After months of government bans on DJI drones, with lawmakers questioning whether the company was sending information to the Chinese government, the Pentagon has now admitted that the drones it uses may be safe (through The hill), release a report stating that two “Government Edition” DJI drones are “recommended for use by government agencies.”
Last year, the Ministry of Interior grounded all of its drones, citing concerns about possible espionage by the Chinese government, and the Ministry of Commerce put DJI on its entity list after the company reportedly provided the Chinese government with surveillance technology for its Uyghur Muslim detention camps. That second claim is not addressed at all today.
But according to The hill, the Pentagon said it found no malicious code when it analyzed two drone models. The Department of Homeland Security earlier performed tests on the DJI Mavic Pro and Matrice 600 Pro in 2019, and found no evidence that data was being sent to places it shouldn’t, and a new government has seemingly come to a similar conclusion today. Another report who watched three DJI drones, including the Government Editions of the aforementioned drones, came to the same conclusion in early 2020.
The Pentagon’s report isn’t necessarily entirely clear on DJI’s relationship with the US government. From today’s revision, DJI is still on the Entity List, which prevents U.S. companies from selling their technology for use by DJI, and the Pentagon’s report comes as Congress passes. consider a law that would ban the government from buying Chinese drones for five years, starting in 2023. They should instead rely on other approved drones from companies in the US and France; as restrictions have been imposed on DJI, others have created drones with hefty price tags to meet government needs.
We’re also talking about some pretty old DJI drones that made everything clear; we reviewed the consumer model of DJI’s Mavic Pro in 2016 and since then the company has offered many much more competitive models.
No government investigation will stop you from buying a DJI drone. Despite all the allegations, DJI has still managed to continue making and selling its consumer products.
Lawmakers are still trying to decide what to do with other Chinese products also considered a security risk: While the Defense Ministry has reversed Xiaomi’s designation as a “Communist Chinese military company”, the Biden administration still seems to plans to prevent Huawei products from being used in US infrastructure. The government is so concerned about equipment from Chinese companies such as ZTE and Huawei serving as part of its network infrastructure that it is even considering removing those that are already in use. Last September, the FCC estimated it would cost $1.8 billion to “rip-and-replace” Chinese telecom equipment currently built into US networks.