DJI launches “DJI Government Edition” high security drones for authorities

DJI introduces a new product especially for authorities, which attach special importance to data security. The new drone version will initially be available in the USA.

Photo by Mitch Nielsen on Unsplash.

The recent espionage accusations against Chinese drone manufacturers of the Department of Defense have triggered a chain reaction at DJI. At first, the manufacturer contradicted the accusations that DJI drones were transferring customer data to China.

With the new DJI Government Edition, DJI is now taking another step towards US authorities and wants to offer special drones that enable particularly strict data control. The aim is to target customers who record critical infrastructures or otherwise collect sensitive information during their missions.

Features of the DJI Government Edition

The core components of the Government Edition UAVs can be summarised in three features

  • No data transfer – The special firmware prevents any data transfer. The “Local Date Mode” of the user-defined DJI Pilot App is permanently activated.
  • Reviews of future firmware updates – Authorities get the opportunity to examine and test new firmware versions before installation in a closed environment.
  • Restrictive pairing of the hardware – drones with the DJI Government Edition can only be paired with controllers based on the Government Edition architecture.

So is this really a high security drone?

Interestingly enough, none of these features seem to involve any hardware changes on the drone but mainly seem to enable/disable software features. Also keep in mind, that DJI is rather vague about allowing reviews of future firmware updates. It is not specified if DJI will allow authorities to review the full code of its software – like it it would be possible on an Open Source software project, plus I doubt that the authorities have the personal and time to review the huge amount of code required on a modern drone. I have my doubt if these features will satisfy the critics on insecure Chinese hardware.

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