK. The post has been shared 26,000 times. It is thought to have been created by QAnon, a conspiracy theory group in the US, who are often published on websites 4chan and 8chan. This group is suspected of being behind claims that President Trump is waging war against an alleged paedophile ring, with members in the government, business and media.

Truth: BBC News has confirmed: “We can’t find any evidence of people trying to use (these) tactics to abduct children. Likewise, there’s no evidence that wearing masks somehow increases the risks.”

KidsSafe in Florida, a child protection charity, warns such posts: “threaten to diminish our identities, tarnish our reputations and harm our good works.” Charities have also said that these posts have led to their helplines being overrun, which has a knock-on impact on their work. Save the Children in the US has tweeted, objecting to the group’s use of the #SavetheChildren hashtag.

Claim: There are no cases of teachers being infected by students

A tweet was responsible for this conjecture. It read: “Masks in schools. Atrocious. No evidence supports this, in fact the opposite can be said. No teacher is recorded as getting Covid by a child, anywhere in the WORLD. Hospitalisation’s tiny, zero death days. What is this nonsense?”

Once again, social media amplifies this type of misinformation. The post was retweeted 255 times and liked 1,100 times.

Truth: You guessed it, it’s untrue to say no teacher has been recorded as catching Covid from a school child. In an investigation carried out by Public Health England, targeting outbreaks in schools in June, most coronavirus cases were due to staff passing on the virus to each other and students. However, six of the thirty outbreaks were said to have been caused by pupil-to-staff transmission, though incidents have been rare.


These theories have no factual basis. Measures are set in place to keep your child safe, such as the wearing of facemasks in communal areas in secondary schools and the teaching of children in ‘bubbles’.

The world we live in today see us constantly battling against fake news, enabled by our infatuation with technology, smartphones and social media. Media manipulators feed off the concerns of apprehensive parents who trawl social media sites or networking apps for answers about their child’s return to school post-lockdown. Parents must remember social media is rife with false claims. All it takes is a like or a share from someone in your network and the spoof news is part of your feed. So, remember to stay savvy as you scroll.


Face masks: The feelings behind the fabric

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Tony Hazek

Welcome to the weird world of Covid-19 where the new normal means wearing a mask to cover your face. Nobody looks human and it reminds us of the deadly virus out there. As from 24th July 2020 it became mandatory in the UK to wear a face mask in all shops and on public transport. This article explores how wearing a face mask makes us feel, in the UK, the US and globally. It provides suggestions on how we might tackle the anxiety associated with wearing a face mask and change our thoughts and behaviours as we face this new normal. With thanks to Simon Erksine and Commpro.biz for inspiring this article: https://www.commpro.biz/masks-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-we-need-to-overcome-mask-phobia/

The UK, the US and the anti-mask movement

Although most are compliant, mask-wearing is just one example in the Coronavirus pandemic highlighting the significant gap between what we are being asked to do and what many are doing.

Certainly is the case in the UK, that the government’s own disregard for the rules (I’m sure we all remember Dominic Cummings’ infamous lockdown tour) and the ambiguity surrounding what the ever-changing rules actually are results in some disobedience.

Let’s take a look at the US, where face-masks have sparked a political debate and the anti-mask movement. As the President, Donald Trump should be setting an example for the country… (don’t get me started). Trump’s refusal to wear a mask mirrors the attitude of many in the states. It also provides an excuse for many US citizens not to take this basic step. So begins the anti-mask movement.

Although they’re actually just a piece of cloth to protect us against contracting and spreading coronavirus, many of the US population see face masks as an attack on individual freedom, as outlined by this article from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/29/face-masks-us-politics-coronavirus

Without generalizing, polls suggest that Democrats are largely more inclined to wear face masks in public, than Republicans. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are political figures symbolizing the for and against mask movement. Ever the controversial, Trump accused Biden of wearing a face mask as a political statement against his presidency. Perhaps Biden wears a mask to protect his own health, Mr President? Just a thought.

Reopen NC are a group based in North Carolina who oppose lockdown orders. They called masks “muzzles” and said face masks and mandatory temperature checks were “ways of [their] freedom being eroded.” The group sparked a social media movement and founded the “Burn Your Mask Challenge”, which encourages people to post videos of them burning their face masks under the hashtag #IgniteFreedom.
Local leaders met in Palm Beach, Florida, to hear people speak in public about why they were so anti-masks. Anger was voiced that masks “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door” and concerns over a “plan-demic” conspiracy theory were heard. Pretty nuts, huh?

Without leadership from the top, we need leadership from the bottom-up. We all need to set an example and take the basic initiative to wear a mask when required, in order to protect ourselves, our families, friends and communities.

The erosion of social interaction

Let’s talk about the psychology of masks, behavioural change and what we can do to make wearing a mask a little less anxiety-inducing.

Ed Jones, Lead Marketing Strategist at YUDU gave me his opinion on how wearing a face mask makes him feel:

“Personally, I don’t like face masks. Of course, I understand the need to wear one, which I always do when I’m in a shop. But it’s not a pleasant experience, I constantly feel like I’m breathing recycled warm air. I also don’t like the way it interferes with my social interactions. It’s much harder to see people’s reactions, sharing a smile is a thing of the past. Honestly, I hope this is a passing phase and we can soon return to some semblance of normal.”

Ed raised such a valuable point which really got me thinking. When the ability to socially interact with those around us in public is taken away (the smile at a stranger passing in the street or the lady at the corner shop), how does this affect us psychologically?

