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Any way to disable "phone home" feature? i.e. spying

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Phantom4Flyer, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Phantom4Flyer

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    I noticed that the DJI manual talks about flight data being sent back to DJI servers. Is there any way to workaround or disable this???

    Does the drone have any non-volatile storage? Where is the flight/use data stored? on the SD card? One thing that I thought of is to copy all the data from the SD card, and then reformat the card before checking for updates.

    Since I am still in the investigation stage, do other drone manufacturers do the same thing? TIA
     
  2. Mark The Droner

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    Obviously the AC can store data. How else would it know what your RTH height is? That's just one example.

    Welcome to the site!
     
  3. LDF

    LDF

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    There is on the back of the main control circuit board (for Phantom3 atleast) a SD card glued in place. I'm guessing that one is for flight related storage.
     
    #3 LDF, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  4. Phantom4Flyer

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    Thanks!
    I realize it needs to store data during the flight, like the RTH data that you mention, but it hardly needs flight telemetry for a flight. Even the RTH data is not needed after landing and shutdown.

    My car's GPS collects a lot of data, but I can disable the "breadcrumbs" and clear the personal data with a push of a button.
     
  5. Mark The Droner

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    I bet a nice strong magnet would wipe that stuff out pretty nicely, but I'm not sure I'd want to try it...
     
  6. WetDog

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    If you don't connect the tablet to the Internet, it can't phone home. You cannot keep the Phantom from storing flight data - that's pretty much built into the craft and anyway is extremely useful. Just read a number of posts around here where that telemetry has been used to diagnose issues. DJI also uses it to adjudicate warranty claims and actually has a track record of calling crashes and fly aways a warrantable issue.

    You lose the ability to get notified about upgrades and you lose any social media aspects of the DJI software..

    But you don't have to tell DJI where you were last night.
     
    ROD PAINTER likes this.
  7. Phantom4Flyer

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    That's NOT good.

    IF you can't stop the data collection, then you have to keep it from calling home. My first thought is that they probably upload useage data as part of the check for firmware updates - they make a big deal out of checking often to confirm you have the latest update Do you need live Internet connection to do the firmware update, or can you download a file and do it offline?
     
  8. WetDog

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    The Phantom itself is updated offline. The RC needs to be online to update.

    So, just don't update.
     
    Phantom4Flyer likes this.
  9. N017RW

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    I remember wondering/thinking the same thing about SD cards/Flash Memory a few months back.

    From what I recall you're not likely to possess a magnet anywhere near the strength required. Now if you're talking MRI exposure that's different. Things can get weird in that environment.
     
  10. Phantom4Flyer

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    Can you elaborate on the second part? I usually wait a bit with most electronic equipment firmware updates to make sure any bugs are shaken out before I install.
     
  11. WetDog

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    The social media aspect? Don't use it at all but you can live feed to YouTube and, I think, somewhere else. You can upload all of your flights to your account and amaze yourself later (or something). Obviously, any time you upload any of that kind of data it's pretty much public info.

    It is not a bad idea to wait out DJI 'updates'. Their philosophy appears to be like everyone else - 'release early and often and to hell with testing'.
    They don't call it bleeding edge for nothing.
     
    ROD PAINTER and Phantom4Flyer like this.
  12. Phantom4Flyer

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    Now that begs the question: Does the RC store flight data?

    Being new to this forum how does DJI address concerns like mine? Or do they just brush off?
     
  13. msinger

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    No.
     
  14. ray rokni

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    Why you guys getting confused? If you don't sync flight records in the go app then your flight data isn't going to go to dji servers!!!
    To access the onboard sd card just hook up the p3 to your pewter and with a bit of pewter savvy you can get rid of all the stored data,.
    RC doesn't collect any data


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
     
  15. WetDog

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    For all of you who shiver with delight when they see a sheet of aluminum foil, read this thread, especially Ianwood's replies.

    TL;DR - The Android Go app is *very* chatty. Sends lots of stuff to servers in China, requests lots of permissions for things that don't obviously have much to do with flying a UAV. There is no reason to believe that the iOS app is any better.

    Is DJI looking at YOUR records to see if you are taking pictures of naked 16 year olds from 200 feet up with a wide angle lens? Likely not. Are they aggregating data to help with marketing? Almost assuredly. Can the data sent to DJI eventually come to bite you in the butt? Quite possibly.**

    Is someone else liable to get that information? Absolutely.

    Just depends on your tolerance on letting random parties have more personal information about what you do, where you go and what you pay for than they need for you to get your toy off the ground.

    YMMV. Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball.

    ** Imagine a more paranoid state of mind in the US where the powers that be become worried about 1 kg 'bombs' running amok. A simple request from a three letter agency could yield gigabytes of potentially incriminating evidence (You flew over that church, didn't you? Look at that - you flew over some houses! Just what were you thinking? You're only five miles from an airport!!!!)