Saturday, August 15, 2020
Home Lead Story Fire Department to Use Chinese Drones Despite Possible Theft of Sensitive Data

Fire Department to Use Chinese Drones Despite Possible Theft of Sensitive Data

The department, which has 14 drones, uses the technology to save lives and make firefighters' jobs safer

In the future, every firetruck will carry a drone, much like they carry a water hose today, says Jeff Kleven, acting division chief of operations with the Fremont (California) Fire Department.

The department, which has 14 drones, uses the technology to save lives and make firefighters’ jobs safer. Recently, with the help of a drone equipped with an infrared camera able to detect body heat, the Fremont police rescued a deaf child at night. The fire department has worked with Chinese drone maker DJI to use its drones and software for rescues and training.

‘Strong concerns’ about data 

Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security repeated concerns that Chinese-made drones could be leaking sensitive data to China. While DJI wasn’t named, it is the world’s largest commercial drone maker. In 2017, the U.S. Army barred use of DJI’s drones. Kleven said the department takes seriously concerns about data. The DHS’s warning serves as a reminder of best practices for storing and transferring information.

“We are well aware of the accusations that are being made. It’s not something new. There are ways we localize our data so it doesn’t go out,” Kleven said. “There are ways we don’t have to be connected to the internet. We don’t have to transfer things over the internet. We can isolate our data within our system. We are confident with that.”

Popular with first responders

Romeo Durscher, head of public safety integration at DJI,  denied the leaking allegations and said the company has worked over the past year to give users more control over their data.

“We’ve done more security implementation so that the operator has the ability to control his or her own data,” Durscher said. “We are not in the business of controlling data. But we want to give the tools to the operator to say how the data is being stored or processed or transmitted. And those pieces are in place.”

Durscher estimates that more than 1,000 U.S. fire, police and other first responders use drones, and that drones have saved more than 200 lives worldwide. But as it grows, the company finds itself caught in the middle of tensions between Beijing and Washington.

ALSO READ: Amazon Plans to Use Self-Driving Drones to Deliver Packages in Months

Increasing data controls for users 

“We certainly live in a very different and challenging time right now with what is happening politically worldwide,” Durscher said. “We’re putting mitigative solutions in place so the data security risk is managed and manageable.”

This Chinese-made eye-in-the-sky technology will continue to work with local fire departments in the U.S. as Beijing and Washington continue their fight over who will be the global tech super power. (VOA)



Most Popular

Google Announces Updates in its Search to Help People Travel Safely

As some countries begin to reopen their businesses, Google has announced two new updates in its Search to help people travel safely and with...

Asymptomatic Covid-19 Patients Less Likely to Infect Close Contacts

New research has added to the growing body of evidence that asymptomatic patients suffering from Covid-19 are less likely to infect close contacts compared...

More Than Half of Indian Population Optimistic of Economic Recovery Soon

More than half the nation's population is optimistic that India will experience growth and economic recovery within two years, according to a Local Circles...

Plasma Therapy Treatment Safe, Effective for Covid Patients: Researchers

In an ongoing study of more than 300 Covid-19 patients treated with convalescent plasma therapy in the US, researchers suggest that the treatment is...

Changes in Weight Between Young Adulthood, Midlife Linked to Early Death Risk

Changes in weight between young adulthood and midlife may have important consequences for a person's risk of early death, say researchers. The study found that...

Researchers Develop AI Software That Assess 3D Printing Quality in Real Time

A team of US researchers has developed artificial intelligence (AI) software for 3D printers that assesses the quality of parts in real time, without...

Big B, Ramesh Sippy, Hema Recall Memories as ‘Sholay’ Turns 45

The blockbuster Sholay turned 45 on August 15. Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and director Ramesh Sippy looked back to dissect how and why the...

A New Test can Diagnose Covid-19 in Just 20 Minutes

In an ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus, the researchers have developed a new test that can diagnose Covid-19 in just 20 minutes. The findings,...

Recent Comments