DJI hits out at claims its drones pose data leak risks, slams rivals for ‘improper means’

The backlash against DJI became more fierce after President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 on December 22, 2023.

DJI (大疆科技), a civilian drone leader in the world, has hit back at accusations that its drones pose “data leak risks.”

The tech titan recently came under fire following claims by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that its drones could lead to severe breaches of user data and privacy.

In response, DJI published a statement on its official website, rebuffing these claims and pushing back against an intensifying clampdown on its presence abroad, especially in the US market.

“DJI constantly puts data privacy above everything else and users can freely control their own data,” DJI said in the statement.

Improper means

The Shenzhen-based company also blasted its opponents for attempting to eliminate market competition through “improper means” — which it did not specify, though.

All drones released by DJI follow the requirements by regulators and the company isn’t unlike any other rival in this respect, DJI said.

It went on to say that it has invested huge sums of capital in drone safety, privacy and protection since it opened up the consumer drone market 20 years ago.

DJI insisted that only with the explicit consent of its users will they share with the firm their flight logs, images or video footage.

There isn’t such a thing as “automatic data transmission,” DJI asserted.

Growing headwinds

According to the statement, the company has regularly submitted its drones to a third party for security verification and validation, and independent tests by cybersecurity experts in Western countries over the past few years have attested to the “top data security and privacy protection” afforded by DJI.

DJI added that in 2022, the DJI Core Crypto Engine, which serves as the secure engine of DJI drones, obtained NIST FIPS 140-2 certification which was formally validated by the US and Candian Governments.

As further proof of its stringent data security standards, DJI FlightHub2 also received ISO 27001 certification issued by the British Standards Institution (BSI), DJI said.

Over the past few months, DJI has been facing severe headwinds in the US, as some federal agencies joined others in banning the use and acquisition of its products on state security grounds.

The backlash against DJI became more fierce after President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 on December 22, 2023.

The Act forbids all federal agencies from purchasing Chinese-built drones, a move that observers believe is aimed at shaking up the market domination of DJI, which has some 80% of the drone market in the US.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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