miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Drone users, beware: Chinese maker says it may share data with state

DJI Drone users, beware: Chinese maker says it may share data with state
SHENZHEN, China — DJI is the Chinese company that took drone technology — long the purview of major military forces — and made it cheap and accessible enough for ordinary people.
But as the technology is put into the hands of consumers, it raises new questions for DJI and others in the industry: What should be done with the information those drones gather? The little pilotless flying machines typically carry cameras, GPS sensors and other devices that can tell interested parties where they have been and what they have seen. How much of that information should be shared with local governments?

That question is especially important in China, where regulators have looked askance at drones while tightening their hold over civil society.

In a briefing for Chinese and foreign journalists at DJI’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Wednesday, Zhang Fanxi, a spokesman for the company, said that it was still working out how to deal with the data it collects. But for now, he said, DJI is complying with requests from the Chinese government to hand over data.

DJI could also give the government data from flights in Hong Kong, Mr. Zhang said. That could raise eyebrows among drone users in the city, a semiautonomous Chinese territory with its own laws that guarantee freedom of expression and its own independent judicial system. Protests in Hong Kong that shut down parts of the city in late 2014 were prompted in part by concerns that Beijing was interfering in local affairs.

For the moment, Mr. Zhang said, DJI was uncertain what the industry would decide to do with the data. “This data, exactly how we use it, when we use it and which government departments we give it to” is a continuing discussion, he said.

A Field Guide to Civilian Drones
DJI is not alone in cooperating with the authorities in China when they request data, which is required of all companies doing business there. In its most recent report on government requests for information, Apple said it received about 1,000 requests for data in the second half of last year from the Chinese authorities and supplied data about two-thirds of the time. Apple said this week that it had never handed encryption keys over to the Chinese authorities, which would give Beijing direct and broad access to communications on Apple’s products.

Read more about this article in NEW YORK TIME

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