Homeland Security Believes DJI is Their Using Drones to Spy for China

The Los Angeles office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) has made some very remarkable claim against DJI in a memo that was issued back in August. The memo claims that officials believe “with moderate confidence that Chinese-based company DJI Science and Technology is providing US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”

The claim is pretty extraordinary and DJI has completely denied it, but the LA ICE says that its assessment is based on “open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems industry with first and secondhand access.”

In the memo states that “DJI’s criteria for selecting accounts to target appears to focus on the account holder’s ability to disrupt critical infrastructure.” The LA ICE believe that DJI is particularly interested in infrastructure, which would be things like railroads, weapon storage facilities, and companies providing drinking water. The office concludes that it “assesses with high confidence the critical infrastructure and law enforcement entities using DJI systems are collecting sensitive intelligence that the Chinese government could use to conduct physical or cyber attacks against the United States and its population."

It’s also important to point out that the LA ICE’s memo only focuses on drones used by companies and institutions, not drones used by hobbyists.

DJI has responded strongly to the LA ICE’s claim, saying to the New York Times that the memo it released was “based on clearly false and misleading claims.”  The went on to also say that “The allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions."

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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