Europe drone sector heavyweights unite for data privacy protection

Leading players in Europe’s drone sector have banded together to create the Drones4Sec “action tank,” whose objectives include coordinating the increased use of efficient uncrewed aerial systems and automated applications with maximal respect for data protection.

Parrot initially piloting Drones4Sec European federation

Launched Tuesday in Paris, Drones4Sec describes itself as Europe’s first federation of security drones. It says its mission is to “to defend a model of European sovereignty in the field of robotics and drones, by encouraging innovation and intra-European technological cooperation, and to convince decision-makers of the need for data protection.” Given the dramatically increasing use of drones and automated technologies in ever-expanding aspects of private life and business, concern about the collection and protection of data in those activities is rising across Europe. Drones4Sec is a direct response to such worries.

Those run particularly high in France, which has repeatedly taken steps to pass or strengthen legislation safeguarding data privacy. Given that, it’s not surprising that many of the main actors behind Drones4Sec’s creation are French businesses. Those include Obvious Technologies, Onera, Orange Cyberdefense, Photonis, Shark Robotics, and Wisekey. Leading drone group Parrot is also a founding member, and its head of security, Victor Vuillard, will act as the federation’s first president. 

Heavy French concerns to protect la vie privée

Its initial French impetus notwithstanding, Drones4Sec brings in actors from around Europe involved in drone manufacturing; supplying of components or strategic expertise; software solution providers; or businesses that extract and analyze data from drones. The collection of all sorts of data – whether individual, community shared, or potentially critical in terms of infrastructure or security – is set to grow in step with extended use of drones, the group notes. 

And with advancing automation likely to accelerate that store of information, Drones4Sec says both current and future practices and rules will have to ensure privacy is respected.

“At a time when the use of drones is becoming more and more a part of the daily life of companies and authorities, the creation of a sovereign, representative and expert federation will reinforce the development of this innovative industry, bringing together European technology companies with strong potential,” its inaugural statement reads. “Drones4Sec aims in particular to define the criteria of trust, cybersecurity and personal data protection that the use of drones requires for these new uses, and to make decision makers aware of the importance of choosing trusted drones. Indeed, trust, cybersecurity and personal data protection requirements become even more important with the increase in connectivity and autonomous operation, as well as the use of these drones to respond to increasingly sensitive missions.”

The organization says it has already formed a number of working groups, with the first activity being examined focusing on automated drone flights.

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