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Purchasing teams urged to stop buying drones due to ‘security threat’

DJI drone
DJI drone

Procurement specialists were asked to temporarily suspend purchasing unmanned aircraft made in China.

Authorities recently urged public servants to stop buying drones sourced from DJI for national security reasons. At least 3114 units have already been ordered by different Australian government departments and agencies.

The United States has already blacklisted the Shenzhen-headquartered supplier since October 2022 due to its links to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and alleged involvement in the ongoing persecution of Uighur Aboriginals, Falun Gong adherents, Tibetans and underground Christians.

“The Albanese Government should urgently order a government-wide grounding of all DJI drone fleets as the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force have already done,” Parliamentary Select Committee on Social Media Foreign Interference chair Senator James Paterson said in a public statement.

“Going forward the government needs to move beyond its whack-a-mole approach where it is reliant on an opposition senator to sound the alarm on cyber security risks towards a more systemic, robust and proactive model.”

Paterson previously launched a government-wide audit through senate questions on notice into Chinese communist-linked TikTok apps as well as Hikvision and Dahua CCTV cameras.

“I [also] called on the Albanese government to establish a new office within the Department of Home Affairs to assess security threats from high-risk technology originating from authoritarian countries,” he said.

“This office should map and remove problematic technology already embedded in government systems, while also assessing emerging technologies before they are deployed to ensure appropriate mitigations are in place … [and we should] act now before it is too late to mitigate the risk of products being weaponised to conduct cyber disruptions, surveillance and large-scale foreign interference.”

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