US Considers Grounding DJI Drones Over National Security Concerns

The US government is reportedly considering banning DJI drones, a prominent Chinese manufacturer, over national security concerns. This move follows the enactment of a law prohibiting the sale of TikTok, another Chinese-owned app.

A bill introduced in the US House Energy and Commerce Committee last month could ground DJI’s drone fleet nationwide. If passed, the new law would add DJI drones to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) list of prohibited equipment. This list is based on the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 and aims to ban equipment or services that pose a “national security risk.” Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE are already on this list.

Republican Representative Elise Stefanik of New York first introduced the bill to counter Chinese drones in 2022. She told the New York Times that government agencies have found that DJI is providing China with information about US “critical infrastructure” and poses an “unacceptable national security risk.”

The US government has taken previous actions against DJI. In 2020, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted DJI, preventing the export of US technology companies to DJI. The US Treasury Department later added DJI to its list of Chinese military-industrial complexes. DJI is also on the US Department of Defense’s blacklist.

DJI has responded by stating that lawmakers supporting the new bill are “citing false and baseless claims about DJI’s operations and promoting xenophobic narratives.” The company maintains that it has not been involved in any activities that violate human rights but acknowledges that it has no control over how its products are used.

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