Face masks definitely restrict our social interaction, particularly the small interactions with those we haven’t met or encounter whilst undertaking our daily journeys and duties. Many who already feel lonely or isolated in society (particularly post-lockdown) may depend on these meaningful everyday interactions to achieve a sense of feeling human and face masks restrict this. Face masks set up social barriers and avenues for misunderstanding.

Barriers are further increased for those with disabilities. In a survey conducted by Disability Rights UK, 40% of disabled people feared challenge when travelling on public transport with face masks. Consider those with impaired hearing, using lip reading to get through conversation. 13% said wearing a mask would prevent them from lip reading. Just under half of those asked said mental health conditions or breathing impairments would prevent them from wearing a mask. It is worth considering exemptions can be made for those with disabilities which make them unable to wear a face mask and for those who this might cause major destress. Still, Sadly, for many, conversation in public may be a thing of the past. See the full results of the survey here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/june/40-fear-challenge-without-face-masks-dr-uk-survey

The mind and the mask

There’s no denying that wearing a mask is a truly unpleasant experience, though we can shift our way of thinking when it comes to mask wearing so our rational brains can win out. As displayed by the uproar in the US, changing our behaviours to benefit others is generally much harder than when we change our behaviours for ourselves. However, it’s ourselves as well as others we’re protecting by wearing a face mask.

Behavioural change is often a slow process, requiring a conscious evaluation that the benefits of change outweigh the consequences of doing nothing at all. In this case, change has been thrust upon us in order to save lives and we must do all we can to embrace it. The consequences of doing nothing could be life-threatening. So, here’s what you can do to make wearing a face mask a little less daunting.

• Diaphragmatic breathing

Try breathing from the diaphragm, which will make your tummy expand in and out, instead of your chest going up and down, indicative of shallow breathing. Spend more time exhaling than inhaling. Perhaps inhale for three seconds and exhale for four.

• Repeat a mantra

Try repeating a word, phrase of even sound which helps you focus. If you’re concerned about getting strange looks, you can repeat this mantra to yourself in your head. Maybe this is something as simple as: ‘This too shall pass’. It’s scientifically proven that repeating a mantra can help regulate breathing and slow down physical responses.

• Practice mindfulness

Focus on what’s happening in the present moment instead of immersing yourself in self-created worries and negative thoughts.

• Aromatherapy

Inhaling essential oils such as lavender and orange oils can relieve anxiousness and encourage a sense of calm relaxation. Perhaps try these natural remedies out before your trip to the supermarket to help uplift your spirits.

I hope the above tips help to alleviate your face mask anxieties. With thanks and credit to Beak Speak: https://blog.beekley.com/why-protective-face-masks-make-you-feel-anxious-and-what-you-can-do-to-cope

Having fun with it: Funk up your face mask

Why not take inspiration from celebsville and treat your face mask as this year’s hottest new fashion accessory?

Many keen sewers are making money and helping the community all at once by selling handmade face masks. Why not chop up one of your favourite fabrics and give it a go yourself?

Personalised face masks are an excellent way to bring some positivity to these bleak times. Order and adorn a mask with your favourite punk band, characters from a beloved TV show, or even an inspirational quote on it. Whatever it is, be sure to have some fun with it!

How about copying the A-listers and coordinating your outfit with you mask? It’s called FASH-HUN and it will look extra as anything. Here’s a few examples:

Any and all of the above tips will make mask-wearing more fun, less daunting and feel less clinical and other-worldly.

Face masks in other cultures

Perhaps our reservations about wearing face masks stem from the difficulty: this is not part of our usual culture. It’s a change we’re all getting used to together in the UK and which faces major opposition in some cases in the US.
Simon Erksine comments on the practice of wearing face masks in Japan, where he lived for many years.

“In Japan, individual behaviours are much more focused on benefiting society as a whole. The wearing of masks is normal. It has a social and individual purpose. Vast numbers of Japanese suffer hay fever from the pollen of non-indigenous pine trees, but the Japanese also wear masks to protect from others’ potential illnesses as well as to protect others from theirs. In fact, if you have a cold it is basic manners to wear a mask.”

Erksine reminds us that in wearing a mask, you are doing something to benefit society. Read his full article here: https://www.commpro.biz/masks-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-we-need-to-overcome-mask-phobia/


Wearing a mask is something we’re not used to, it’s caused a small culture-war in the US, it takes away social interaction, creates barriers for those with disabilities and can have a negative affect on our psychology and mental health. However, whilst hoping normality returns sometime soon, in an attempt to overcome mask-phobia we should consider a new way of thinking and remember the facts behind the fabric.

Wearing a mask will protect you and others. Although cloth masks aren’t a prophylactic or can guarantee you won’t get the virus, just like seat belts, they will reduce the risk of spread and contagion if we use them correctly. For now, let’s focus on the fact face masks allow us to take better care of ourselves and the community around us during Covid-19. They really can save lives.


Beating the Covid blues: Five ways YUDU staff have kept creative during lockdown

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Gemma O’Brien

Covid19 and lockdown restrictions meant we’ve all had a lot more time to spend at home and become a little more creative. Whether this meant picking up a paintbrush, reading a book or dusting off the knitting needles, we’ve all benefited from a little extra me-time.

As lockdown measures ease and we’re able to visit pubs, shops and gyms, here at YUDU we’ll definitely be holding on to our creative pursuits. Here’s what we’ve been up to during lockdown.

Reading writing and blogging

This lockdown, I’ve taken the advice of my colleague Jim Preen: ‘Read, read, read. Write, write, write.’ I know that reading and writing will expand my vocabulary and improve my content. I’ve been blogging about all things business, sustainability and mental health on: https://sustainokuk.wordpress.com/ Shameless plug, I know.

