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Concern Over DJI Snooping on Your Data Might Just be Hysteria Rather Than Fact

Concern Over DJI Snooping on Your Data Might Just be Hysteria Rather Than Fact

I’ve been surprised by the number of people that have expressed concerns over their Da Jiang Innovation (DJI) drones in public safety for fear the Chinese are going to know what they are doing.

More than one person has told me they willingly buy an American made drone because they don’t want China to spy on them. You know they are going to have Chinese made parts in them, right?

People’s opinions are valid. Not all opinions are factual.

I understand why some have issues with DJI but as I’ve said for a long time if anyone wants to know that I’m flying over a house on fire or a backroad jump and run, be my guest.

The consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) is a strong U.S. based firm and I actually knew one of the founders.

The Hill reported Booz Allen Hamilton has no business ties to DJI and they found NO EVIDENCE of unauthorized data transmissions in its analysis of three drone models used at one point by the U.S. government.

While DJI drones may give users the option of sending back images, videos, or data, those are settings that the user can control.

Precision Hawk said, “The Booz Allen testing covered DJI’s Government Edition Mavic Pro and Matrice 600 Pro drones, as well as the Mavic 2 Enterprise. This security-focused testing did not identify data connections made by the drone platforms to DJI or Chinese servers.”

They also said, “The testing did identify potential vulnerabilities associated with one or more of the three drone platforms that could be exploited or triggered by a threat source. Nearly all of those vulnerabilities require physical access to the drone itself, or for the attacker to be within direct radio range during specific operations.” You know those issues apply to all drones.

The study found, “Moreover, similar vulnerabilities are consistent on other platforms, and not specific to any individual manufacturer.

The Hill reports “Some critics of the Chinese tech companies have said that even if data is not yet covertly being siphoned into the hands of the CCP, it could happen further down the line.”

It appears to be the core of concerns surrounds data that is controlled by the software. Any drone manufacturer controlling software can send background data or other information you might not know about.

In the case of the detailed Booz Allen Hamilton study, the identified issues can be mitigated.

Honestly, I’m far less worried about the data someone thinks their drone is sending than I am about getting factual information about accidents and incidents from U.S. public safety drone pilots on their experience with the aircraft.

My personal opinion is I’d rather worry about facts we can no rather than about facts that appear to not be able to be confirmed.

You can read the executive summary from Precision Hawk, here.

About Steve Rhode

Steve is an experienced and certificated UAS pilot and aircraft instrument rated pilot. He is also the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy.

2 comments

  1. Stephen Davidson

    Yes im very concerned , with all of the new products that we are now welcoming into our homes and on our person, phones, T.Vs , Drones, laptops, thermostat ,cameras systems. with this new 5G. system that no ones know anything about or how it will track us and everything we do and go.

  2. Sorry all, but this post demonstrates some folks just aren’t “in the know”. Look to the future and see a Chinese designed communication system in America where the 5G and UAS are all Chinese designed and manufactured with the full input and backing of the CCP. There’s a lot of financial motivation out there to accept DJI, whether the facts support their case or not. It’s great to have opinions, but unfortunately not every one has access to the full truth. America needs a comm/UAS infrastructure built from within. And it is absolutely INCORRECT to say they will all have Chinese parts. That is not the truth of what’s available today, and could be even more so in the future. Support USA-developed and -manufactured UAS!!

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