We posted last week about the U.S. Army issuing a memorandum banning the use of DJI drones due to security concerns, but now, this week DJI reports that it is developing a new local data mode that stops internet traffic to and from its drone flight control apps. DJI says that it is making this change in order to provide enhanced data privacy for sensitive government agencies and enterprise customers.
DJI reported that its drone flight control apps usually communicate over the internet because it allows the drone to access the most relevant local maps and geofencing data, the latest versions of the app, correct radio frequency and power requirements, as well as other information that helps the drones flight safety and functionality. However, DJI now plans to offer the ability for an operator to enable ‘local data mode’ which means that DJI’s apps will stop sending or receiving any data over the internet (and in turn, increase the privacy of the data collected through the drone). The catch –because this local data mode blocks all internet data, DJI apps will not update maps or geofencing information, will not notify operators of newly issued flight restrictions or software updates, and could result in other performance limitations.
According to DJI, local data mode has been in development for several months and will be included in future versions of DJI apps, starting in the next several weeks. DJI’s apps include DJI GO, DJI GO 4, DJI XT Pro, DJI Pilot and Ground Station Pro. The local data mode feature may not be available in locations where an internet connection is required or highly advisable due to local regulations or requirements.