In breaking Australian drone news, “the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority is installing drone detection technology at Sydney Harbour and Australian airports, hiring a company the United States has previously warned could contribute to cyber-attacks”. This is according the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), a leading Australian news publication.

DJI Aerospace is the company that has been selected by CASA.

Concerns were raised by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in August 2017 that drone-harvested data about “US critical infrastructure and law enforcement” could be sent back to Beijing. DJI has strongly denied these prior allegations from ICE.  

According to the SMH, Peter Gibson, a spokesperson for CASA, said “he had no concerns about Australia’s choice of technology partner” and that “relevant security issues were taken into account when selecting the contractor”.

DJI downplays concerns over drone detection technology

A spokesperson for DJI has said that “Aeroscope cannot spy on Australian airport systems, or any other airport systems, or anything else. Aeroscope receives radio signals from DJI drones and uses that information to display their location on a map.”

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Photo by Leio McClaren

Liberal MP, Andrew Hastie, has weighed into the debate stating, “I do not support authoritarian foreign governments being involved in Australia’s domestic and national security architecture.” Mr Hastie is the chair of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

This latest story comes in the wake of the Gatwick Airport drone saga and the latest drone incident at Heathrow.

It is an offence under Australia’s drone rules to fly within 5.5km of a controlled aerodrome such as Sydney International Airport. Drone flights over Sydney Harbour are also prohibited.

Breaching Australia’s drone rules can lead to significant fines and penalties, including jail time.

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Feature photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel.