Fine Print Lets Drone Makers Swallow Up Sensitive Data: FAA, DHS
“Drone manufacturers may be scooping up sensitive videos of crime scenes, electric grids, and other critical infrastructure under terms of service that give them access to the data, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Aviation Administration officials say. More than a million unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have taken to the sky in the U.S. in recent years, with many flown by first responders and companies inspecting bridges, railways, and utilities. Some of the manufacturers’ terms of service give them access to video and data collected by drones, posing a privacy and security risk for users that would otherwise lock down access to that data, the officials said.
‘Some of those terms of agreement, you essentially can’t operate the UAS unless you enable that manufacturer to basically share, capture, transmit, and store your data anywhere they’d like to,’ Angela Stubblefield, deputy associate administrator for security with the FAA, said on the Oct. 18 panel held by CyberScoop media group. The Chinese company SZ DJI Technology Co. responded that it doesn’t access user data without permission. The manufacturer commands at least 70 percent of the U.S. market for non-hobbyist drones, according to a November 2017 study by the Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone that relies on FAA drone registration data.”