The Government of the united States is prepared to cancel its program civilian drones for fear of chinese spying. The close to a thousand appliances of chinese origin of the Department of the Interior have, since November in the soil. Now, according to the Financial Times, the final suppression of the program seems imminent. The purpose of the service is severe because the drones are civilians dealing with monitor emergencies, forests, borders or sensitive areas. Without these drones, many of their work should return to manned flight, the more expensive and hazardous.
The appliances chinese did not have an easy alternative: the country's companies dominate the global market for drones is small with a lot of competitive advantage. The decision can become one more episode in the battle technology between China and the united States, where Huawei has been the main victim, linked to the new cold war for the 5G, and the app of the moment, TikTok, the controversy more controversial (TikTok is china and is in millions of mobile phones around the world).
Among all these Spanish institutions, brought together more than a hundred drones DJI
In Europe and Spain, as in the other examples of the technology war with China, the concern is less than or disguised. In Spain, there are five distributors of drones, DJI. THE COUNTRY has contacted all and at least three have explained their sales and business relationships with bodies and security agencies Spanish: Guardia Civil, dirección General de tráfico, National Police, Tax Agency (for the borders), and a multitude of local police and regional. Among all these institutions, brought together more than a hundred drones DJI, with several negotiations underway to continue to grow.
The drones chinese are under suspicion in the US from 2017. The u.s. army banned then the units of the company DJI (Da-Jiang Innovations), which dominates the global market, for fear of espionage. In August of that year DJI opened up a challenge for hackers to find vulnerabilities in their systems and demonstrate that they were legit. One of the hackers, Kevin Finisterre, was able to access their servers and found all over: "Information of passports, cards drive, cards state and day of flight. One of the things that I did to judge the impact of the exhibition was to search domains '.mil', '.gov', 'gov.au'; immediately digests of flights to a lot of locations potentially sensitive appeared," explains Finisterre in the report that you wrote about all the legal problems he had with DJI for the revelations.
"the drones that chinese brand can be sending the data, for me there is not the slightest doubt, because it has already been proven in the past, as did Finisterre," says Pedro Cabrera, founder of Eton Shield, a company of ethical hacking of telecommunications. "And not only from chinese manufacturers. I was able to check the same with a French brand. I was able to get all the information of flights that mark who had flown over several cities, among them Madrid; they all contained the basic information of the flight (time, route, state) and some even contained the photos or videos that the pilot had done," he adds.
Silence of the Ministry
the Ministry of The Interior Spanish, to questions from this newspaper, has declined to comment if they are going to take any action against drones chinese. The Ministry of Defence, in change, has admitted that it has no drone DJI and has detailed guides to acquire drones small: "The Ministry of Defence is aware of the need for systems RPA [unmanned aerial vehicle, its acronym in English] of reduced size that allows to cover the need of getting the information out to the tactical level".
To do this, Defense has created a few "Requirements Status" and now prepares "the Stage of Determination of the alternative of obtaining. In this step assesses the resources concrete materials to learn and appreciate the aspects of industrial, technological, logistical, contractual, and cost associated to the solution functional or operative proposal. Among these aspects include the assessment and certification of security in the technologies of information and telecommunications (ICT), which allows to assess and certify their ability to handle information safely."
A test of the difficulty of replacing these drones small for viable alternatives is that the special forces of the US are still buying them, despite the veto. Your option is to add software that limits the possible safety hazards of the drones are of chinese origin. "We know that much of this information [of the drones] were sent to China, so that is not something we can use," he told journalists in December, a senior official of the Pentagon.
there is to be no military strategist to understand the value of images ordered chronologically and detailed of sensitive areas of another country, with the option to map hypothetical targets of both physical and human. It is not something that satellites have for the moment resolved: "The image can be obtained by satellite has its limitations, and that's also assuming that China has a system of satellites that would allow it to get photos of US", explains Cabrera.
"But how many drones, DJI is in the US? Million. Those drones belong to a government Department or a citizen, just the same, have the same operating system. We can not know if the manufacturer gives a different treatment to the information of the drones, in user function or if you make certain drones to be more attentive to its information, but since then it is perfectly feasible," adds Cabrera. Obtaining useful intelligence from thousands of hours of video is not simple yet, but to be able to distinguish the drones that record in interesting places is valuable.
The company's Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) denies strongly that all of this happen
This Monday, January 13, the secretary of State of USA, Mike Pompeo, he gave a speech in Silicon Valley on technology and China. Not referred to the drones, but how to see China the Government Trump: "[the president] Xi Jinping, the Communist Party has prioritized something called a 'fusion of civil-military'. It is a technical term but with a very simple idea: under the chinese law, chinese companies and researchers must –repeat, must– under penalty, to share his technology with the military," he said.
The company Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) denies strongly that all of this happen: "we Hope to be able to review the findings of the 'thorough review' of the programme of drones the Department of the Interior given the lack of credible evidence to support a broad restriction on the country of origin of drone technology. Drones DJI remains one of the safest and employees of the industry," said DJI in a statement after the news of the FT.
drones pose a hue new balance between convenience, both economic and technological, and security. Is it worth it to take into account all hypothetical risks to the change of not being able to use the technology at hand? The US does not need drones to huge, drone thousands of miles away, which cost millions of dollars: one of these, a Reaper, killed the general of the iranian Soleimani. But yes you try to promote an industry's own drones small. If this maneuver is only to improve its business position or a real concern for national security, is the big question. Also for other countries.
The government of the united States has clear who should press: "you are Going to Europe and are very careful to protect the private information of its citizens, their medical records, everything anyone would want in the public space, and at the same time they are prepared to allow all of this to circulate in infrastructure in china," said Pompeo. "I remember –and I know that is an imperfect analogy– none of us had installed soviet technology, didn't you?"Updated Date: 17 January 2020, 23:01