US Homeland Security warns of data threat from China-made drones

May 21, 2019 08:34
Chinese-made drones pose the risk of data being transferred elsewhere or offering access to China state agencies, a US government agency warned American firms. Photo: Bloomberg

The US Department of Homeland Security has warned American firms of the risks to company data from Chinese-made drones, Reuters reports, citing a notice reviewed by it on Monday.

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,” the report said.

A spokeswoman for DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirmed that it “recently released an industry alert providing organizations with information related to the inherit risks associated with using UAS technology manufactured in China and measures to reduce such risk,” the news agency said.

The notice, which did not name any companies, 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. Last Wednesday, the US Commerce Department added Huawei Technologies and 68 affiliates to an export blacklist, citing the risk of to US national security from the telecoms network equipment maker.

China’s SZ DJI Technology, the world’s largest maker of consumer drones, was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday that “the security of our technology has been independently verified by the U.S. government and leading U.S. 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.”

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