In August, DJI—the world’s leading drone-maker, announced its plans to introduce a Local Data Mode to its drones following the US army concerns over cyber vulnerabilities. DJI has officially launched the essential privacy feature that cuts drones off from internet activity and stops the automatic upload of certain information to the company’s servers. The Shenzhen-headquartered company, through a press release, added that this mode would add a layer of security for its drone operators dealing with critical infrastructure, commercial trade secrets, government operations or any sensitive mission.
This privacy mode will be made accessible through the DJI Pilot app on the company’s CrystalSky monitoring tablets and some other Android tablets. The Pilot app is for drones that are used in a professional setting. Unfortunately, iOS users, as well as those using the DJI GO 4 app, may not use this feature. However, DJI promised that the new privacy mode would be arriving soon, depending on the demand and how it is received by their drone Pilots.
DJI says that once a user turns on Local Data Mode, the app stops the exchange of data over the internet. Maps will be unavailable, and information regarding no-fly zones and geo-fencing won’t be displayed. Additionally, the firmware updates that are often automated will be deactivated.
All the sensitive information including data on flight logs that typically include speed, distance and altitude will be kept on the drone, whether the Mode feature is activated or not. Besides that, all the captured videos and images will remain on the local SD card unless the users decide to share or upload the information online via its Go apps, which track and control DJI aircraft.
According to Brendan Schulman, the newly launched privacy feature will surely accommodate the needs of the company’s public and private enterprise customers around the world using DJI drones to carry out sensitive missions. He added that the company is very dedicated to guarding the privacy of its clients’ videos, photos, as well as flight logs.
Some features that support and enhance the safety of a flight operations rely on the connection to the internet, so turning on Local Data Mode feature would mean they’ll no longer be available. Drone operators are; therefore, reminded that they’re exclusively accountable for any safety issues arising from their flight operations.
Turning on the Local Data Mode
To activate the privacy mode, drone operators are required to open the Pilot app, select the option “activate LDM mode,” and then enter a password. They will need to re-enter the password to access and to deactivate the feature. Users will instantly receive a warning message, reminding them that the internet connection has been enabled or disabled. To get started, DJI owners will need to visit the DJI official site and download the latest updated DJI Pilot App/