Stopping the flow: safeguarding your department's drone data


Editorial Note: The following blog is not an endorsement of any product or service outside of Skyfire Consulting.

There's been a ton of discussion lately about the safety of public safety drone data, when using foreign-made drones like DJI. This is understandably an important and worrying topic, since flight data, photographs, and video of sensitive locations need to stay in the possession of the intended parties and not whisked away to foreign servers.

Fortunately, there are actually a few very simple solutions:

Manage Your Settings
Every time a DJI drone operator uses the DJI GO or DJI GO4 app on their tablet the flight record, and low resolution versions of the photos and videos gets stored on the tablet. If the user chooses to backup those records to the cloud, the files could be transferred to DJI servers in China.

To stop this from happening, all you need to do is not back up these records to the cloud, and instead use the drone's SD card.

Switch It Up
A far more fool proof way to eliminate the data transfer is to remove DJI GO from the wireless device, and use a 3rd party app, such as FPV Camera, or Litchy.

Naturally those accustomed to DJI GO may find new apps a bit different, but in most cases after a few flights, you will be comfortable flying with the new interface.

Here are some of the benefits of using a 3rd party app:

  • No cloud backup to China
  • No online connection to servers
  • Potential for added telemetry to customize (lat/long, etc)
  • Option to record live iPad screen for full mission playback (FPV Camera)
  • Add “Mission Planner” for full waypoint programming (FPV Camera)
  • A flight timer is displayed starting at take off (FPV Camera)

Keep in mind, with the FPV Camera app intelligent flight modes available in GO are currently not supported.