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U.S. Government Skeptical of Chinese-Made Drones

According to reports, the U.S. Department of the Interior will ground its entire drone fleet out of concern that the Chinese-made devices could be used for spying. This follows an announcement at the end of October that the department would stop using the drones temporarily to review the situation.

The department uses drones for mapping, tracking natural resources, and to monitor emergency situations, such as wildfires. The Interior will revert to using manned aircraft for essential aerial surveillance, which will cost more money and cover less ground.

The announcement is just the latest U.S. government pullback from drones that are either made in China or are made with Chinese components. In 2017, the U.S. Army issued a report that drones from the Chinese company DJI had security risks and discontinued their use and any future purchases. Around the same time the Department of Homeland Security issued a similar memo.

Last year Congress wrote letters and legislation in an attempt to limit the government’s use of foreign-made drones in favor of U.S.-manufactured devices. Despite the reported dangers, however, both the U.S. Air Force and Navy purchased drones from DJI last year.

A December Security Management article gives tips on vetting technology vendors that could pose security risks.