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DJI: Drones should transmit identifier for security

DroneTone

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From the March 28, 2017 Boston Globe Business section...

Manufacturer: Drones should transmit identifier for security
The world’s largest manufacturer of civilian drones is proposing that drones be required to continually transmit identification information to help government security agencies and law enforcement figure out which might belong to rogue operators.


By Joan Lowy ASSOCIATED PRESS MARCH 28, 2017

WASHINGTON — The world’s largest manufacturer of civilian drones is proposing that the craft continually transmit identification information to help government security agencies and law enforcement figure out which might belong to rogue operators. DJI, a Chinese company, said in a paper released Monday that radio transmissions of an identification code, possibly the operator’s Federal Aviation Administration registration number, could help allay security concerns while also protecting the operator’s privacy. The paper suggests steps that can be taken to use existing technologies to develop an identification system, and that operators could include more identification information in addition to a number if they wish.

Anyone with the proper radio receiver could obtain those transmissions from the drone, but only law enforcement officials or aviation regulators would be able to use that registration number to identify the registered owner.
Law enforcement agencies and the US military raised security concerns last year after FAA officials proposed permitting more civilian drone flights over crowds and densely populated areas.

In response, the FAA announced in January that it was delaying a public notice of the proposal while the agency works to address the concerns. On Monday, FAA administrator Michael Huerta kicked off a three-day drone symposium in suburban Washington by announcing that the agency is forming an advisory committee to make recommendations on how to remotely track drones, as well as trying to facilitate a dialogue between government agencies and the drone industry on how best to address security concerns.

State and local authorities, as well as some industries, want to ban drone flights near certain sensitive sites, such as nuclear power and chemical plants.

‘‘How can we make sure unmanned aircraft don’t gain access to sensitive sites? And after seeing how drones can be used for ill intent overseas, how can we ensure similar incidents don’t happen here?’’ Huerta told the symposium. ‘‘These aren’t questions the FAA can or should answer alone.’’
A key concern is that there are no means for security agencies to differentiate between drones that may pose security risks and those that don’t.
Brendan Schulman, an attorney for DJI, compared the identification transmissions to a car license plate. The lack of a license plate is a reason for police to stop a car for a further look while letting cars with proper plates continue to travel by, he said. Last year, Congress directed the FAA to develop approaches to remotely identifying drone operators and owners, and set deadlines for doing so over the next two years.
Security concerns about civilian drones extend beyond the United States. Regulations have been proposed in Europe regarding technology to enable authorities to remotely identify drones, including by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the FAA’s counterpart. France and Germany have also called for remote identification technology. Italy and Denmark already include identification technologies in regulations that seem not to be enforced because a means of compliance doesn’t yet exist, the DJI paper said.
FAA and drone industry officials have been discussing the possible creation of an online network that could be accessed by a mobile phone so that drone operators can submit flight plans before taking off. Those plans would be available to law enforcement and other government agencies and possibly to the public.
Airlines and other manned aircraft operators already submit flight plans to the FAA in order to receive air traffic control services. In 2011, Congress gave operators the ability to block public access to their plans if they wish.
A remote transmission system is preferable to a network that attempts to track or record the location of all drones in real time, which would be far more complex to develop and would expose the confidential information of drone users, the DJI paper said.
That approach ‘‘would result in the collection and access to flight information by people who do not need it, such as far-away business competitors,’’ Schulman said.
 
I don't have a problem with this idea and would support it. If it helps the FAA, local, and state governments from having to make wide ranging and blanket regs because of a few individuals then let's do it.
 
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Sure. Let's put a cop in every home too. Just imagine how crime-free we'd be. No more domestic abuse. No more child predators. Heck, I think we should have roaming groups of cops that can just do block-by-block sweeps of homes to make sure nothing illegal or "rogue" is happening inside. No warrant, no warning. When they show up, you let them in with a smile. If you're not there, leave a key at the local PD for them to use any time.

Seriously. Does anyone for a moment think that someone who's flying their 'drone' for nefarious purposes A) won't register with the FAA, B) won't play by all the rules/guidelines/laws, and C) won't disable any such identification equipment (or build their own drone that doesn't have it)?

