Recently, DJI donated 100 drones to local agencies to help fight the Coronavirus. Republican lawmakers are now questioning if these drones are used to spy on U.S. citizens.
Last month, 100 drones were donated by DJI to 40 police, fire, and public safety organizations in 21 states as part of the US Disaster Relief Program to help fight COVID-19.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee now demand to know from the Department of Homeland Security how these drones are being used.
For the last few years, DJI has strongly denied that their unmanned aircraft were used for spying purposes. However, that hasn't stopped several federal agencies from expressing concerns, reports Bloomberg.
In a letter, the Republican lawmakers wrote that:
"In response to the coronavirus epidemic, DJI has donated drones to state and local law enforcement entities in the United States to purportedly assist with social distancing enforcement. Although federal law enforcement agencies have warned of potential information security concerns with DJI drones, it is not clear whether state and local law enforcement agencies are fully aware of these issues."
The letter, that was signed by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and 13 other lawmakers, requests that information needs to be provided as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 27th, 2020.
The drones were donated by DJI to the local safety agencies to help fight the spreading coronavirus and to protect first responders and citizens. In a statement, the drone maker said that:
“False claims that our drones spy on people or send data to China actually risk interfering with public safety efforts to protect people and communities."
DJI had sent a letter from April 21st to all recipients stressing that the drones, DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise version, met security standards for critical infrastructure. The drone maker added that any spying concerns were 'clearly motivated by political sentiment.
By Haye Kesteloo
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