It was not long ago when the US Army announced that it would not be further using DJI drones owing to certain cyber lacunas. In retaliation of this embargo, DJI have come up with their all new stealth mode.
This week DJI have announced their innovative local data mode which disrupts the flow of internet traffic to and from their flight control apps. This enhancement in the DJI’s security systems is in response to the US army’s ban and aims to win back government support regarding bolstered data privacy and confidentiality guarantees for sensitive government and enterprise clients.
According to a US Army memo obtained by sUAS News, the US Army high command had prohibited its troops from using DJI drones owing to certain cyber-security threats.
The DJI claimed in their news release that the local data mode had been in the process of development for the last few months.
In conventional modes of flight, the equipment developed by DJI requires the use of internet to connect to local maps, geofencing data, app updates, radio frequency and power requirements.
This announcement has caused some concerns among dronies who are worried about the privacy of their data. According to EnGadget, DJI uploads telemetery, audio and video data to its servers in Hong Kong, China and the US. Of late, drones have been the target of certain hacking activities whereby hackers have been able to penetrate apps with seamless ease. It may be noted that in 2016, a DJI representative told journalists that DJI had been sharing its customers’ data with the Chinese Government whenever there was a legitimate request made by the authorities.
Using the local data mode, the drone pilots can block their devices from sending or receiving any data over the web. DJI believes that this new mode will provide bolstered assurances to the drone pilots regarding the security of their data generated during flights.
Brendan Schulman, DJI’s Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs is of the view that the local data mode has been developed specifically keeping in mind the requirements of their enterprise customers including both public and private entities who intend to use DJI’s drones and other equipment to carry out sensitive tasks around the world.
Military forces from different countries around the world have been using DJI drones. DJI Mavic Pro and Matrice drones are being used by the Israel to terrorise Palestinian residents and have expressed resolve and solidarity with DJI despite the news coming out of the US army camps regarding discontinuation of DJI drones.
The local data mode will restrict DJI app from updating local maps and geofencing related information in addition to live broadcasting of videos to YouTube.
DJI have also made it clear that they do not have access to their customer’s flight logs, photographs or videos unless the user decides to share it with their servers.
According to the NewYork Times, DJI is not the only commercial enterprise that has been asked to share customers’ data with the Chinese government. Apple announced that they received 1005 queries from the Chinese Government and shared almost three-fourths of the requested information with the authorities. Similarly, Apple got 4,000 queries from the US federal authorities and shared almost four-fifths of the required data with them.
It is expected that DJI’s local data mode will be available to customers in the coming few weeks.