The department of homeland security has warned the US police about a data breach threat. The drones that the police force uses for surveillance are made in china by the company DJI. The DHS has cautioned that their data might be intercepted at some levels. In a letter this week, addressed to Jerry Nadler, the house judiciary committee chairman(D-NY), the department’s cybersecurity and infrastructure agency voiced its concern. DJI is one of the world’s largest drone making companies. It manufactures and sells drones of various kinds. During the pandemic, it loaned the US police department several aircraft to help with the monitoring of citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Christopher Krebs wrote in his letter that any data collected by the drone from DJI should be considered at risk and needs to be protected from “inadvertent disclosure” and all other external sources. In his letter he also suggested that the use of the drones donated by DJI must be limited to only COVID-19 related law enforcement and must not be used to collect any sorts of sensitive data or rather, should not be used for surveillance in any confidential or sensitive projects. The drones donated by DJI are extensively used by the force. The NYPD uses at least 14 drones donated by DJI to detect and locate any drug-related activities. This news was uploaded on the web sometime in December 2018.
The Elizabeth, NJ wrote on Facebook on April 7 that it was going to use loaned DJI drones for surveillance and would charge a $1000 fine if they located any social gatherings. Krebs also wrote that CISA has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency “to require state and local governments to review and acknowledge CISA guidance before purchasing foreign-manufactured UAS with Federal grant funding” hinting that the US police department too should follow certain guidelines before using the grant fundings for any technological purchases that they may be used for data collection. Krebs further added “Those wishing to continue with the purchase of a foreign manufactured UAS must provide a written justification that is screened against criteria that include an assessment of the UAS manufacturer’s country of origin. Based on this screening, FEMA may recommend alternatives to recipient jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis”
However, CISA is not the first to voice data breaching concerns against the DJI drones. Last month, Republican Rep’s Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida sent out a warning that these DJI drones may be piping information back to China. The spokesperson for DJI, Adam Lisberg told the post that many people have been trying to use DJI to score some political points against China, but there is no hardcore evidence of any of their claims “Multiple US government agencies, including the DHS itself, have reviewed the data protections in DJI drones and found no evidence that the photos, videos or flight logs generated by those drones can be transferred