US DHS warns of data threat from Chinese-made drones

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A drone operator demonstrates a DJI Matrice 100 drone at the Applied Drone Technology for Business Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday, April 15, 2019. The EU has consistently said it has yet to see any convincing evidence that technology alone can keep the border invisible, though it's willing to consider the possibility if the U.K. produces proposals. Photographer: Paul Faith/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Homeland Security has warned US firms of the risks to company data from Chinese-made drones, according to a notice reviewed by Reuters on May 20.

The notice, titled "Chinese Manufactured Unmanned Aircraft Systems", warned that US officials have "strong concerns about any technology product that takes American data into the territory of an authoritarian state that permits its intelligence services to have unfettered access to that data or otherwise abuses that access".

A spokeswoman for DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirmed that it "recently released an industry alert providing organisations with information related to the inherit risks associated with using UAS technology manufactured in China and measures to reduce such risk".

The notice, which did not name any companies, was reported earlier by CNN. It urged companies to "be aware of whether your UAS data is being stored by the vendor or other third parties. If it is being stored, find out how, where, and for how long."

This is the latest concern raised by the US government about the threats of Chinese-made devices. On May 15, the US Commerce Department added Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and 68 affiliates to an export blacklist, citing the risk of to US national security from the telecommunications network equipment maker.

China's SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, the world's largest maker of consumer drones, said in a statement on Monday that "the security of our technology has been independently verified by the US government and leading US businesses".

The company added that it gives "customers full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored, and transmitted". It said that for government and critical infrastructure customers, "we provide drones that do not transfer data to DJI or via the Internet". – Reuters

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