Fighting Fires with Chinese Drones Despite Possible Data Theft

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 Chinesemade 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.

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 Chinesemade 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.

Source: Voice of America