There have been concerns about using hardware from China for several years. Worries the Chinese government might have software installed to allow it access to information stored within and transmitted by devices made in China resulted in several Chinese firms being barred from use by governmental agencies. Restrictions against Chinese companies and using hardware they make for government purposes are beginning to ease under the Biden administration. A pair of Chinese-built drones made by Da Jiang Innovations, better known as DJI, have been cleared for government use by a new report published by the Pentagon.
While the majority of the report is classified, what we know from the unclassified portion is that the two DJI drones built for the government were inspected, and the report determined “no malicious code or intent” was found. The report determined both drones were “recommended for use by government entities and forces working within US services.” The report’s author was the second chief warrant officer within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Adam Prater.
The purpose of the report was to analyze changes made to the drones used by the Interior Department. The fleet of 500 drones was temporarily grounded in 2020 after cybersecurity concerns were raised. The only exception to their grounding came with some emergency use. The report comes after some lawmakers in Washington raised concerns that there might be data sharing from drones with the Chinese government.
DJI has maintained it doesn’t share information with the Chinese government and that the company itself gets none of the data gathered by the drones. Booz Allen Hamilton published a report last summer that also found no evidence drones made by the company share or transfer data. Other Chinese companies have also been blocked from having access to government contracts in the US, including Huawei and ZTE. The Biden administration is currently conducting a review of those companies, and a favorable outcome could see them removed from the blocked list.