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U.S. nears law banning Chinese-made drones including DJI

U.S. nears law banning Chinese-made drones including DJI for government use

Today turns out to be quite the drone news day, and I don’t mean that in a good way, unfortunately. Earlier today a long-established aviation news publication reported that the United States is nearing legislation that would ban all Chinese-made drones, including DJI drones for government use.

U.S. nears law banning Chinese-made drones including DJI for government use

The United States is nearing legislation banning Chinese made drones, which would include any drones from Chinese dronemaker, DJI for government use.

AIN Online, whose mission is ‘to provide timely, accurate and balanced aviation and aerospace news, analysis and data around the world,’ just reported that an amendment to ban U.S. government use of Chinese drones appears almost certain to become law within weeks.

The amendment is contained within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and prohibits the purchase of commercial drones made by a ‘covered foreign entity’ including China, by any U.S. government agency.

The ban not only covers purchases of new drones but also flights with drones that are already in the fleets of government departments and agencies.

The ban also extends beyond complete drones and includes drone components such as drivetrains, cameras, and circuit boards. AIN Online also reports that orders for components already contracted for could be completed up to one year following enacted.

Chinese drone banning amendment likely to be signed into law soon

So far the amendment has survived both the House- and Senate-passed versions and it seems certain that it will be in the final legislation that will be presented to President Trump to be signed into law.

According to the author of the amendment, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), the measure was needed for national security.

“Drones manufactured by foreign adversaries should be nowhere near the federal government. This equipment from countries like China uses taxpayer dollars to support the Chinese Communist Party’s near-monopoly on this critical market, while also posing a serious national security threat. It is imperative that Congress pass this bipartisan bill to protect U.S. interests, our communities, and our national security supply-chain.”

The amendment was originally offered as stand-alone legislation last year, entitled ‘The American Security Drone Act.’ Once passed into law, the amendment prohibits the purchase of drones and components from countries deemed national security threats. The ban extends to the use of federal grants and contracts for the purchase of these items by state and local governments.

The ban on Chinese-made drones is mainly focussed on Chinese drone-maker DJI, which controls at least 70 percent of the U.S. drone market. DJI has repeatedly said their drones do not collect data from their users to be passed on to the Chinese Government.

DJI maintains that operators have full control over their data

Eventhough DJI pointed out repeatedly that operators of their drones maintain full control over their data the data security concerns keep coming up in the media. Most recently, French security researcher Synacktiv, a company that has worked with competitors of DJI, possibly even French dronemaker Parrot, claimed that several DJI apps on Google’s Android platform had potential vulnerabilities. DJI has called these claims false and misleading. The drone maker also said that ‘there is no evidence that any of the hypothetical vulnerabilities reported by Synacktiv have ever been exploited.’

We will follow the preparation of this amendment banning Chinese-made drones, including DJI drones closely, and will report any news here on DroneXl.co.

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4 comments

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  • Can this country get any more ass? Our president is an idiot and there worrying more about toys then our economy. The gov is Gonna get so much hate if they do this.

  • This legislation, if passed is going to have a major impact in many, many ways across North America. It will affect governments, agencies and small business who use these drones in every day work. Just read the drone news how the police and fire department use them and more and more emergency services around the world are learning about the advanced opportunities as a another added option of an emergency services rapid response tool. I have been researching DJI for close to 1 year and now I am waiting for the Mavic 3 ever since the leak and praying that this does not happen. I will be very saddened if this happens

  • As a UAV and Robotics professional for the last 20 years it’s funny to me that we’re so worried about drones when almost every single Innovation we are using right now that is electronic comes from China or areas in that vicinity. I guess the government needs to stop using their cell phones as well which have pretty the same data holding and transmitting abilities. The argument is made that these devices can be tracked hacked and monitored by Chinese hackers but pretty much the same can be said about her cell phone technology.

  • Sounds like drone manufacturers don’t want to compete against DJI by simply making a better product or by providing better customer service an area where any drone manufacturer today could easily smoke DJI. I am willing to bet that where politicians are concerned there’s a little bit of palms being greased from other drone manufacturers.
    Why do I have a feeling that certain European drone manufacturers will be excluded from this ban. This is about money not national security.

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