Hello and happy Thursday!
What if I told you that a Chinese technology company known to spy for the Chinese government is using local law enforcement to lobby Congress and to derail legislation that would improve American data security and reduce foreign espionage? Well, this is exactly what China’s DJI drone company is doing and it needs to stop.
We’ve talked about DJI before, but as a quick refresher the company is a global juggernaut. It owns 90 percent of the consumer drone market and 70 percent of the enterprise/industrial drone market. DJI drones are cool. They’re easy to fly, can be quite small, and are typically more affordable than the offerings from competitors. There’s just one problem: As a Chinese company, all the data collected by DJI must be made available to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which can then add this information to its growing data stores on American citizens, critical infrastructure, and other priority espionage targets. Importantly, it’s not just the data collected by the drone itself that’s up for grabs, but also all the data collected by the mobile application DJI customers use to control their drone and to manage their DJI account. Like many other mobile applications, this includes a user’s contacts, photos, GPS location, and online activities. DJI, of course, denies all this.
But the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a warning about Chinese-made drones (though it didn’t name DJI, specifically):