US Army Banned DJI Products

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A leaked US Army memo obtained by unmanned aviation news site sUAS News is making some waves in the drone world today. In the memo, the largest branch of the United States armed forces called for its units to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on directions.”

The decision was reached by the US Navy and the US Army Research Lab, which identified ‘operational risks’ and ‘user vulnerabilities’ in DJI’s products.

The memo does not go into detail regarding the specific vulnerabilities, saying only that,

Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products, it is directed that the U.S. Army halt use of all DJI products. This guidance applies to all DJI UAS and any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.

DJI’s public relations manager Michael Perry responded to the news in an e-mail to sUAS News, saying the company was ‘surprised and disappointed’ that the Army didn’t consult DJI during the decision process. “We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues,” wrote Perry, saying that DJI would reach out to the US Army to confirm the memo and better understand what they mean by ‘cyber vulnerabilities.’

To read the full memo and response, or dive a bit deeper into some of the cyber security concerns surrounding DJI’s products, head over to sUAS News by clicking here.

News from USA: Arizona man arrested for flying camera drone over wildfire, impeding firefighters

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As drone is getting more and more popular with easy access and available anywhere, photographers or drone pilots must be more responsible in operating drones and not putting others in danger.

Still remember in March 2015, an instagram user name yengnasir posted up some of his “proud” photos of aeroplanes at KLIA Malaysia?

Late last month, Prescott, Arizona officials announced that a drone being operated in a no-fly zone had forced firefighters to ground 8 aircraft that were being used to combat the Goodwin Fire, hampering efforts to manage the wildfire while putting pilots and ground crew at risk. An investigation into the matter was triggered, and now officials say an arrest has been made.

A C-130 Hercules drops “fire retardant” from a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System near Tucson, Ariz., May 8 to finalize MAFFS certification by the U.S. Forestry Service. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard aircrews flew training missions from sun up to sundown in the annual event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Alex Koenig)

According to local news publication AZ Central, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office arrested 54-year-old Gene Alan Carpenter of Prescott Valley. Carpenter is charged with unlawful unmanned aircraft operation and endangerment, the latter of which is due to allegedly putting both air and fire crews, as well as 14 aircraft, at risk.

The arrest was based on, among other things, aerial photos of the Goodwin Fire that Carpenter had published on his website.

A drone was seized from Carpenter’s vehicle at the time of arrest, according to Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn, speaking to AZ Central. According to D’Evelyn, in addition to violating state law, Carpenter may face federal charges if it is determined that he violated federal legislation restricting drone usage during temporary flight restrictions.

Despite the risks and the arrest, a second drone operator has grounded firefighting efforts in the same region by operating a drone within the no-fly zone.