Why You Should Fear Latest Effort To Ban DJI Drones – HR 2864

I know when you saw that title, you thought to yourself, “Oh great, here's yet another clickbait video on DJI being banned,” but you decided to check it out anyway just to see what I had to say. Because one of these times, it has to be real, right? So yes, I know there's been a lot of videos about DJI bans, especially lately, but I actually think this one is pretty concerning, and it's as close as we've ever been to having DJI drones banned in the .

The Latest Effort To Ban DJI – HR 2864

Actually, it's not the title and the thumbnail of this video; they kind of are clickbait, a little bit. This bill has very little chance of leading to an all-out ban on DJI products in the US.

The purpose of this video today is to give my perspective on this most recent bill but also to help you better understand why we continue to talk about a US ban of DJI drones.

A very concerning bill that specifically bans all DJI products in America recently made it through the committee. So, is this just more of the continued noise that we've heard for the past 5 years, or does this bill actually have some teeth, and how close are we to actually losing the right to fly whatever drone we want?

More hyperbole, actually. We're not that close, and even if it does happen, it's going to be a very long time before your ability to fly a DJI drone is affected at all.


Hi everyone, welcome back to the channel, and for those of you new here for the very first time, my name is Russ. It's so nice to have you. So, on February 15th of 2024, the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a consumer and technology subcommittee hearing about a variety of things related to securing the American communications network from foreign adversaries, namely , but they're talking about a lot of , but they're specifically pointing at China.

Now, in this hearing, they discussed five different bills aimed at expanding the 2020 Secure and Trusted Communications Act, or the STC Act, and there were a lot of great questions and a whole lot of discussion during these two and a half hours. I watched the entire thing, and Americans definitely have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to data security.

I actually don't know if we have that much to worry about. I know that one area of concern is the control of information. Like, information is the most valuable tool in the dominance of the global market. Whoever has the best information has the ability to sell the most stuff, and so whoever can sell the most stuff basically wins.

But there's one bill in particular that's been around since April of 2023, so just about a year now, and it's called House Bill 2864, and it is very concerning.

I wouldn't say very concerning, but this bill does have a little more traction than previous bills because there's starting to be a lot more support from a large group of legislators. What was once a small ember of a movement is now becoming kind of a smaller flame.

For those of you that smoke, I don't know if any of you watching are interested in smoking, not right now, but the best way to wrap your brisket is in butcher paper. So, I bring it up to 170°. I started this at 11:00 p.m. last night, bring it up to 170, okay, and then you wrap it in butcher paper, not tin foil. Tin foil makes it cook too fast, and also, the tin foil is going to make your bark soft. The butcher paper keeps your bark nice; it's just the only way to go. So, you didn't know you were coming here for smoking tips, did you?

So, this bill would amend the STC Act and would add DJI to the covered entity list. So, what does that mean? It means that this bill, if it's passed and signed into law, any products at all made by the company DJI would not be allowed to utilize any communication system in the United States.

The FCC could not approve any of their applications to be able to function in the United States. So, that means that any existing DJI drone owned would effectively just quit working, and no one would be allowed to purchase or use any future DJI product. If it has the letters DJI on it, it will effectively be bricked.

That's not true, actually. You won't wake up one day and try to fly your drone, and it just won't work. The FCC covered entity list is kind of a complicated thing. For example, remember a few years ago when they banned that Chinese phone company, Huawei? Well, you can actually still buy a Huawei phone on , and you can use it on the T-Mobile network. Like, it doesn't function the same because it can't use anything related to Google Apps, but the phone still does work. Now, would it be different with DJI? Probably, but your current drone, whichever you have, is not going to be instantly bricked.

This bill intends to ground DJI drones, but it would also apply to every other DJI product that has the ability to connect to the internet, as it's currently written. And then, another thing to note, this bill specifically targets only DJI. It makes no mention of any of the other several Chinese , like Autel, for instance.

Drones and smoke, it doesn't get any better, right? So, this is actually true; only DJI is mentioned in this bill. So, Congresswoman Stefanik, I think that's how you say her name, who introduced this bill last year, has mentioned Autel in other discussions with legislators, but they are not included in this bill. It's just DJI and DJI drones.

If our decision-makers are concerned about Chinese drone companies funneling sensitive security data directly to the Chinese government, why would you not include every single Chinese company in the verbiage of this bill? It's very strange. It's almost as if this bill is designed, maybe not for security reasons, but rather to level the playing field by eliminating the global leader in to force current users to choose less capable options.

So, I actually think it's both. Like, I think most of our lawmakers want to see America succeed. I would hope that all of them want to, but I know that most of them want to. They probably want themselves to succeed more so, but they do want America to win because it's better for everybody.

You know, when you hear the words “National Security,” most people only think about it in a military sense, but there's so much more, like Economic Security. We want to produce the best products ourselves and rely on ourselves. And if other countries keep making better stuff based on the information that they have collected from us, it's going to be more difficult for us to win.

Of course, the biggest concern in the drone community is, if this bill happens to actually reach the president's desk, that it will be completely devastating to anyone who owns or uses drones. It will end all hobby drone enthusiasts with a stroke of a pen.

They want to ban drones like this because of national security reasons. A greater fear is the sheer number of small businesses that would cease to exist if this bill were passed, and the sudden discontinuation of just about every single aerial program in the American first responder arena.

Can you imagine if all DJI drones were grounded? Even if they gave a two- or three-year phase-out, that still would not be enough time for any other brand to fill the gaps that this bill would create. The suggestion is absurd and completely unfeasible.