Here are a couple of cracking books I’ve read and what they’ve taught me:

How to Fail by Elisabeth Day

I found the chapters ‘How to fail at being Gwyneth Paltrow’ and ‘How to Fail at Work’ particularly useful, not to say hilarious.

‘How to Fail at being Gwyneth Paltrow’ journals Elisabeth’s attempt at following Gwyneth’s health plan, consisting of ridiculous treatment after treatment in boutique LA beauty bars. Day concludes this was more like a full-time job, than anything else and it really does pay to ‘look good’. This chapter taught me to become more accepting of my body and to love all it does for me. After all, when I’m much older, I’ll look back and regret all the time I spent worrying about my figure. Beauty is definitely more than skin deep, after all.

‘How to Fail at Work’ reinforced the fact it’s OK to make mistakes. I remember being told during my interview at YUDU, that if you make a mistake; learn from it. Work is somewhere we should thrive and grow. I used this chapter as a tool to reflect and realise how lucky I am to be both pushed and trusted in a role I love.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Not only was Normal People one of my favourite books EVER… (yes, it really is as good as the AMAZING TV series), it allowed me to question ‘What qualifies a person as normal?’ and ‘Do normal people in fact even exist?’ To this, I found the answer to be no. We are all intrinsically complex beings, just trying to muddle our way through life and at present, trying to muddle through a pandemic. Our differences and quirks are what make us unique and the novel encouraged me to celebrate this.

James O’ Brien – Director of Customer Engagement

Here’s one you didn’t expect: James creates fantastic works of art using potatoes, he really is a Golden Wonder. During lockdown he held a series of potato-printing webinars, where eager members of the public, including myself, were able to try their hand at printing with spuds. It was honestly so much fun. Take a look at the results, by Gemma Smith and I.

Into the bargain James raised money for charity. He agreed to make potato portraits of famous footballers in return for some ready cash to support foodbanks. Take a look at my potato print of Frank Lampard, here.


Jim Preen – Director of Crisis Management

I spoke to Jim and asked what he had been up to and he had a question for me:

‘Emily, did lockdown leave you feeling lowdown? Has the pandemic made you feel less than angelic? I have the answer: play the bass guitar!

I’ve played regular guitar for years, but I was stuck in a musical rut. I wanted something good to come out of lockdown, so I contacted a young whizz-kid bass player and he gives me lesson every Saturday on Skype. He needs the money as all his gigs have dried up and in return, he’s somehow managed to turn me into a tolerable member of the rhythm section.

Of course, being a bass player means you’re the butt of terrible jokes: Q. How do you get a bass player off your doorstep? A. Pay for the pizza. But on the bright side you’d suffer much more abuse being a drummer.’

Thanks for that Jim, perhaps you could get someone to help you write better jokes! Maybe it’s time to put a company band together.

Gemma Smith – Graphic Designer

Our uber-talented graphic designer, Gemma Smith has been hosting events for her and her housemate at their London flat. Even though such events are attended by the duo alone, fancy dress is compulsory. Gemma called it: ‘Creating worlds and events within the small space we’re stuck in.’ Their events have included a reimagining of The MET Gala, Jazzercise classes, a Broadway musical night and a recreation of the catwalk, inspired by the Netflix hit-show, Next in Fashion… which we have both become obsessed with. Does your creativity ever cease Gemma!?

Richard Stephenson – YUDU CEO

Richard, our multi-skilled CEO, talks about writing children’s short stories during lockdown.

I read a quote from our great playwright Tom Stoppard that writing a play was like smashing a glass ashtray: you work backwards by assembling the broken pieces.

That got me wondering if I could construct some short stories using this technique. Lockdown writing was underway! It became a very rewarding experiment; pushing the boundaries of my imagination. I was able to start developing characters almost like a sculptor, shaping them from the clay of people I’ve known and met over the years. I now have five stories that I can chuckle over and when we get back to near normal, I hope I will continue to write. Now, how do I find a publisher?

As you can see, we’ve all been super busy following our creative pursuits here at YUDU. We’ve used our extra me-time to hone new skills and pursue new hobbies.

So, here’s the question: what creative pursuits have you been up to? We’d love to hear from you.


Skincare self-love review

By Emily Byrne

I’ve come to realise that our skin is something which is always with us and that self-care goes hand in hand with self love and self appreciation. With some challenging life changes as of late, a busy work schedule and a global pandemic chucked into the mix… it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a few months. My new obsession means that I take twenty minutes out at the end of each day to pamper and preen.

I’ve always had hormonal spots and flare ups and my skin is a little oily, but skincare was something I hadn’t invested in other than the standard cleanse and exfoliate prior to lockdown. My amazing friends shared some of their personal favourites and seriously… I’ll never look back. One thing’s for sure I’ve got my glow-(up) and sparkle back. ✨ here are a few of my favourite treats and my nightly routine for those who need some skin-love assurance.


I couldn’t go without my Liz. Our girl supplies us with cucumber fresh nourishment, a very gentle foam and a little bit goes a long way. My desert island skincare product. You feel so fresh after cleansing. Wait… why haven’t I got the exfoliater yet? I’ve heard rave reviews.

Although I won’t be deviating away from using my girl Liz, there’s a certain something on the cleansing wish list. And that’s Glow Recipe’s


Ole Hendreksen’s products were recommended to me by my best friend Kate and I won’t be going back on the glow front. Ole’s Clementine C Cream is a tangerine dream 🍊 and I noticed a brightened sunned glow after applying as part of my regular regime and a day in the sun (with sun cream and SPF of course!) The Ole Truth serum smells equally divine and is so refreshing, leaving your skin with a next-day, noticeable glow and healthy shine. Ole hits the hat trick with their Banana Eye Cream. I’ve always had dark circles under my eyes… made worse by me burning the midnight all this lockdown. The eye cream has lifted these dark circles considerably and as a result my face looks lighter and brighter. It has to be said… this cream doesn’t smell as good as it’s predecessors… but I’ll most definitely be re-purchasing once my little wonder pot runs out. A little goes a long way with this product, I found.


