The U.S. army just kicked one of the biggest drone makers on the planet out of its barracks, all in the name of security. The maker of the drones in question: China’s DJI (also known as SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.).
An Aug. 2 U.S. Army memo obtained by sUAS News and later verified by Reuters advises that all service members “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction.”
Later, the memo gets more specific, stating, “Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI product, it is directed that the U.S. Army halt use of all DJI products.” The advisory covers all DJI-associated hardware and software.
“We are surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army’s unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision,” a DJI spokesperson told sUAS News. “We’ll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by ‘cyber vulnerabilities.'”
Last year, DJI addressed concerns from some regarding security, specifically as it relates to its relationship with the Chinese government.
“Some recent news stories have claimed DJI routinely shares customer information and drone video with authorities in China, where DJI is headquartered. This is false,” read the strongly worded April 2016 statement.
However, in a section on the DJI website regarding its privacy policies, the company states:
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Adario Strange is a New York–based writer, film director, and artist who covers cybersecurity for various publications.