DJI's New Drone To Phone Remote ID Good or Bad Idea??

"Could this pose security risks when used by the wrong people??"

DJI announced recently that they are coming out with a new "Drone to Phone" app that will identify and display the location of the remote as well as the location and information regarding the drone (ie. altitude, speed, heading, model, identification code and more) of any drone in the area to any one that has the app.

I am definitely a supporter of having safe rules in place to ensure the future of drone technology by making sure to keep it out of the hands of those that will use it in a negative way as well as educating those that use drones about what is safe for manned aircraft as well as public in the areas in which they are operating it.

That being said I think the ability for anyone with a tablet or phone to be able to identify the make and model of a drone as well as the location of the pilot can be pose serious safety concerns.

With media and news outlets blasting the public constantly with negative views and warnings about the possible risks surrounded around drones, We frequently hear people stating drones are bad and only used for spying and casing houses or worse...

When in reality the great majority of drones in North America are just recreational users looking for a cool picture of a sunset or landscape and by far the majority don't have the capabilities to see someones private moments without being right up against a building or window.

My fears with the new app is that, the ones that will be using it, beyond the authorities looking to ensure proper use in regulated areas, will be the ones picturing that all the drones are up to no good or even worse is\ those looking to take advantage of an expensive drone flying in their area.

Showing the make and model of the drone to the public could pose risks for ill intent with those that know the value and may want to steal the drone. Some of the drones DJI manufactures for example an Inspire 2 with a box full of batteries, X7 camera plus the accessories can run well into $15,000 CAD plus and the bigger commercial units can be over $100,000 CAD with the high end payloads attached.

In my opinion having an app that can show anyone where all these expensive drones are can pose security risks to the owners and pilots and should be considered private information only available to authorities and control towers.

DJI noted in their release of adding features to input a description of what the drone is doing. For example if you are scanning an area or inspecting a roof, you can put this in the criteria area for others to see when they click on your drone.

This is a great idea to help ease peoples mind and be able to give them an answer without having to make person to person contact with the pilot.

My suggestion would be for DJI to restrict the location of the remote to authorities and those that have the need to see this information like control towers. The rest of the public should only able to see a pin and description of what the drone is doing not the information of the type of drone or where the pilot is. This is not information the public needs to access nor would benefit the public in any way.

If there is suspicion of privacy breach or harassment with the drone, the public can contact the authorities and the authorities can locate the pilot and the information about the drone.

Controlling authorities in both USA and UK have stated they would like tracking capabilities on all drones by 2020.

These are all solely my first thoughts on hearing the proposed new app and what runs thru my head when thinking about it.

DJI may adjust or implement more changes between now and the release date in the coming year.

What are your thoughts on the proposed app from DJI and how do you think it could help or hinder the industry? I would love to hear others opinions on it. Comment below.

Cameron Osborne

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