I will 1 million percent be re-purchasing my Clinique Anti-Belmish solution. There’s so much to love about this product. Thank you for helping me say see ya to my spots. They are dried out in a day so it’s essential to only use a little of what claims to be an ‘all over application overnight solution’… as it does leave during. But honestly I can’t sing this products praising enough. Plus, it’s bright blue and so is the packaging. 💦


On the toning front, I’m lusting after Liz once again. Her cucumber toner is light and refreshing and is super easy to use. Simply polish of your cleanse and polish routine with a few sublime spritzes. You really feel like you’re spraying the day away.

Hold the phone… this toning section wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out about Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Toner and Pore Tightener. This bottle of beauty smells just like Watermelon as it says on the tin and works genuine WONDERS. I used to have really dark, visible pores and blackheads, particularly on my nose, which used to bug me out. But, no word of a lie, this sensational serum eliminated my visible pores in two days max. Results were visible the morning after the night out of the first application.


Even if it was £42 a pot… Glow Recipe’s Banana soufflé Moisturising cream smells good enough to eat. (Don’t eat it… it can’t be good for you!) It’s fluffy cloud-like, light texture and gorgeous smell leaves your skin super smooth, plump and refreshed and feels just like sticking your entire face in a banoffee pie… what’s not to love!?

Although I rave about Ole’s serums, I wasn’t too crazy about his moisturiser. There was nothing wrong with the little pot of wonder I received and it certainly left my skin feeling more dewy… but the price tag attached was a bit of a turn-off when combined with no overly-significant transformation.


If you don’t want to spend a bomb on skincare and have a whole tray full of products (like I have this lockdown), then here’s a little take-away for free. I’ve come to realise, although it’s hard and I’m still extremely self-critical, as we all are… beauty isn’t an outsider’s opinion. It in fact comes from within and one of the most beautiful traits anyone can have is confidence. My skincare routine has provided me with exactly that… a sense of nighttime routine for someone who struggles to wind down and a means to relax. So go on guys, soothe your skin and your mind at the same time.


Sentinel Check-in: You don’t need wifi or an app for the taps

By Emily Byrne and James O’Brien

With reference to: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/pubs-opening-rules-contact-tracing

By Matt Burgess

Header image by Gemma Smith

Super Saturday saw the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of pubs across the UK. With thousands of thirsty punters who’d been locked up for months unleashed, did wifi and app-based Track and Trace solutions see things running as smoothly as they should have?

Guest wifi and apps are well known treasure troves for cyber criminals to access your data. With pub chain owners using wifi connections and apps to Track and Trace their customers – How can visitors be sure that what they’re connecting to is secure?

Rowenna Fielding head of individual rights and ethics at data protection consultancy Protecture, advises:

‘If you’re unsure of how information is being handled, ask the pub. “Ask questions about how is it going to be stored? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to delete it? If those questions aren’t or can’t be answered, then maybe you’re better off having a drink somewhere else.’

Weary about wifi: The questions on our lips

Pub chains using wifi to Track and Trace their punters claim that logging on to a network is the easy option. Really? Register with an email address, forgetting your password, resetting your password. There is a queue behind you. Accessing your registration email, showing the email to the bar staff, all before a pint is pulled. Easy?

There are also issues around the email addressed used to register – you can technically register with any email address – if the track and trace team might want to contact the customer – how can the pub be sure that the email address is being monitored? It could be days or weeks before the customer acknowledges the email.

Going down the wifi route also opens up your customers to cyber criminals – whose sophisticated techniques can take over devices in an instant. The anti-social engineer explains how this is done here: https://theantisocialengineer.com/2020/03/20/how-low-will-they-go/


Does an app really have your back?

Older people and technophobes will be alienated by the fact they have to download an app, enter their log in details and host the app on their phone to enter many pubs. Many might not have a Smartphone, (20% of the population in the UK don’t), or know how to install an app. We’re not all tech-whizzes and that’s OK.

Say you want to visit a few pubs post-lockdown (we don’t blame you!), are you going to download a different app for every pub you enter? That’s asking a lot from the customer, who just wants to order a pint, or a cocktail – it’s been 12 weeks.

Data Disaster – Why pen and paper won’t work

In other countries whose bars and restaurants have used manual data-sheet registration to Track and Trace their customers, there have been incidents of female customers receiving unsolicited and undesirable messages from bar-staff. This approach means that customers are likely to provide fictional data.

All it takes is a member of staff (or the public, if the sheets are on display) to take a note of or a picture of your personal data and they’ve got you. Your name, address, email, phone number.

As a young female this really doesn’t sit right with me and I certainly wouldn’t give accurate ID as a result. So how is this an effective way of collecting important information?

Vinod Bange, head of data practice at global law firm Taylor Wessing advises: ‘There will be risks for pubs and other businesses whether they adopt a low-tech paper approach […] or use an app to collect data.’

Just because something’s familiar, doesn’t mean it’s the data-secure option.

Sentinel Check-in: Your simple solution

With Sentinel Check-in, there’s no friction for the customer – simply scan the QR code on your chosen pub’s poster at entrance or ring their number. A SMS will automatically come through to you and to the pub, confirming the date and time of your entry. Tap straight to the taps in less than 20 seconds. It’s swift, safe and secure, so you can enjoy your pint in peace.

