DJI is trying to reset the narrative. The company has issued a news release and a new blog post to address what it says are false allegations that its products may have data security issues.
DJI has an image problem these days. The US Department of Interior alleges that made-in-China drones, and drones containing Chinese-made parts, could potentially pose a problem with data security. As a result, it has banned such drones in favor of Made-in-the-USA models. This issue became more significant for DJI recently, when the Defense Innovation Unit released a list of five drones screened and given a green light for government purchase. Those same drones, called Blue sUAS, are “certified to fly in DoD and national airspace and meet the criteria required for U.S. Government procurement.” All of the drones on the list are US-made. That means DJI drones, long the product of choice for many government departments, have been effectively shut out of the supply chain of some US agencies.
DJI is now pushing back. And it’s doing so by attempting to address all of the allegations in a single location.
“Your data is none of our business”
With that headline, DJI sets out its broad position on this website.
Customers around the globe trust DJI to protect the integrity of their data. We understand how important data security is for the people, businesses and government agencies that rely on our platforms. As the industry leader, DJI has a responsibility to inform our customers exactly what data we have, how we use it and how we keep it safe. As a tech company, it’s equally important to be absolutely clear about what data we don’t have access to.
The big five
DJI’s news release says there are five myths against the company. The new blog post is meant to address the following allegations:
- “DJI drones do not automatically send pictures or flight information to DJI, to China, or to anywhere else. “BUSTED” provides concise links to the many technical studies from U.S. government agencies and private cybersecurity experts which have found no evidence to support this myth.
- “DJI cannot share customer data with the Chinese government unless customers voluntarily choose to provide it to us. “BUSTED” notes that even when provided with a lawful request for information from any country’s government, DJI cannot provide data that we don’t have.
- “DJI is not funded, owned or controlled by the government of China. “BUSTED” explains how DJI was privately founded without any Chinese government investments, and later received more than $100 million in American venture capital funding.
- “DJI does not steal technology or intellectual property from other companies. “BUSTED” notes the many key drone innovations first developed by DJI that were later copied by our competitors, as well as the nearly 500 U.S. patents it holds.
- “DJI has not “dumped” products on the market below cost. “BUSTED” cites examples from a U.S. federal court, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and American competitors who attribute DJI’s market success to its skill at developing powerful and innovative products at competitive prices.”
Have a look
The post does go into a fair bit of depth and provides links to the studies DJI says bolster its claims. So we recommend you have a thorough look if you have concerns.
In the news release, DJI describes the alleged data privacy issues as “unfounded allegations from critics and competitors.” Certainly, we’ve noted a shift in tone on the global drone stage. This was perhaps most notable back in June, when Parrot promoted an impending announcement with this graphic:
The problem with allegations
Here’s the issue for DJI: Once an allegation has been made, it tends to stick unless resoundingly refuted. Once multiple allegations have been made, it becomes that much harder. Anyone who has been falsely accused of something knows it puts you behind the 8-Ball.
DJI, to its credit, appears determined to continue pushing to clear its name.
In doing so, it is inviting even greater scrutiny from those who believe there’s still an issue. It is also highlighting its Bug Bounty program again, which is a license for any and all to examine millions upon millions of lines of code.
Makes you wonder: Would a company with a significant issue with its software do that?