DJI, a Chinese drone developer, has announced the development of a new local data mode for its drones. The new mode will block all incoming and outgoing flight control app internet traffic.
According to the company, the purpose of these internet communications is to ensure up-to-date local maps, geofencing data, power and frequency requirements, and other types of information needed to ensure the drone functions properly. They have decided to implement these measures to provide “enhanced data privacy assurances” to enterprise and government customers.
However, this decision may introduce a side-effect: their drones could suffer performance limitations such as being unable to receive map updates, flight restrictions, and other types of information they typically receive over the internet while being deployed.
DJI stated they don’t have access to user flight logs, nor do they collect them. The same goes for photos and videos. The only exception to this rule is if the user intentionally decides to share them with DJI’s servers or uploads them to their website.
The new local data mode has been in development for several months, and will be available in several DJI apps by the end of September. Unfortunately, not all countries will receive it, as some countries have regulations that require pilots to use the most recent maps and information.
Apart from that, DJI is also working on removing the old versions of firmware that feature several cybersecurity vulnerabilities from their servers. For example, some exploits enabled users to circumvent no-fly zones and other types of restrictions like height, speed, etc.