Our system in agnostic and inclusive, encouraging use for anyone that wants to walk into a pub.

See for yourself and Try a demo: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/demo

Register your pub and be setup in under 24 hours: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/register


Literary lockdown: Five books to promote your personal development

By Emily Byrne, Marketing Executive at YUDU Sentinel

Header Image by Gemma Smith, Graphic Designer at YUDU Sentinel

Here at YUDU we’re promoting a proactive and productive lockdown. Reading has definitely benefited my own well-being and given me the opportunity to be mindful and find a little safe space away from the chaos of Covid-19. I’ve been using my extra time to read into personal development, finding out how I can be a better version of myself. Here are five book recommendations from our team – all of which promote personal development in some way.

1) Emily Byrne: Marketing Executive – ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod

‘The Miracle Morning’ follows the journey of Hal Elrod, beginning with a car accident, which leaves him in a life-changing comma. When Hal wakes, his long-term girlfriend leaves him and he must learn to walk again. Elrod goes on to excel in a sales career he was previously resenting and eventually run his own highly successful consultancy.

‘The Miracle Morning’ states in order to become successful you have to dedicate time to personal development each day. Elrod provides a 6-step morning routine to shape that time, with chapter names such as; ‘Affirmations’ and ‘Mediation’.

Elrod asks what stops us chasing our dreams and living ‘level ten’ versions of our lives. Above all, the book reminded me, in light of Covid-19, life is a blessing and every day is a new opportunity to succeed, develop and focus on achieving our goals and dreams.

2) Emily Byrne: Marketing Executive – ‘Things I Know About Love’ by Dolly Alderton

Sorry… because I couldn’t pick just one.

This charming little novel written by Sunday Times columnist and girl-power journalist, Dolly Alderton, is not so much about self-help, but self-realisation. After all, learning to love yourself is essential, before you can love anyone else.

Dolly’s hilarious accounts of drunken taxi journeys across the entire country to visit one-night stands, first-date faux pas and underwhelming meet ups with boys following MSN conversations are suddenly undercut by the tragic death of her best friends’ sister.

This event forces Dolly to face her demons and undertake a course of intensive therapy. During the therapy, Dolly discovers that we live to love ourselves and the love found in friendship can be everlasting and unconditional.

3) Richard Stephenson: CEO – ‘The School of Life: An Emotional Education’ by Alain de Botton

“Everybody should read ‘The School of Life: An Emotional Education’ by Alain de Botton, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. I truly believe this book will help people deal with the emotional impact of this crisis and focus on personal development.

Based on emotional education and personal resilience, Alain de Botton prompts us to question how we manage ourselves, tackle our problems and how these problems might correspond with the rest of the world.

‘The School of Life’ will provide you with the wisdom and tools needed to deal with Covid-19 emotionally and will enable you to empathise with those affected. A must read.”

4) Jim Preen: Director of Crisis Management – ‘Into the silence’ by Wade Davis

“I’m not sure ‘Into the silence’ is any kind of self-help or personal development manual, but then again it might be both those things. When men returned from the Western Front in 1918 having miraculously survived the machine age butchery of the trenches, they found an England desperate to forget the war. For many the thought of settling back into twee English tea parties, croquet lawns and cricket was unthinkable.

Today, because of coronavirus, we hear a lot of statistics about mortality rates and the numbers of excess deaths. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, British forces suffered 20,000 excess deaths, all young men who in normal circumstances had no reason to perish.

‘Silence’ is the story of George Mallory and the men who couldn’t stand prim Georgian England and headed to Everest and the thin air of the Himalayas to find some kind of redemption. They climbed in not much more than tweed suits stuffed with feathers and had to walk 400 miles just to reach base camp.

Their notes and letters home are preserved, so often the men seem to speak directly to the reader. It’s a long book, more than 500 pages, but might just be the thing you need during lockdown. From the trenches to the top of the world, it’s quite a read.

I suppose my real personal development book is Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. I learnt to cook using her recipes, which any fool can follow. If it hadn’t been for the owner of Norwich City football club, I’d probably have starved.”

5) James O’Brien: Director of Customer Engagement – ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

“Outliers examines the patterns that elevate individuals to become successful in their chosen field. A must read for anyone who continues to beat themselves up about their career or individual pursuit. Gladwell leads the reader to examine your own circumstances against a different yardstick as becoming a success is certainly not linear or straightforward.”

We really hope you can take something from these recommendations and use this troubling time to focus on becoming the best version of you, whatever that might mean… or even to focus on just getting through.


Five tips to help reduce your child’s lockdown anxieties

By Emily Byrne, Marketing Executive at YUDU

Header Image by Simon Rae

What can parents do to make sure their children aren’t anxious and overwhelmed about the Coronavirus crisis?

YUDU’s Creative Director and father of two, Charlie Stephenson gave gleaming advice on how parents can help their child to deal with Covid-19 woes. Look out for Charlie’s pearls of wisdom throughout the blog.

“Each child and age group will react differently to the news about Coronavirus. Children are like sponges and if their parents are anxious, children will likely be anxious about everything, so it is really important for parents to look after their health the best they can.”

Read these five tips for all age groups to find out how you can help your child… and yourself, cope with Covid-19.

1) Get on the same page

We must talk to children about Coronavirus in a language they understand. Answer any questions and reassure children in an age appropriate manner. Although you might not know all the answers to your child’s question, talking things through will help them feel calmer and get rid of those niggling worries. Tell your child it’s completely okay to feel scared or unsure and encourage them this will pass.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern held a press conference on Coronavirus specifically for children last month. She used a familiar metaphor to communicate the pressure now on essential keyworkers to children.

