The controversial Chula Vista police security program that uses drones to surveil the city faces questions of whether it would make information about the city and residents available to the Chinese government.
Police have used drones since last year for security and tracking support, but new revelations indicate that the firm that makes the devices, Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), has investments from close to the Chinese government.
"Four bodies owned or managed by Beijing have invested in the popular brand of drones in recent years, including a manager seeking to associate private companies with the Chinese military," The Washington Post reported in an investigation.
What has now sparked concern is that the company that makes the drones earlier denied any links to the Chinese government.
When DJI was asked by U.S. law enforcement agencies if using its software would provide data to the Chinese government, the firm has denied ties to Beijing, and now it is known that there is.
The warnings are not new.
The Pentagon warned seven months ago that "the position of the Department of Defense (DOD) is that systems produced by DJI pose potential threats to national security."
The Department of Internal Security (HSD) warned four years ago that DJI had given the Chinese government critical information about infrastructure and law enforcement agencies.
The DJI company, however, is the one that has the most sophisticated and reliable models of drones for video, photography, and tracking on the market.
Chula Vista police have withheld comments about their drones, but their example is already playing out in Tijuana police, according to a Jan. 24 investigation by the Voice of San Diego.
Also in Tijuana, migrants fleeing the war between cartels in the state of Michoacán told Chula Vista Today that armed criminals are now using drones to drop fragmentation grenades on the population of Tierra Caliente in that state.