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Technology Interior Department grounds drone fleet over security concerns

23:10  31 october  2019
23:10  31 october  2019 Source:   engadget.com

Israel attacks Gaza targets following drone raid

Israel attacks Gaza targets following drone raid The Israeli army has targeted Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip in response to a drone attack from the Palestinian enclave, the military said. Following a Saturday drone attack, Israeli fighter jets and a drone "struck a number of Hamas military targets, including offensive naval equipment and two military compounds," the army said. "The IDF will continue operating against all efforts to harm Israeli civilians and soldiers and holds Hamas responsible for all that transpires in the Gaza Strip and emanates from it," it said in a statement.

The US Department of the Interior has halted the use of its 800 drones , which help monitor endangered species, inspect federally protected land and fight Given those concerns , it seems odd that the fleet would just now be grounded solely on the fact that the drones were manufactured by DJI.

The US Interior Department , which oversees federal land and resource management, says its grounding its entire aerial drone fleet of more than 800 UAVs out of concern for Chinese spying and drone -aided cyberattacks.

The US Department of the Interior has halted the use of its 800 drones, which help monitor endangered species, inspect federally protected land and fight forest fires. According to The Wall Street Journal, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt called for the fleet to be grounded this week due to concerns that the drones enable the Chinese government to spy on users. The units will remain unused, save for any emergency situations, until potential security risks are fully reviewed.

a helicopter flying in the air

It isn't clear if any particular behavior or network activity from the drones set off alarms at the Department of the Interior or if they were grounded due to the fact that DJI hardware is made in China. The company's drones have been in the spotlight for years. As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Department of Homeland Security claimed in 2017 that DJI was "selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive US data." Given those concerns, it seems odd that the fleet would just now be grounded solely on the fact that the drones were manufactured by DJI.

Walgreens, Google affiliate to test drone deliveries

  Walgreens, Google affiliate to test drone deliveries Walgreens and a Google affiliate are testing drone deliveries that can put drugstore products on customer doorsteps minutes after being ordered. Snacks like Goldfish Crackers or gummi bears as well as aspirin for sick kids will be delivered starting next month in Christiansburg, Virginia, by a 10-pound drone flying as fast as 70 miles per hour, the companies said Thursday. Customers will be able to order from a list of more than 100 items that includes consumer goods and cough and cold remedies but not prescriptions.The drone will be run by Wing Aviation LLC, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc.

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More than 800 drones have been grounded by the US Department of the Interior (DoI) over concerns they could be used to aid Chinese spying. The call to stop using the autonomous craft was made by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who also ordered a review of the security risks they pose.

The market-leading manufacturer, meanwhile, claims that users can turn off the units' internet connections and that the Chinese government has never requested access to DJI's data. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, the company stated, "We have worked with the Department of [the] Interior to create a safe and secure drone solution that meets their rigorous requirements, which was developed over the course of 15 months with DOI officials, independent cybersecurity professionals, and experts at NASA."

While national security is obviously important, it seems like only a case-by-case review would fully confirm or disprove any concerns about Chinese spying. Yet, it wouldn't be feasible to check every drone, computer, smartphone, tablet and drive in use by the government, since nearly every piece of technology on the market uses parts made in China. That could take years. In other words, this debate will only escalate in the future. In the meantime, the FCC has proposed a measure it claims will protect the public from Chinese spying by banning some telecom companies of using Huawei and ZTE devices.

The Wall Street Journal

US drone lost over Libya, military says .
An unmanned drone that was flying over Libya was lost on Thursday, according to the U.S. military. "An unarmed U.S. Africa Command remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) was lost over Tripoli, Libya, Nov. 21," the Africa Command said in a statement on Friday. It noted that the incident was under investigation, but did not provide additional details. The Africa Command uses RPAs in Libya to monitor violent extremism and assess security there, according to the statement."These operations are critical to counter terror activity in Libya and are fully coordinated with appropriate government officials," it said.

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