‘The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are essential keyworkers.’

Ardern further used the metaphor to explain why children need to support keyworkers and the vulnerable in their community:

‘I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make it to your household… then we have to understand it’s perhaps a bit difficult for the bunny to make it everywhere.’

Remind your child that we are all working together to do as much as we can to fight the virus and that we’re staying inside to stop the virus spreading and to support keyworkers. Perhaps this is where Ardern’s anecdote may come in handy.

2) Soap and glory

Handwashing can be exciting? We hear you cry. At the press conference for children, Ardern was accompanied by Dr Michelle Dickinson, who specialises in science communication for children. Use fun online resources to be sure your children are scrubbing accordingly.

Dr Dickinson shared a video online this week explaining how soap actually works. The video has become a viral hit, prompting Dickinson to produce more clips as the crisis unfolds.

So, how does soap destroy Covid-19?

According to Dr Dickinson’s video, it’s thanks to the molecules of soap and the double fat coat (or lipid bilayer) that surrounds the virus.

The video boasted some interactivity as well, with children asking questions about the virus, how it’s transmitted and how to keep their grandparents safe.

3) Replace bad news with positive thoughts

In the current age the news can’t be avoided. You shouldn’t try and shield your child from the news. However, the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 guidelines suggest only viewing the news once a day. Pass on WHO’s advice to your child and emphasise that not everything they see online should be trusted as concrete news.

Be sure to speak to your child about what they’re viewing without prying on their independence. Or, watch the news with your kids so they don’t view the bad stuff without you. Remind your child to counteract the news by focussing on things which make them feel safe and happy.

Parents of younger children might want to avoid news-watching entirely, as Charlie explains:

“I don’t watch the news with the children, partly because they are too young and will get bored of it, but I don’t see the need to keep them informed of the situation as it develops. I just keep up to date with stuff on my mobile through news apps.”

News apps are a brilliant way of keeping track of events whilst keeping negative news feeds away from the comfort of the home environment.

4) Home-schooling: Reinvigorate your routine

Make the most of interactive resources like Joe Wicks’ PE at 9am every weekday or educational TV programmes such as Horrible Histories and Blue Planet. Watching all of David Attenborough should be essential to the curriculum anyway, surely?

You could design family crests, organise sports days or steal Annie Mac’s idea and surprise your child with history lessons on rave, northern soul or punk. Boost morale by painting rainbows to display on your windows to show thanks for the NHS and other key workers.

Remember, things don’t have to be super strict like school. Exams being postponed and cancelled alleviates pressure and be sure to remind your child of this.

Charlie and his family have been finding the light within the darkness of Covid-19:

“Make the best of the situation. My partner has been creating weekly videos about everything we’ve done that week the kids and it will be a good record of this strange time. We might even look back on it with fondness!”

Positive practical activities will reassure your child and reduce anxiety, as well as providing time to talk without having to call for an ever-ominous ‘big chat’.

It’s likely that schools will soon be re-opened as lockdown restrictions begin to modify after the 7th May. Make sure your child knows, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

5) Put your compassionate hat on

Make sure your compassionate to yourself as a parent as well as to your child. Charlie encourages other parents working from home whilst looking after little ones to be kind to themselves:

“As a parent don’t judge yourself too harshly about what you can realistically achieve whilst everyone is at home. These are not normal times.”

Reassure your child it’s unlikely they’ll get seriously ill and if they did, you would be there to look after them. Explain the NHS and government are doing a remarkable job of keeping everyone as safe as they can.

Let your child know the additional support you have around you as an adult. Don’t forgot to look after yourself too. If you’re feeling worried or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust.

YUDU’s Director of Crisis Management, Jim Preen recently recorded a webinar with psychotherapist, Dr Liz Royle from KRTS. Access the webinar here: https://vimeo.com/405360962.

Other useful resources:




The fabulous five and horror halls

Short story By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Sandra Ahn-Mode

“Really Archibald, you’re such a pain!” Mama Dotty shouted at her husband. Their only daughter, Jennifer was too lost in her excitement and apprehension to let this bickering annoy her as it usually would. So, she continued to tuck into her cornflakes, toast and marmalade jam. For finally, the first day of Fresher’s week at St Mildew’s University had arrived.

Even though the Cazoobavirus pandemic meant that distancing measures would be in place, symptomatic students would have to isolate and also might not be able to travel home for Christmas, (this had caused Jennifer and her mother… mostly Jennifer’s mother, sleepless nights) the infection rates in Dorset and at St Mildew’s were low. This was probably the only reason Mama Dotty was allowing her daughter to study this year as planned. It had been a difficult summer to process with the virus sweeping the globe and the sadness and sympathies for the families who had lost loved ones plaguing Jennifer’s thoughts. Thank goodness Jennifer’s trusted sidekick, dear old Jimmy the dog had been by her side throughout the summer hols, trotting at her heels and keeping her positive with his tremendously cheeky personality. Now the morning of moving out to University was finally here, Jennifer felt absolutely delighted at the prospect of her new-found independence. She was off to study English Literature and dreamed to one day become a teacher. It all seemed like jolly good fun.

Time seemed to stand still as the lolling countryside and stretches of luscious fields rolled past as Jennifer sat on the train with Papa Archibald & Mama Dotty, facemasks covering their mouths and noses. The closest family were sat at the other end of the carriage and signs reading “Cazoobavirus – Stay safe. Keep a distance. Wear a mask. Stop the virus spreading”adorned the walls of the train as it trundled towards St Mildred’s.

