A city in New Jersey is using a Chinese company’s drones to police American citizens who may not be respecting social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus lockdown.
The drones will help police officers enact fines as high as $1,000 on people who are not keeping their distance amid the global pandemic.
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Past reports suggest the Chinese-made drones represent a substantial security threat to U.S. infrastructure and are feeding China data. The U.S. Army has banned their use.
But J. Christian Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is deploying these Chinese drones to warn citizens who are walking outdoors not to get too close in physical proximity to other people.
The drones blare sirens and issue this warning: “Stop gathering, disperse and go home.”
DailyCaller report: Bollwage is dismissing critics of his approach.
“If these drones save one life, it is clearly worth the activity and the information that the drones are sending,” the mayor said Friday in an MSNBC interview.
New Jersey is considered a coronavirus hotspot — more than 3,000 in the state have died from the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, before skipping across the globe and landing in the United States, where it has killed more than 30,000 people. The drones might not be benign.
Past reports suggest DJI [the Chinese company behind the drones] poses a substantial security threat to U.S. infrastructure.
A 2017 memo from the Los Angeles office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau said officials had “moderate confidence” that DJI’s commercial drones are giving critical U.S. “infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”
The memo cited first- and second-hand anonymous sources inside the drone industry. ICE has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the memo, which was initially reported in November 2017 by The New York Times.
The memo also stated that officials had “high confidence the company is selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data.” The U.S. Army banned the use of all DJI drones in 2017, citing “cyber vulnerabilities.”
DJI is dismissing ICE’s claims and said the company gives full control over the drones to the users.
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