Monday October 21, 2019
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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

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Drones
A drone demonstrates delivery capabilities from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida. VOA

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)

Next Story

What’s the True Cost of Cybercrime?

A criminal can use this data to get credit in your name or evade prosecution, or she could sell the information to someone else. Whatever they do with it, your personal information is like catnip for criminals. 

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hacker
Who knows how many incidents have gone unnoticed or even unreported. Companies might try to hide the fact that their systems have been breached because admitting this would damage their reputation. Pixabay

 

Do you have an idea what the cost of cybercrime is on an annual basis? Most people would guess millions, or maybe even billions. That would be a rather conservative estimate, though.

Unfortunately, the costs actually reach trillions of pounds globally every year. But that’s just the base financial cost measured in the losses made by companies and individuals. The true cost is hard to calculate.

crime
Hiding the fact that a breach had occurred could land the company in even more hot water, so businesses are starting to believe that it’s better to own up when something goes wrong in this arena. Pixabay


Who knows how many incidents have gone unnoticed or even unreported. Companies might try to hide the fact that their systems have been breached because admitting this would damage their reputation.

It’s something that some companies can never quite recover from. And while it’s wrong not to admit what happened, we can understand why they’d be reluctant to report the incident. After all, who wants to be held responsible for leaking customers personal data?

That said, most of the larger companies now have breach plans in place. They have procedures that dictate how they react should a breach occur. A standard part of these plans nowadays is to ensure that companies get the PR aspect right.

cyber crime
The stakes are just as high for people who are victims of this kind of crime in their personal capacity. Identity theft is one of the top-performing cybercrimes, and this is why personal data is such a hot commodity. Pixabay



Thanks to the GDPR, companies can face hefty fines if they are found to have been negligent when it comes to client security. Hiding the fact that a breach had occurred could land the company in even more hot water, so businesses are starting to believe that it’s better to own up when something goes wrong in this arena.

Also Read: ISS Surface As Littered With Microbes As A Gym, Claims NASA’s Scientists

The stakes are just as high for people who are victims of this kind of crime in their personal capacity. Identity theft is one of the top-performing cybercrimes, and this is why personal data is such a hot commodity.

A criminal can use this data to get credit in your name or evade prosecution, or she could sell the information to someone else. Whatever they do with it, your personal information is like catnip for criminals.