You may already be aware of the ongoing attempts to restrict the use of DJI drones in the United States. Last year, we faced House Bill H6572, which has re-emerged this year as House Bill H2864. This legislation, proposed under the banner of the Countering CCP Drones Act by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), seeks to revise the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. Specifically, it targets certain equipment and services manufactured by DJI Technologies for inclusion in the list of scrutinized communication devices.
The possible ban of DJI drones sparked considerable concern among drone enthusiasts, leading to a number of articles and videos on the subject. The heightened interest has prompted some people to seek assistance in articulating their concerns to their elected officials. DroneXL has compiled the following text for anyone wishing to voice their opinion to their Congressional representatives, to ensure that this proposed legislation does not result in an outright ban of DJI drones in the United States.
However, it's important to clarify that the possibility of a DJI drone ban isn't as imminent as some might believe. This sentiment is echoed by Ryan Latourette, the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Great Lakes Drone Company LLC, who explains:
Take note that H.R. 6572, a bill introduced in February 2022, did not progress beyond committee consideration. The current version, H.R. 2864, followed the same trajectory when it was introduced in April, immediately dispatched to committee where it is likely to stagnate. The original H.R. 6572 was supported by three sponsors, all from the GOP's periphery. Interestingly, one of these sponsors opted not to endorse the new bill.
Hence, this proposal lacks bipartisan support, is promoted by a niche group, and faces a divided House and Senate. It's doubtful it will reach the House floor unless endorsed by McCarthy.
Even if it passed the House, Senate Majority Leader Schumer would likely ignore it due to the lack of enthusiasm for bolstering fringe GOP initiatives. Moreover, it would still face the hurdle of a Democratic president. This scenario underscores the partisanship pervading politics. The landscape would be drastically different with bipartisan sponsorship.
Should you prefer to err on the side of caution and wish to reach out to your representatives, you're welcome to use the following text as a basis for your message.
Response template to the DJI Ban
Subject: Urgent Concerns Regarding Proposal to Amend the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019
Dear [Congressman/Congresswoman] [Last Name],
I hope this message finds you well. As a member of your district, I'm writing to express significant concerns about the proposed amendment to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.
The amendment in question, presented under the Countering CCP Drones Act by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), aims to add certain equipment and services produced by DJI Technologies to the list of covered communications equipment.
While I understand the importance of safeguarding our communication networks, I believe the proposal has significant potential for unintended adverse impacts. I'd like to present the following critical arguments to underscore my concerns.
DJI drones benefit our society
DJI drones are renowned for their affordability, exceptional capabilities, wide availability, superior safety features, and user-friendly operation, making them a market leader in the industry and the obvious choice for many drone operators in various societal benefitting scenarios, including the following:
- Safety and Emergency Response: DJI drones play a critical role in disaster management, such as fire outbreaks or floods, where they provide real-time data, aiding in quicker response times and preventing further harm. They're also used in Search and Rescue missions due to their ability to reach inaccessible areas.
- Environmental Monitoring and Conservation: DJI drones are used in environmental monitoring, Wildlife conservation, and agricultural management. They can capture detailed images of a region's flora and fauna, monitor biodiversity, and even help detect illegal activities such as poaching.
- Infrastructure Inspection and Maintenance: DJI drones make the inspection of critical infrastructure like bridges, power lines, and wind turbines safer and more efficient. They can access difficult areas, reducing the risk to human inspectors.
- Delivery and Logistics: DJI drones can speed up deliveries and reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. This can be particularly beneficial for delivering critical items, such as medicines in remote or difficult-to-reach locations.
- Data Collection and Mapping: DJI drones provide accurate data for mapping and surveying purposes, benefiting sectors like construction, real estate, Archaeology, and forestry. They can create high-resolution 3D maps, track changes over time, and access remote locations.
- Journalism and Filmmaking: DJI drones have revolutionized the media industry, offering new perspectives for News reporting, filmmaking, and sports broadcasting. They provide unique aerial views and can capture scenes that would be otherwise challenging or risky to film.
- Jobs and Economy: The Drone Industry is predicted to create numerous jobs across various sectors, driving economic growth. According to the FAA, it could generate over $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create 100,000 new jobs by 2025.
Restricting DJI Technologies' contributions to our society could hinder technological progress and innovation, destabilize a vibrant economic sector, and cause severe disruptions to life-saving operations.
DJI drones pose no threat to national security
An extensive security audit, led by the acclaimed cybersecurity team at Booz Allen Hamilton, reaffirmed the absence of any data transmission from DJI drones to DJI, China, or any unexpected entities. Conducted under the auspices of PrecisionHawk's Unmanned Aerial Intelligence Technology Center of Excellence (UAS COE), the examination delved into three distinct DJI commercial drones. The conclusion of the audit, emphasizing the user's control over data collected via DJI drones, debunked claims of undisclosed data redirection from these devices. This audit stands as yet another independent confirmation of DJI products' security.
It's worth noting that DJI products have also undergone scrutiny by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. cybersecurity firm Kivu Consulting, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others, and emerged with their security intact. To date, no definitive evidence of a Data Security threat tied to DJI drones has surfaced, demonstrating their reliability in safeguarding user data.
In light of these concerns and considerations, I urge you to reconsider the proposed amendment. It is essential that we strike a balanced approach to national security without inhibiting technological innovation or economic growth.
I request that you reflect on my concerns during your deliberations over this amendment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue and observing your actions in upcoming discussions and votes.
Thank you for your dedication to serving our community and preserving our shared values.
[Your Contact Information]
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