WASHINGTON -- Drones made in China could leak sensitive data, American national security officials warn, adding another potential flashpoint to the trade war between the two nations.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, under the Department of Homeland Security, told the Nikkei Asian Review that it "recently released an industry alert providing organizations with information related to the inherit risks associated with using [drone] technology manufactured in China and measures to reduce such risk."
Nearly 80% of drones sold in North America are said to be manufactured by Shenzhen-based DJI, formally Da Jiang Innovations. The alert, apparently aiming to dissuade American corporations from buying the drones, could further inflame tensions in the U.S.-China trade war.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a 2017 bulletin that DJI is "providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government," an assertion the company called "profoundly wrong." The U.S. Army also moved to stop using DJI drones that year.
DJI responded Monday to reports of the latest alert, which did not single out the company by name. "At DJI, safety is at the core of everything we do, and the security of our technology has been independently verified by the U.S. government and leading U.S. businesses," it said in a statement.
"Every day, American businesses, first responders, and U.S. government agencies trust DJI drones to help save lives, promote worker safety, and support vital operations, and we take that responsibility very seriously," DJI said.
The company said it is committed to continuously working with customers and industry and government stakeholders to ensure that its technology adheres to all of their requirements.