White House Plans To Stop Civilian Drone Program Over Chinese Spying Fears
A report has surfaced that claims the United States government plans to permanently stop its civilian drone program. The reason cited by the report is that the drones used are at least partly made in China, and the United States government fears potential Chinese spying. Currently, the US Department of the Interior has about 1,000 drones that it is reportedly considering ending the use of because the risk of spying is too high.
The first rumblings of the government's plan surfaced in a report by the Financial Times that cited two people briefed about the plans. The sources claim that Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt hasn't yet signed an official policy, but is planning to pull the drone fleet from service. The report does claim that there will be exemptions for emergencies such as firefighting and training. The Department of the Interior has made no official comment on the report at this time.
The largest drone maker in the world is DJI Technology Co. Ltd, and the company said on Monday that it had not seen the new policy. However, the company says that it is looking forward to reviewing the Department of Interior findings, noting that there is a lack of credible evidence to support a country of origin restriction on drones.
DJI Technology Co. Ltd is the maker of the Mavic 2 Pro and other popular consumer drones. DJI is urging policymakers and industry stakeholders to create clear standards that would give commercial and government drone operators the assurances they need to operate the drones confidently. The United States government continues to have significant concerns with Chinese-based companies in several technology segments. Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is one of the highest-profile examples, although is founder continues to insist that the company is not a spy.