On the near horizon, a collection of magnificent buildings clustered at the very edge of a jagged, blackened cliff. The scene was eerie and dream-like as surly clouds surged in the sky. In stark contrast, the cliff was met at its mouth by the crashing, turbulent and mesmerizing September sea. A vast collection of pointed spires stuck out high into the skyline. Supporting these spires were colossal, red-brick structures, adorned with ornate, tall windows and decorated with sweeping outdoor staircases winding in endless spirals from the tip of the buildings to the ground. Right before Jennifer’s eyes, St Mildew’s loomed ominously ahead. Her draw dropped as she marvelled at her new home. “There she is. Muma, Papa, isn’t she beautiful!” Jennifer yelped.

Papa Archibald and Mama Dotty had hoped to join Jennifer through the gates to help her move into her dormitory, though due to restrictions they had to wave goodbye at the campus entrance. Had Jennifer known what was awaiting her, she would have held her mother and father for longer and that little bit tighter. Chaperones were on hand to help buggy luggage and belongings to students’ halls of residents. Jennifer was in St. Helen’s building, floor four, room two. Students had been informed of details of their accommodation and social distancing restrictions by personal telegram, delivered by a web link from Stella Stern, the University campus coordinator.

The walk up the cliff was rather brisk and blustery, but also awe-inspiringly beautiful. Jennifer felt like she was literally on the top of the world as she looked out over the cliff onto the crashing, frothing sea. She was guided by winding stone paths and a bobbing trail of students.

On tenterhooks and with butterflies in her belly, Jennifer drummed three times on the door of floor four. Little did Jennifer know that this same door would soon become a symbol for isolation and imprisonment. Seconds later, the door was answered by a tall, broad girl with an untidy cropped shock of blond sandy hair, dressed entirely in boy’s clothing. “Good day! You must be Jennifer. I’m George. NEVER GEORGINA. The rest of the bunch are here already. Welcome to floor 4 old pip.” After a nervous giggle and a tentative and rather awkward elbow-touch handshake, Jennifer smiled and replied “Goodness. How spiffing to meet you!” She stepped into the warm, but strikingly basic threshold.

Sat, at a slight distance to one another in a huddle round a rather shabby dining table, were three other chums. George introduced; Daniel, a short and stocky brunette chap with brown cropped hair, Margo, a stunning, slim girl with auburn hair and a twinkling smile and Daisy, a petite blonde with large, sparkling green eyes and bouncing wavy hair. After hours of bonding over the pandemic and lockdown, their upbringings and their hometowns, the five’s friendship was cemented. “We shall call ourselves the fabulous five!” Margo exclaimed. “This University lark really is a hoor-ah, hey?” Jennifer replied in jest. The five chuckled tremendously. So, the fabulous five thought, let the adventures begin.

The five decided to spend the early evening drinking lashings of beer at the Barmy Professor, one of several of the historic pubs decorating St Mildew’s campus. Posters plastered around the otherwise warm, stony pub read:“Stay safe. Keep your distance. Don’t meet in groups larger than six. Isolate if you become infected or symptomatic, or come into contact with someone who is infected or symptomatic”. When combined with the presence of patrolling campus marshals, plastic distancing screens and a need to register entry to the pub through St Mildew’s Cazoobavirus App, the fabulous five felt slightly unnerved. None-the-less, a spiffing time was had by all. Once 9:30pm hit, the five downed their beer lashings, in order to be out of the pub before the 10pm curfew hit, put in place by the government in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

“What a first-rate time we’ve had.” Daisy smiled. “Indeed. What are we going to have for tea then, five?” asked Daniel, picking up his keys and wallet from the table. “Ham and turkey sandwiches, bags of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, heaps of tomatoes and lashings of ginger beer!” Squealed Margo. Mummy packed a picnic.” “Oh wizard”, exclaimed Daniel. They were all excited for this exquisite feast and so they walked out into the crisp October air to wander back to the flat.

“I say, what an exciting time of it.” Jennifer smiled as she waved goodbye to Margo and Daisy who perched on the kitchen counter with a small glass of red wine in each of their hands. George and Daniel had retired to bed shortly after cramming themselves full of portion after portion of turkey sandwiches. George had mentioned she felt she was starting to lose her sense of taste and smell, but all Jennifer could focus on was in spite of this, how much her and Daniel could eat!  Little did the fabulous five know of what was in store for them. As Jennifer snuggled up in her quilt like a toasty bug, ignorance was bliss. “Well, St Mildew’s really doesn’t seem all that different in the pandemic” she thought.

The sun rose over the jagged lines of the walls and roofs of St Mildew’s campus, catching the light of the windows of the little matchbox student rooms. In floor four, room two, Jennifer woke with an abrupt start. The first thing she noticed was that her throat was in agony. It felt like she had swallowed razor blades. Readying herself for her first set of virtual lectures, Jennifer couldn’t stop coughing. The cough was persistent and dry. Her temperature felt like it was sky-high and even with the window open, she couldn’t shift the feeling that she was burning up.

At 8:50am, Jennifer nipped into the kitchen to make a quick coffee to get her through a double lecture on Darwin’s Origins of the Species for her English theory class. Daisy was sat, looking sad and overwhelmed at the dining table. “You look like how I feel” muttered Daisy, playing miserably with her untouched bowl of porridge. Jennifer described her symptoms in a panicked flurry. “George and Margo feel the same, their temperatures are through the roof and neither of them can stop coughing. It’s only Daniel who says he feels OK. Lucky blighter,” warbled Daisy in a husky voice.

