According to a report generated by Los Angeles-based intelligence agents, the Department of Homeland Security has a strong reason to believe that drone manufacturer DJI is spying for the Chinese Government on pieces of critical infrastructure in the US.
The memo was created by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau back in August but is just now surfacing publicly this week. They believed Chinese-based Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) is stealing sensitive infrastructure and law enforcement data to covertly send back to the Chinese Government. Part of the report reads:
SIP Los Angeles assesses with moderate confidence that Chinese-based company DJI Science and Technology is providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government. SIP Los Angeles further assesses with high confidence the company is selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data.
The report goes on to specify which targets the Chinese Government has been attempting to spy on and they are certainly concerning. The list includes railroads, utilities, drinking water systems, and hazardous material storage facilities.
DJI has denied the claims stating to the New York Times that the report is "based on clearly false and misleading claims." They said that their users are able to control what data is uploaded to the company's servers in China. They have recently added a feature allowing pilots to cut all outside internet connections while the drone is flying.
While DJI makes many drones for hobbyists, these claims are focused on their commercial line where DJI has a nearly two-thirds market share.
Lead photo credit: Kin Cheung / AP