What Is Really Going On?
According to an internal memo published by sUAS News, the U.S. Army is asking to terminate the use of all DJI products, including cameras and software “due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.” This unusual request leaves a lot of unanswered questions such as the nature of the threats and the reason behind of this global ban. What is really going on?
Who Is Concerned With the DJI Ban?
The U.S. Army bases its decisions on two documents. The first one titled “DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities” is a classified report delivered on May 2017 by the Army Research Laboratory.
The second document is a memorandum from the Navy called “Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products” also dated from May 2017.
It looks like the U.S. military forces are genuinely concerned about the risks associated with the use of DJI products. At this point, we do not know if the other military branches (Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Cost Guard) are concerned with this DJI ban. However, since the U.S. army memo puts an explicit reference to a similar U.S. Navy document, it is safe to assume that all the branches have already implemented similar restrictions. If not, they could quickly follow the army policy.
Other sources have mentioned that the DJI ban was already effective at the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Interior. I was not able to verify this information but if true it looks like the use of DJI products is going to be restricted by many federal agencies dealing with sensitive matters.
What Does It Mean for Contractors and Photographers?
At this time, the U.S. Army memo seems to only mention the 300 airworthiness certificate, meaning, the internal U.S. Army personnel. Continue reading about a new drone ban.