The US Interior Department has grounded its drone fleet over fears that Chinese-manufactured UAV’s might pose a threat to national security.
The department supervises federal land and resource management and uses drones either manufactured in China or making use of Chinese-made parts leading to concern over potential spying and cyber attacks.
The fleet grounding comes following fears that the drones maybe transmitting sensitive information, including photos of key US infrastructure, back to China posing a threat to national security.
All Chinese-made drones or those that include Chinese-made parts in the current fleet will be grounded unless they are being used by emergency services, until a complete review of the potential security risks is carried out.
A spokesperson from DJI expressed the company’s disappointment at the move adding: “As the leader in commercial drone technology, we have worked with the Department of Interior to create safe and secure drone technology that meets their rigorous requirements, which was developed over the course of 15 months with DOI officials, independent cybersecurity assessments, and experts at NASA.
“We will continue to support the Department of Interior and provide any assistance we can as it reviews its drone fleet and so the agency can quickly resume the use of its drones to help federal workers conduct vital operations.”
The move follows the US instigating a bill that prevents any federal agency from buying Chinese-made drones from manufacturers like DJI over similar fears of espionage.