A group of bipartisan senators has urged the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to investigate the security risks presented by drones manufactured by Chinese company Shenzhen Dji Innovation Technology that has “deep ties” with the China Communist Party. They believe that Dji drones can potentially be used to spy on and monitor the critically important infrastructure of the country.
While a number of American companies are increasingly using consumer drones for various purposes, including food delivery and emergency services, Senators Mark Warner and Marsh Blackburn have stressed that CISA needs to intervene and assess the risks of using such drones created by Dji. They further argue that the widespread use of these drones could enable the China Communist Party to create a detailed, current map of the country’s pipelines, railways, energy, and waterways.
Commenting on the matter, CISA confirmed that it would directly respond to the senators’ request, without publicly commenting on the matter. The department also noted that it had already issued a similar warning in 2019 when it had expressed its concerns about all drones produced in China, without specifying any particular manufacturer.
However, Senators Warner and Blackburn insist that the risks associated with using Dji drones to monitor critically important infrastructure have increased considerably since then, hence the need for a comprehensive analysis of the security concerns.
According to Reuters, Dji controls almost 90% of the consumer drones market and approximately 70% of the industrial drone market in North America. The senators have therefore called for an urgent evaluation of the risks posed by the company’s drones and the findings must be made public through the national system of informing about cybersecurity.
The senators raised concerns about potential links between Dji and the China Communist Party. Therefore, they have called for the use of domestic equipment in critical infrastructure until any security vulnerabilities can be addressed.