Ryze Tello

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Ryze Tello

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

Made by Ryze and powered by a DJI flight control system, this affordable little drone is designed to be a super fun, entry-level drone for kids big and small. It takes low-end HD video and pictures. You can control it with an app on your phone. It flies for about 13 minutes on one battery charge. And it even lets you toss it in the air to get the drone party started. Just one thing, it has some known security issues, which kinda takes some of the fun out of it.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Ryze collaborated with fellow China-based drone maker DJI to create this budget consumer drone and says they may share users' personal information with DJI. Unfortunately, DJI has a history of not being good when it comes to privacy and security. Researchers raised concerns in 2020 about vulnerabilities in the Android app that control some DJI consumer drones and reportedly collect large amounts of personal data. If that data were leaked, they warned, it could then be exploited by the Chinese government. Currently, many government entities, including the United States military and the Dutch Ministry of Defense ban the drones, while it seems the FBI and Dutch police still purchase these drones. It all seems quite messy and rather scary.

Reading the Ryze privacy policy does raise some flags for us, as they do seem to collect a good deal of personal information and didn't seem to us to be transparent about whether they sell it. They say they collect personal information on users when they upload or share photos or videos. That sounds pretty creepy. They do say they ask for consent to send marketing communications, which is good. So, what is the worst that could happen with this little, affordable toy drone? Well, hopefully not too much, but their partnership with questionable drone maker DJI raise enough flags that we have concerns. For around $100 dollars, this drone is much more accessible to most first-time drone buyers than the more expensive and much more private and secure Parrot drones. So, we'll just warn users to be careful with their drone. And please, don't use it to follow around your little brother all day. That could get annoying.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Protect the phone or tablet you comtrol your drone with from malware
  • Use a strong passwor
  • Keep your drone's firmware updated regularly
  • Use a VPN
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: Yes

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: No

Tracks location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Ryze is not transparent about whether they sell users' data. CCPA or GDPR sections are not present in the privacy policy.

Ryze says "When you use Ryze Tech Products and Services, you may provide us with information about you...For example, you provide us with information when you ...upload or share photos or videos on or through Ryze Tech Products and Services."

Ryze may share your information with their partner company, DJI. Ryze may make certain aggregated, de-identified, or non-identifying information about users of Ryze Tech Products and Services available to third parties for various purposes, including business or marketing purposes.

How can you control your data?

Subject to applicable law, you may have the right to request access to and receive information about the information Ryze maintains about you; update or correct inaccuracies in the information they maintain about you; and have the information blocked or deleted, as appropriate. Even if you have withdrawn your consent to the processing of your information, Ryze may still be entitled to process your information if they have another legitimate reason (other than consent) for doing so.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In 2020, research groups Synacktiv and GRIMM claimed that the DJI's (Ryze Tello parent company) GO 4 application can force updates on users without routing them through the Google Play Store. Given the access the application has — including users’ contacts, microphone, camera, geolocation — it could give DJI or third parties nearly full control of users’ phones, researchers contend. Hundreds of thousands of customers across the world use the app to pilot their rotor-powered, camera-mounted aircraft. In their response, the company claimed that researchers found a typical software concerns, with no evidence they have ever been exploited.

In the Netherlands, DJI drones were banned for military use because of security concerns, but they are still in use by the police force.

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Can’t Determine

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Can’t Determine

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


News

Ryze Tello Review
PC Mag
The Ryze Tello is a toy quadcopter flyable via smartphone or laptop (using Scratch). Its video quality isn't anything to write home about, but it's a fun tech toy and learning tool.
DJI Expands Data Privacy Protections For Government And Commercial Drone Operators
DJI
Following new cybersecurity audit, Local Data Mode feature coming to more DJI drones to eliminate internet connection and prevent transmission of drone flight data
Popular Chinese-Made Drone Is Found to Have Security Weakness
New York Times
Cybersecurity researchers revealed on Thursday a newfound vulnerability in an app that controls the world’s most popular consumer drones, threatening to intensify the growing tensions between China and the United States. In two reports, the researchers contended that an app on Google’s Android operating system that powers drones made by China-based Da Jiang Innovations, or DJI, collects large amounts of personal information that could be exploited by the Beijing government.
Dutch police using Chinese-made DJI drones the Defense Ministry rejected over security concerns: report
NL Times
The Dutch police regularly use drones made by Chinese company Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), which the Ministry of Defense banned over serious concerns about data security.

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