Chinese-based, DJI, has launched a stealthy new ‘privacy mode’ for its drones, notably blocking the exchange of internet data during flights.
The company states the new “local data mode” prevents internet traffic flowing to and from the DJI Pilot App, which provides added data security, especially for sensitive government and private enterprise customers.
The company states of the new privacy mode:
“Local data mode will be available in the next update on the DJI Pilot app on CrystalSky and for select Android tablets”
“When an operator activates local data mode, the app will stop sending or receiving any data over the internet”
“This adds an additional layer of security for operators of flights involving critical infrastructure, governmental projects or other sensitive missions”.
As “local data mode” blocks all internet data transmission, DJI’s Pilot app will not detect a drone’s location, nor show map and geofencing information (e.g. temporary flight restrictions and no-fly zones).
Brendan Schulman, DJI’s Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs states of the new flying mode:
“It will not notify drone operators of firmware updates. Telemetry data on flight logs such as altitude, distance or speed will remain stored on the aircraft even if the user deactivates local data mode”
“When using local data mode, drone operators are reminded that they are solely responsible for the safety of their flight operation and that they understand that features that may enhance and support the safety of their operations, but that rely on internet connectivity, are no longer available”.
Videos and photos captured with DJI drones will remain stored on the drone’s SD card.
DJI states its new local data mode may not be accessible in areas where internet data connection is required or advisable by local laws.