DJI Drones Save Lives

Now, this is a legitimate concern, and I think this is going to be the biggest reason that this bill is going to fail. DJI drones save lives almost every day, and we see more of it all of the time. If you take away their tools, our will be less equipped to do their job, and that just simply can't happen, in my opinion. And I'm going to share it, and I think a lot of you will agree with me, but this bill, HR 2864, is complete rubbish and has a 100% chance of failing the next step of the legislative process. The verbiage is way too broad, with no consideration of the financial impact of its intention.

Additionally, there is no mention of any of the other multitude of electronic products made in China that can access our networks. There are so many bigger things to be concerned about with our network than something like this. You know, during this discussion, they talked about 6G.

And the security of 6G, and China and other countries being able to access that, and so it's a race to 6G. Who's going to have the most secure 6G? And there were a lot of other discussions about different topics related to that. All of the other things that they talked about are legitimate; they are real issues.

And then there's this stupid little bill in there that absolutely nobody is going to pass. And if they do vote for it, they're just complete morons. They are completely ignorant of how drones work.

The only people who are going to vote for this are the people who are driven to fear by all this false information that's being shared by people who claim to say they know what they're talking about and they only want to pass this legislation for other reasons.

DJI Drones Scan Your Heartbeat…

Now, the biggest reason this bill found some traction at this hearing is because this guy right here, Craig Single from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who is probably the leading authority in our country right now when it comes to data security and China. This guy was very convincing to the committee when he spoke about the potential of UAVs made by DJI to

compromise sensitive data. He is obviously very knowledgeable and experienced in the world of security, and he's also a very skilled writer, and he conveys his message with impactful presentation, no matter how misleading it may be.

Why You Should Fear Latest Effort To Ban Dji Drones -

One example that he almost subliminally mentioned was the idea that DJI drones have the ability to monitor a human heartbeat. Of course, we all know that does not exist. Yes, a DJI drone could potentially carry a camera that has that ability, but so could any other aerial vehicle produced by any other country. And there have been some pretty positive studies on it, and it is possible.

The latest one was done in , and it showed promising results. And I say promising because that technology could be incredibly useful in so many scenarios for the good of humanity, not to be used to bring down a nation. Like, using a drone combined with thermography and then the ability to detect a heartbeat, like if you're looking for someone that's lost in the woods or something like that, it's technology that could literally save lives.

But the fact that he even mentioned it was obviously with the intent to instill fear into the committee. I mean, it sounds ominous, right? It triggers emotions, something as private as your heartbeat, and these drones can scan your heartbeat. Like, it's getting into the most personal part of your lives. It's just ridiculous. But by saying that, he made it more real. He tied it to human emotion and he tied it to something so personal, just with that one tiny little sentence. Again, there's no DJI drone in existence that can monitor your heart rate.

DJI Geofencing

Now, we also mentioned DJI Geofencing, which, as irritating as it may be, is incorporated into its drones to prevent people from flying in sensitive or restricted areas. Geofencing is a feature that was created to comply with American airspace, not as a kill switch, as the way he made it sound. His explanation of geofencing was very misleading to a group of people who know absolutely nothing about drones.

Now, even though I question his delivery, I also respect the amount of work that he's done to protect our country. I believe he really genuinely is doing everything he can to make sure that our decision-makers have access to the most relevant and updated information to keep Americans safe.

I do believe that there is a risk to our national security from countries like China. We absolutely need to mitigate that risk and take steps to ensure that our way of life continues.

Ulterior Motives Related to Global Competitiveness

Now, that being said, I still have a very difficult time believing that DJI drones are actually collecting information that would be useful to the Chinese military to take down our country.

You know, I think if they want to push this bill forward, they're really going to have to prove their claims of data collection. You can't tell me that they don't have the ability to do so. They need to demonstrate hard, obvious proof that whatever is being collected by your little Pro or your DJi Mini SE is jeopardizing the livelihood of our country.

You can literally fly these things in local mode. There is a 0.0% chance that anything that this drone does, flies, or captures can be compromised. So, I believe that there are ulterior motives here, and it's related to global competitiveness more than national security. The only way American drone companies are going to be motivated to innovate is by necessity.

No one has been doing it by choice. But when nothing else is available to do the tasks that we need to do, then someone's going to have to step up and design and produce the necessary tools that we need.

Look, I know this probably isn't the best way to make a video, like cutting in and out like this, but the point of me doing it like this was to show you that when you see a video like this saying, “Here comes another DJI ban,” like, examine everything for yourselves. Okay? Do your own research. Don't take to heart everything that you watch on YouTube or read, because there's a lot of information that you should try to gather yourself and make your own opinions.

My bottom line opinion is that there's going to come a day when we're probably not going to be able to fly DJI drones, but I think it's so far off into the future that by the time it happens, we'll have something else that's going to replace them. Like, it's just not reasonable to think that DJI is just going to drop off the face of America, not the Earth, but of America, and that we're going to lose the ability to use the best products in the world.

There has to be some give and take there. Like, it can't be all take. It's just not going to happen. It's not going to work. Like, when they took away Huawei, great, you have a hundred other phone companies that could take their place, but there's nothing to take the place of DJI right now. So that's why I think these bills are going to continue to fail.

I think if you asked anyone in the drone world, they would tell you that they would love, absolutely love, to see an American drone company that could compete with DJI. We've wanted that for a very long time, but at the same time, we still want to be able to save lives, do our jobs, and enjoy our hobby with the best products available right now. And right now, those are DJI drones.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Comment down below. Let me know. If you appreciate my videos and they bring you value, consider clicking on the super thanks button right beneath the video, right here. Subscribe to stay updated on this. Have a great day, everyone. And as always, fly safe and fly smart.

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Russ 51 Drones
Russ 51 Drones
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