Chinese drone giant DJI doesn’t collect, transmit, or store users’ data without their consent, despite rumors to the contrary, according to an independent study released today.
DJI is touting the study, done by San Francisco’s Kivu Consulting, which concluded that users of the company’s drones maintain full control over how data like photos, videos, or flight logs are collected, stored, or transmitted.
In a statement, Michael Perry, DJI’s managing director for North America, says that the Kivu report “clearly debunks unsubstantiated rumors about our products and assures our customers that they can continue flying DJI drones with confidence.” Although DJI is promoting the results of the study, it says it had no input into the consulting company’s findings or conclusions.
Kivu says it independently purchased numerous models of DJI drones as well as downloaded DJI apps directly from app stores in order to evaluate the devices and software. It also says it had access to DJI engineers and managers in the United States and China, as well as to app code repositories.
Last year, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement office in Los Angeles issued a memo arguing that DJI may be leveraging its drones to provide “U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government [and that the company is likely] selectively targeting government and privately-owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data.”
At the time, DJI called that memo “utterly insane” and added that “the allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions.”