Jennifer couldn’t get the image of the posters in the Barmy Professor out of her head. “Stay safe. Keep your distance. Don’t meet in groups larger than six. Isolate if you become infected or symptomatic, or come into contact with someone who is infected or symptomatic.” The fabulous five met for an emergency kitchen meeting at 8:55am. They all agreed as four out of their five were suffering with more than one symptom of Cazoobavirus, they should follow the governmental guidelines and isolate for two weeks. So, just like that… isolation began.

Not only were Jennifer and the fabulous five forced to isolate from the outside world entirely, but also from each other. The five were confined to their bedrooms and had to ration food packages sent from St Mildew’s. These packages were delivered by Matron, a particularly frosty and spiky woman, whom Jennifer assumed was in her late fifties, though she was dressed in head-to-toe PPE whenever she knocked on the door. Matron spoke with a condescending tone and always passed on bottles of questionable medicines, ordering the four to take them at intervalsThe food parcels cost seven shillings to be delivered and Matron always turned up days late, without warning. To their disgust, the first food package consisted of mouldy bread, milk, dried goods and an assortment of entirely rotten vegetables, not fit for human consumption. Such was the manor of Matron, that none of the five felt brave enough to complain about the quality of their costly food packages.

The five kept up communication through a WhatsApp group, though missed social interaction with each other terribly. Trips to the kitchen were conducted on a rota basis, in a bid to protect Daniel from catching the virus. This felt other-worldly and strange. The fabulous five’s fortnight of fresher’s fun had been cut short. Had Jennifer known that their night at the pub would be their last for the foreseeable future, she would have made her lashings of beer last that little bit longer.

As the days and weeks in isolation rolled on, Jennifer would have given the world to hear dear Papa Archibald and Muma Dotty’s voices in person. The only way Jennifer had been able to speak to her parents was over panicked phone calls and frantic texts. She would happily listen to them bickering away as she was trying to eat her cornflakes. Jennifer’s mouth felt so dry and tasteless, that she couldn’t imagine stomaching even a single cornflake now. Jennifer longed to cuddle dear Jimmy the dog and breathe in his musky scent.

Jennifer found trying to keep up with her studies relentless. Even getting up to visit the bathroom was followed by half an hour of feeling short of breath and entailed disinfecting every surface she had touched. One night, Jennifer could have sworn she heard someone rattling at the door chain of floor flour, screeching “One of you doesn’t have Coronavirus. We’ve come to give it to you!” The screech was supported by squeals of menacing laughter. “What a frightful mess” and “what a perfectly sinister individual!” Jennifer thought, shuddering and unsure if she was asleep or awake as she drifted into the delirium of fever.

As the days dragged on, Jennifer’s room began to feel sinister and unwelcoming, a vessel to harbour her troubled, worried thoughts. The walls of floor four, St. Helen’s seemed to be closing in on Jennifer and the rest of the fabulous five. The walls which had become those of the halls of horror.

Finally, the fabulous five’s quarantine came to an end. The four were no longer symptomatic of the Cazoobavirus as proved by tests sent by the University. Daniel had remained uninfected, astonishingly. The entire experience had been lonely and emotionally traumatic. Jennifer would happily never experience the dreary presence of Matron ever again, even if it had been at a distance!

At last, free to go on jolly jape adventures after what had felt like a lifetime of being locked in horror halls, the fabulous five finally reassembled and headed out to the University grounds. They were wrapped up in coats, gloves, scarves and hats like little multi-coloured marshmallows.

Never had the crisp Autumn air smelt so fresh, thought Jennifer. The fabulous five chatted and ran through the dewy grass like children, feeling more grateful than ever before for the outside world and nature’s beauty. They relished the crisp autumn leaves and their stunning coastal surroundings. As they peeped over the cliff-edge, the menacing waves lashed against the rocks. All the five could see was the sea for miles and miles. “I say, isn’t the fresh air doing the power of good?” Margo called out, her white smile twinkling in the sunlight. “It’s jolly well a dream!” Daniel exclaimed.

One thing was for sure: the last fortnight had been horrendous. Jennifer couldn’t help but feel terrified for the state of the world and of Coroobavirus, it’s menacing hold and endless fevers and delirium still haunted her in her dreams. She feared terribly for all those infected because she knew of their pain. The fabulous five knew they were lucky in some sense, as their cases were mild. They all felt fearfully worried for those with severe cases.

Jennifer also longed to spend Christmas with Mama Dotty, Papa Archibald and dear Jimmy the dog by the fire, toasting chestnuts, stuffing themselves with turkey and heaps of vegetables, foraging for herbs in the allotment and sitting around the grand, sparkling Christmas tree sipping perfectly wizard bucks-fizz. She could picture it as she gazed idly out at sea. It was a distant wish rather than a reality. The government had ordered yesterday, that all University students without considerable mitigations remain at University throughout the Christmas holidays and even on Christmas day. The prospect of a socially distanced Christmas meal in the Barmy Professor wasn’t all that spiffing.

Snapping herself out of the gloomy mood which had overwhelmed her this month, Jennifer engaged in heaps of jolly good fun with the fabulous five to take her mind off things. The bright side of the situation, (for Mama Dotty always encouraged Jennifer to find the silver lining in every cloud), was the fabulous five had formed an unbreakable friendship and they now had each other to depend on. That and many tremendously jolly adventures to look forward to.

“I say old five, isn’t it truly splendid to be free?” exclaimed George, her masculine face beaming. “Quite right, dear chums of mine” Replied Jennifer, a sudden smile plastering itself over her face. Jennifer saw George, Daniel, Daisy and Margo’s faces light up as they grinned back at her. Little did the fabulous five know that this new-found freedom was only the start of the years of super-fun they would come to encounter together.

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