On Friday, the radical transparency group DDoSecrets released hundreds of hours of police helicopter surveillance footage. It’s unclear who originally obtained the data, or what that person’s motivations were, but the trove shows how extensive law enforcement’s eye-in-the-sky has become, and how high-fidelity its cameras are. Privacy advocates also say the incident underscores that authorities don’t do nearly enough to protect sensitive data and have retention policies that are far too lax.
In other aerial news: For the first time, intelligence officials say, a consumer drone likely attempted to disrupt the US power grid. The July 2020 incident took place at a power substation in Pennsylvania; a DJI Mavic 2 quadcopter outfitted with nylon ropes and copper wire seemed determined to cause a short circuit, but it crash-landed on a nearby roof before it reached its apparent target. Security experts have warned about this possibility for years, and say that regulatory bodies haven’t moved quickly enough to mitigate the threat.
This week saw China’s new data privacy law go into effect, and the ramifications have already begun to play out. Yahoo! exited the country, citing an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.” And while the regulations are some of the strictest in the world, the fact that the Chinese government has tied them to national security interests—and continues to give itself extraordinary access to its citizens’ data—may inspire other countries to take a similarly aggressive posture.