DJI Data Breach, FAA Auth Extended, AirData Public Portal, Ohio DOT Drone Surveillance

Estimated read time 4 min read

Welcome to your weekly UAS News update. We have four drone stories for you this week: a DJI data breach that actually turned out to be a scam, the FAA authorization is extended once more, AirData creates a public portal for government transparency, and lastly, the Ohio DOT is going to be using drones for traffic surveillance. Let’s get to it.

DJI data breach

First up this week is the supposed DJI data breach that turns out to be a very complex and, quite frankly, bizarre scam. This came from the Mogilevich Group that claimed online to have hacked DJI, and they had apparently a 1TB database of information including prototypes and blueprints of new products. They were apparently selling this online, and at least one person or group paid $85,000 for the non-existent database. The scammers then posted their scam online, saying, “Now, the real question is, why confess all of this when we could have just run away? This was done to illustrate the process of our scam. We don’t think of ourselves as hackers, but rather as criminal geniuses, if we can call ourselves that.”

Dji Data Breach

Weird, bizarre, just… just weird. To be clear here, DJI has not been hacked. It should be obvious that the hack was instead a scam to convince people to pay for a non-existing database. We’ll keep you updated if we hear more about this, but I just don’t understand the motive behind all of this. Just take the money and run. Why are you trying to make yourself look so cool? It’s just odd.

FAA authorization is extended

Second this week, the FAA got another extension in funding until May 10th of 2024. This is the third extension since the 2018 Reauthorization Act expired, supposedly back in September of 2023. Now, the US House of Representatives passed the bill to reauthorize the FAA for another five years back in July of 2023, but the US Senate has yet to come to an agreement on the FAA reauthorization. You know, these guys are so busy doing important stuff, that’s just not on the list. We’ll have to wait and see if this is another case of kicking the can down the road, or if it’s actually going to result in a 5-year reauthorization. Who knows at this stage.

AirData creates a public portal for government transparency

Next up, AirData has released a public portal for law enforcement agencies. The portal is an integrated product for public safety agencies to publish where drone operations have occurred within a city or a municipality. The publishing of these flights allows law enforcement agencies to be more transparent about their operations. Flights are filtered automatically to protect confidentiality, and the department can tailor what data is actually being released, depending on their needs. According to AirData, several major Police departments have assisted with the design and development of the public portal, including Chula Vista PD, Las Vegas Metro PD, and Sacramento PD. For more information, you can check out AirData’s website. We’ll put a link down in the description.

Ohio DOT using drones for traffic surveillance

Lastly this week, the Ohio Department of Transportation will be using what appears to be a Censys Centaro drone for traffic surveillance along US-33. Along with the purchase of the Centaro, the DOT has also gotten approval for a BVLOS waiver (beyond visual line of sight) and an operation over people waiver, allowing the drone to be operated over people and traffic beyond visual line of sight.

Specific safety mitigations are not listed in the article, nor are they available on the Ohio DOT website. It’s unclear at this stage when the traffic surveillance operation will begin, but the drone will also be used for many other operations, including GIS operations, mapping, emergency management, and construction monitoring. Another cool and innovative use of UAS, if you ask me.

Alright, that’s it. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week on Monday for the live show.

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