This is the same asinine thinking that has politicians clamping down harder and harder on gun owners' rights in an attempt to prevent criminals from committing crimes. That's working out SO well in Chicago, Baltimore, and other 'gun-free' zones.
 
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It's not a matter of "nefarious" reasons, it's about individuals making poor choices that results n blanket rules that impact the community as a whole. If they can't identify an individual they will simply put in place a general policy that restrict everyone.
 
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I wouldn't mind transmitting a signal to ATC via ADS-B or some similiar. The police I dont see the need - since they could get the info if needed from FAA etc in the prior scenario.
 
I've seen this on a few other boards and what I find funny is people with flying cameras are the ones all of a sudden worried about privacy ,LOL.
 
Nothing funny about government obtaining more and more tools that result in the erosion of our liberties.
 
Nothing funny about government obtaining more and more tools that result in the erosion of our liberties.

It is funny , especially coming from people that use smartphones , smart TV , post everything about them on social media to get spread across the world via internet . People already freely give the governments more personal information than they could have ever dreamed of obtaining just 30 years ago .
A awful lot of drone pilots have done nothing but defend their perceived right to fly over anyones personal property stating the property owners do not own the skies and have no privacy rights from above yet now with the mere mention of being able to identify their drone they expect a right of privacy themselves while in the sky . That's pretty darn funny right there ,lol.
 
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As for other regulated things (weapons as an example) who at the end has to pay the bill and have life complicated are honest people because i dubt that somebody that want to make an illegal use of a drone would have difficulties to buy or build one and fly it where ever he wants.
Would also be interesting to know about how such an eventuality would be managed considering the quantity of drones that fly daily.
 
It is funny , especially coming from people that use smartphones , smart TV , post everything about them on social media to get spread across the world via internet . People already freely give the governments more personal information than they could have ever dreamed of obtaining just 30 years ago .
A awful lot of drone pilots have done nothing but defend their perceived right to fly over anyones personal property stating the property owners do not own the skies and have no privacy rights from above yet now with the mere mention of being able to identify their drone they expect a right of privacy themselves while in the sky . That's pretty darn funny right there ,lol.

At best it's ironic if true, but certainly not funny - at least not to those who actually value the Constitution. You are, however, making my point - which is that incrementally, we have been conditioned to accept the surrender of personal information.

It's gotten to the point that even the most staunch advocate for privacy has thrown their hands up in the air to say, "What's it matter at this point?" And that is an issue.

If a consumer chooses to surrender their shopping habits or social media data to a company for commercial benefit, that's one thing. I have no problem with people willing to sacrifice privacy for the convenience of having a digital personal assistant (Alexa) that records every sound in a home. What I do have a problem with is when government mandates that every home have a secretly installed Alexa in their home. When every modern TV has a backdoor that GOVERNMENT can use to listen (or watch) every American w/o permission.

A few years ago, PTZ cameras started popping up along the major roads around our area. Now, you can't stand anywhere and not see at least one "DOT" camera pointed in your direction. Some neighbors thought that was great. "If it decreases crime", or "If it helps me avoid congestion" - then it's OK with them. The problem is, those cameras can be used to do much more than traffic management. Any vehicle can be tracked from origin to destination either by license plate (ALPR scanners) or with the unique MAC address of the always-broadcasting bluetooth radio in newer cars. There is no opting out. I'm NOT ok with that.

So, having a mandate that would allow .gov to monitor your drone activity is just another incremental step closer to complete surveillance of the population.

This is not what the founding fathers had in mind when they gave us a Republic - one which we are apparently unable to keep.
 
Politicians and bureaucrats... always trying to sell the idea that more control = more safety. Usually with the intention of making money for a few selected. And people buy it, how dellusional. We control nothing, not even ourseves. What about DIY drones and the kind? Whatever, I wouldn´t mind myself but truth is law breakers of all kinds are always, always one step ahead. So every control system put in place becomes a burden of some kind to the rest of the 99% of honest working ppl and law abiders.
 
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