“Don’t trust the Chinese drones. “ The main argument developed by Parrot during the presentation of its new professional drone is formulated without frills. French, the European number one in the specialty, has chosen to pose itself rather aggressively as a perfectly reliable and transparent company in terms of transmission of the data collected. A stone sent into the garden of its great Chinese rival DJI, which crushes the world market, but which the American government has banished from the army and federal agencies, accusing it of leaking data to China.
The new quadricopter called Anafi-USA is manufactured in Massachusetts within a production unit specially created by Parrot to assemble the prototypes designed within the framework of a call for tenders with the US Army. It proceeds – with the agreement of the American authorities, but without carrying military software – from the prototype developed for the needs of this competition, the outcome of which should be known at the end of the year. Parrot points out that this flying camera ensures “Total security of the data collected”.
According to its designers, “Encryption and privacy functions (…) are in full compliance with the general European data protection regulation [RGPD], thus guaranteeing the highest level of privacy and security for sensitive missions ”. By default, the information stored by Anafi-USA is not shared. If the user gives his consent, flight data and logbooks will be stored “On secure servers in Europe”.
“Your data is not our business”
“Whatever DJI may say, we are convinced that Chinese drones collect data without the knowledge of their users”, insists Henri Seydoux, president of Parrot. Convinced that he “There is enormous suspicion”, he also worries “Links between this company, the origin of the considerable means at its disposal of which is unknown, and the Chinese security apparatus”.
Parrot, which has completely refocused on the professional market, after the collapse of leisure drones, saw its turnover drop by 23% in the first quarter and could lose more than 30 million euros this year. Fearing that DJI would win the recent invitation to tender launched by the interior ministry for 650 drones, the company would see itself becoming the symbol of a form of reconquest. “We warn the authorities that choosing a Chinese drone is taking a risk”, insists Henri Seydoux.
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