Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Congress Aims to Strip 'Trojan horse' Chinese Drones from All Levels of Government; U.S. States Are Flying Thousands Of Chinese Drones Across The East Coast

Congress aims to strip 'Trojan horse' Chinese drones from all levels of government
A bipartisan initiative in the House to ban federal, state, and local governments from using Chinese drones is the latest move by Congress to distance itself from the hostile nation.
Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) partnered this month to introduce the Securing Our Airspace from Reconnaissance Act out of concern that the Chinese Communist Party could be using intelligence and data from unsuspecting drone users nationwide for unfriendly purposes.
"They may seem innocent, surveilling traffic, or another machine could be programmed, for all we know, to be looking at other things, as well as sending that information back to China. We still know nothing," Joyce said in an interview with the Washington Examiner, calling them no more than a "modern-day Trojan horse."
There are growing calls in both parties for the United States to think twice about its relationship with China, exacerbated by the blimp caught flying over the U.S. earlier this year.
Auchincloss said drones made in China are a threat to U.S. national security because they allow foreign companies to access and control sensitive data, particularly if local, state, and federal agencies use them for matters related to critical infrastructure and law enforcement. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images
U.S. States Are Flying Thousands Of Chinese Drones Across The East Coast. Marco Rubio Is Furious:
FOIA records show state governments and local police are buying thousands of Chinese drones made by DJI and Autel, flying them all over the East Coast. Marco Rubio says there’s “no excuse.”
In Washington D.C., lawmakers have been banging the drum about China potentially turning drones from Beijing’s industry giants into remote aerial surveillance machines, threatening national security and Americans’ privacy. Yet U.S. cops and states continue to purchase Beijing manufacturers’ drones. Freedom of Information Act responses and previously-unreported police data reveal state and local agencies have registered thousands of Chinese flying machines from companies Autel and DJI, the world’s biggest drone maker valued at $16 billion.
That even extends to the United States Capitol Police: records of state government drone registrations at the Federal Aviation Administration show the United States Capitol Police has four models manufactured by China’s Autel Robotics. They are the only drones currently in use by the Capitol Police, according to spokesman Tim Barber, who said they were acquired last year for $2,000 each, but are yet to be deployed around Washington D.C. and were being used for training with no access to the department’s network. The purchases came to light thanks to freedom of information requests filed by Jerome Greco, who filed the FOIAs outside of his role as supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society. (A day after publication, Barber said the Capitol Police had ditched the drones and it no longer has any unmanned flying vehicles whatsoever.)
That Capitol Police chose Chinese manufacturer Autel for its only drone purchases rather than buy American is indicative of a wider trend: Autel and DJI have 70% market share in the local government market across Florida, New Jersey, New York and Washington D.C., and dominance amongst major police departments in Maryland and Virginia. But states may soon have to bring the manufacturers and their drones back down to earth, should others follow Ron DeSantis’ lead in Florida and ban China-made unmanned aerial vehicles over intelligence concerns, or Congress pass proposed legislation to counter the apparent threat of foreign espionage.
The American intelligence community’s fears about Chinese spying have manifested in various attempts to curtail Beijing’s biggest technology companies and their data gathering efforts, the most prominent example being recent threats to outlaw TikTok, owned by Beijing’s ByteDance. Huawei and ZTE are amongst the bigger names to have already suffered; the White House has blocked their entrance into the U.S. market.
Without providing any evidence of the specific threat, and in the face of criticism that there is none, lawmakers and defense officials have long raised concerns about the potential for Beijing to pressure Chinese manufacturers like Autel and DJI to start sending visuals and data back to Communist Party snoops. As a result of those anxieties, in 2020, the Commerce Department blacklisted DJI, barring American companies from exporting to the company. In 2021, the Pentagon assessed that DJI technologies posed “potential threats to national security.” The Pentagon did, however, allow itself special dispensation to buy Chinese drones if they were for training or unique intelligence purposes.
In the most recent broadside, Senators Mark Warner and Rick Scott have put forward the American Security Drone Act of 2023. Supported by Senators Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, the bill would prohibit federal agencies from purchasing drones from countries identified as national security threats, including China. It would also ban the use of any federal grants given to law enforcement for the purchase of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles. --->READ MORE HERE
If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: