The Department of Homeland Security in the US has warned that Chinese-made drones may be sending sensitive data back to the manufacturer.
In an alert issued on Monday and obtained by CNN, the DHS reportedly expressed concern on how drones could be a “potential risk to an organisation’s information.”
According to a report from the American news outlet, it went on to say the Chinese-made drones “contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed beyond the company itself.”
This news follows an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last week which more or less prevents US firms from using telecoms equipment made by Chinese firm Huawei.
A move which has drawn similar national security concerns of potential government spying.
The alert says: “The United States government has 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.”
It continues: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities.”
It then goes on to warn users to “be cautious when purchasing” and to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks.”
The CNN report went on to give details of a statement released by DJI, the firm behind almost 80% of the drones in the US.
DJI said it gives customers “full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored, and transmitted,” and says “customers can enable all the precautions DHS recommends.”
It commented: “At DJI, safety is at the core of everything we do, and the security of our technology has been independently verified by the U.S. government and leading U.S. businesses.
“For government and critical infrastructure customers that require additional assurances, we provide drones that do not transfer data to DJI or via the internet, and our customers can enable all the precautions DHS recommends. Every day, American businesses, first responders, and U.S. government agencies trust DJI drones to help save lives, promote worker safety, and support vital operations, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” the manufacturer concluded.