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Senators Growing Concerned Over Chinese Drones in DC

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American lawmakers have long been sounding the alarm over the threats posed by China’s unscrupulous international behavior, and the outpouring of technology from Beijing and beyond is compounding the issue immensely.

For starters, there’s TikTok, the China-based video sharing app that is not only harvesting immense amounts of data from users in the United States, but that is also believed to be weaponizing the output algorithms in a way that would detrimentally influence American children – the prime user-base of the program.

Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are growing concerned about an even more invasive piece of Chinese-made technology that may be directly spying on Washington DC.

Hundreds of Chinese-manufactured drones have been detected in restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., in recent months, a trend that national security agencies fear could become a new means for foreign espionage.

The recreational drones made by Chinese company DJI, which are designed with “geofencing” restrictions to keep them out of sensitive locations, are being manipulated by users with simple workarounds to fly over no-go zones around the nation’s capital.

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The issue is already being discussed at the highest levels of the US government.

Federal officials and drone industry experts have delivered classified briefings to the Senate Homeland Security, Commerce and Intelligence committees on the development, three people privy to the meetings said. A spokesperson for the Intelligence Committee — which has been kept closely apprised of the counterintelligence risks — declined to comment on the briefings. The other two committees did not respond.

And while officials weren’t suggesting that the Chinese government was directly operating the drones, that doesn’t mean that the data wasn’t being used nefariously.

“This is part of a trend of commercial drones for potentially nefarious reasons,” said Rachel Stohl, vice president of research programs at the Stimson Center think tank who closely tracks the global drone market. “We’re seeing in conflict zones, in other theaters, the reliance and use of commercial drones.”

“These may be just innocent data collection — or really just looking around, seeing what’s happening — and not in a systemized way,” she added. “But the potential, of course, is that eventually they could be more dangerous.”

China’s reputation for uncouth behavior on the world’s stage is growing ever uglier by the day, and concerns over their backdoor surveillance of our nation’s capital certainly won’t diminish the characterization.

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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.




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