FCC Commissioner Goes Full QAnon on DJI

A recent FCC press release is one of the most bizarre I’ve seen from a public official when it comes to drones.

According to Federal Commission Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr, your DJI drone is collecting your heart rate and sending it back to China.

“DJI drones and the surveillance technology on board these systems are collecting vast amounts of sensitive data—everything from high-resolution images of critical infrastructure to facial recognition technology and remote sensors that can measure an individual’s body temperature and heart rate,” Commissioner Carr stated. “Security researchers have also found that DJI’s software applications collect large quantities of personal information from the operator’s smartphone that could be exploited by Beijing.” – Source

How in the world would a DJI drone controller not using a smartphone siphon data off the user’s smartphone? And measuring heart rate? I’m not sure what to even say about that.

Then there is the issue of how is the alleged data sent to China when the drone has no internet connection. Insert your conspiracy theory here.

Friends, this is crazy talk from Commissioner Carr.

I’m not sure what Carr’s end game is. Given his claims, DJI drones are assisting Communist China’s surveillance and espionage activities it would not be surprising for him to call for the grounding and destruction of all DJI drones.

But that is not what the press release says “Today, at an event focused on strengthening America’s national security, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for commencing the process of adding DJI, a Shenzhen-based drone company that accounts for more than 50 percent of the U.S. drone market, to the FCC’s Covered List.

Adding DJI to the Covered List would prohibit federal USF dollars from being used to purchase its equipment. The FCC also has a proceeding under way examining whether to continue approving equipment from entities on the Covered List for use in the U.S., regardless of whether federal dollars are involved. Huawei and four others are already on the Covered List based on a determination that they pose an unacceptable security risk.”

I have no idea who is specifically behind the press release sent out by the FCC but at least they could spell “Chinese” correctly.

“In 2017, an Intelligence Bulletin from a DHS field office stated that DJI is likely providing sensitive U.S. infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinse government.

In 2019, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert regarding Chinse-made drones like DJI, stating that “[t]he United States government has strong concerns about any technology product that takes American data into the territory of an authoritarian state that permits its intelligence services to have unfettered access to that data or otherwise abuses that access.”

Did the FCC press office bother to spellcheck the press release? I guess the answer is they did not and apparently the crazy check filter wasn’t used either.

So Who is Brendan Carr

According to the FCC bio “Commissioner Brendan Carr is the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, and he served previously as the agency’s General Counsel.” It goes on to say “Commissioner Carr brings nearly 20 years of private and public sector experience in communications and tech policy to his position.” And finishes with “Commissioner Carr was nominated to the FCC by President Trump and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.” – Source

What Does it Mean to be Added to the FCC Covered List?

According to the FCC, being entered on the Covered list “prohibits the use of public funds from the Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF) to purchase or obtain any equipment or services produced or provided by companies posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.” – Source

But it appears the FCC is trying to expand the limitation on DJI drones. “The FCC also has a proceeding under way examining whether to continue approving equipment from entities on the Covered List for use in the U.S., regardless of whether federal dollars are involved.”

Who knows where the effort is going to wind up?