U.S. Government considering pulling civilian drone program over Chinese spying risks

As per a report from the Sunday Times, the U.S. government is planning on permanently bringing a stop to its civilian drone program due to the drones being, at least partly, manufactured in China.

The FT reported citing two sources briefed on the plans as saying, the U.S. Department of the Interior is weighing its options, which includes halting around 1,000 drones after deciding that the risk of the drones being used by Beijing for spying was too high.

According to sources, although Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has yet to sign an official policy, he is planning on pulling the entire fleet from action, with exceptions for emergencies such as fighting wildfires and training.

The Department of the Interior did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

On Monday, the world’s largest commercial drone maker China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd stated, although it has not seen the new policy, it is looking forward to reviewing the U.S. department’s findings, given the lack of credible evidence to support a broad country of origin restriction on drone technology.

“We urge policymakers and industry stakeholders to come together to create clear standards that will give commercial and government drone operators the assurance they need to confidently evaluate drone technology no matter where it is made,” said SZ DJI Technology’s spokesperson.

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