DJI has sent out two important messages today in response to the growing concerns among U.S. government officials about data security. It is not the first time that these concerns have raised their heads. We first reported on this back in 2017, but recently, and because of the intensifying trade ware between the U.S. and China, the concerns about DJI drones possibly sending sensitive data back to mainland China have come back in focus. DJI is now responding with two messages and a Youtube video. The Chinese drone maker is introducing a DJI Government Edition and is setting the “record straight on incorrect speculation presented during U.S Senate hearing“. We will post DJI’s messages first before reporting on these matters in greater detail. This is part 1 of 3. Stay tuned.
DJI creates high-security solution for government drone programs
DJI Government Edition’s Rigorous Data Controls Are Validated by U.S. Federal Government Audits
DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, is introducing DJI Government Edition, a new comprehensive drone solution created specifically for use in high-security situations by government agencies around the world. While DJI customers have always had full control over how the data they generate with drones is collected, stored and transmitted, Government Edition’s unique architecture ensures that drone data – including photos and videos captured during flight – never leave the drone and therefore can never be shared with unauthorized parties including DJI. This architecture ensures Government Edition meets the stringent requirements of the government sector for data management, risk mitigation, and enterprise-level data sharing control.
“DJI Government Edition allows government agencies to serve the public more efficiently and effectively using the industry’s most widely-adopted drone technology, while maintaining total control over their data,” said Mario Rebello, Vice President and Regional Manager of North America at DJI. “This is DJI’s most secure drone solution to-date because it prevents users from accidentally or even intentionally transferring data off of the drone to other parties. By incorporating these assurances into its architecture, the Government Edition solution meets the rigorous data security expectations of government agencies, and provides them the safety, reliability, and ease of operation that DJI’s products are respected for by commercial drone pilots around the world.”
Government Edition empowers government agencies around the world to benefit from DJI’s civilian drone technology for use cases like agricultural analysis and infrastructure inspections to public land management and disaster response. DJI developed the solution to meet the needs of the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Aviation Services, which operated more than 10,000 drone flights in 2018 alone. Government Edition drones were used in over 1,500 of those missions and their security has been validated through multiple audits performed by DOI’s external and internal partners.*
The Government Edition solution is based on DJI’s industry-leading drone hardware and is controlled by custom device firmware and operational software in a unique architecture that supports the highest data security requirements:
- No Data Transmission – A permanently enabled Local Data Mode within the custom DJI Pilot application prevents data transfer from the mobile application over the internet to third parties or to DJI.
- Firmware Update Reviews – Government agency aviation and IT departments can review firmware updates in electronic isolation before applying them to their fleets, and have full control over how to validate them and when to install them on DJI drones.
- Restricted Hardware Pairing – Drones and remote controllers running Government Edition solution firmware can only be linked with each other and are not compatible with other DJI products, preventing the use of unsecure hardware and unauthorized third-party applications.
“Government Edition allows us to tell our clients that all of their telemetry data, meaning where their drone is flying, is stored securely and not shared with anyone but them,” said Brandon Torres Declet, CEO and Co-Founder at Measure. “Having Government Edition will allow us more control over that process, and avoiding automatic firmware updates that can potentially impact our operation schedule is important – it’s also important to government customers.”
Government Edition is available today for purchase through select authorized DJI Enterprise resellers worldwide. For more information on all the new features and capabilities of Government Edition, please visit enterprise.dji.com/government.
* Source: U.S. Department of the Interior Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program 2018 Use Report https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/doi_fy_2018_uas_use_report.pdf
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