Police Use Chinese Drones: Data Breach Concern

“We do not rule out the possibility that the information ends up on Chinese servers,” police said in response to an investigation van Trouw, De Groene Amsterdammer, EenVandaag and Investico. The data is stored on servers in China and could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

The more than one hundred DJI police drones are not used in “armored operations”. Defense does not use DJI devices ‘for operational use’.

Reflective or infrared camera

The drones that the police work with are normal drones, which can be bought by everyone, but it is mainly the sensor under the drone that makes the difference. For example, a drone may have a reflector or infrared camera to locate someone or a speaker to warn people on the ground. The drone also makes it possible to map locations in flooded areas that are still accessible to emergency services.

According to the investigation of the three media, drones have already been used more than a thousand times this year to investigate and monitor public order. Rijkswaterstaat also uses drones to survey Delta Works and waterways, for example.

DJI denies

DJI claims that its products are safe and that users do not have to share data. The company also has a special government version of its drone software, but the Dutch police do not use it.

Police forces in the US, UK and Italy, among others, use the same DJI model as the Dutch police.

‘Extra pair of eyes’

Police call drones an “extra pair of eyes”. They are used, for example, to search for missing persons. They can also take pictures of a serious accident so that the cause can be traced. “They can visualize the scene of a serious crime, so that we don’t lose any trace and the images can later serve as evidence. Or give the judge a good picture of the situation, ”police said.

“A drone can also visualize crowds during an event and prevent injuries from being endangered. Or see from the air which parts of an area that has been flooded are still accessible to emergency services.”

Vince Fernandez

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