DJI announces pending fix for drones following Army ban

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Aug. 15 (UPI) — China-based drone company DJI has announced it is developing a local data mode for its line of unmanned aircraft systems after an Army memo emerged banning DJI products for security reasons.

DJI said in a news release it would provide the option for drone pilots to fly without an Internet connection. The systems are normally automatically updated with flight maps and location data, which could provide vulnerabilities for hackers to siphon data from the drones.

“We are creating local data mode to address the needs of our enterprise customers, including public and private organizations that are using DJI technology to perform sensitive operations around the world,” Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs, said in a statement.

“DJI is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers’ photos, videos and flight logs. Local data mode will provide added assurances for customers with heightened data security needs.”

The memo issued by the office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff stated that DJI unmanned aerial systems in use by the Army were to be deactivated and secured “due to increased cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.”

The memo noted that DJI was the most widely off-the-shelf unmanned aircraft system used by the Army, with more than 300 airworthiness releases for DJI items for a variety of missions.

DJI is the world’s largest maker of commercial drones, comprising over 70% of the market.

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