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While the FAA is just ending “Drone Safety Awareness Week”, the US Interior Department has is concerned about another form of “awareness” in the form of potential spying by the Chinese manufacturers, and DJI in particular, as we learn from this article in the Wlll Street Journal quoted in UAV Expert News:

US Interior Department Grounds Chinese Drones Due To Risks of Chinese Spying

The US Interior Department, which is a federal executive department of the U.S. government that protects America’s great outdoors and powering our future, claims its grounding it’s entire aerial drone fleet. The fleet, containing over 800 UAV’s, are being grounded due to concern over Chinese spying and drone-aided cyberattacks.

According to The Verge, every drone in use by the Interior Department is either manufactured in China or uses some Chinese-made parts, the WSJ reports. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt made the order earlier today, and the drones will remain grounded until the department completes a review of the security risks they may pose.

“Secretary Bernhardt is reviewing the Department of the Interior’s drone program. Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded unless they are currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property,” reads a statement from Department of the Interior spokesperson Melissa Brown given to The Verge.

Many of the drones are currently used by the department to help with combating forest fires, monitoring dams and floods, inspecting land for property and environmental damage due to erosion, and monitoring endangered species. Some of the concern is centered on whether the drones could be used to transmit data, including photography and video, of sensitive US infrastructure that may be the subject of future cyberattacks, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile the FAA has a Committee To Accelerate Drone Integration …and most of the drones to be “integrated are manufactured in….