U.S. Lawmakers Consider Banning DJI Drones Amid National Security Concerns

In a move that could ground the fleet of DJI drones across the country, U.S. lawmakers are weighing an FCC ban on the -based drone manufacturer. This potential ban comes on the heels of recent actions taken against TikTok, as the federal government continues to scrutinize Chinese-made products over national security concerns.

The Countering CCP Drones Act

Last month, the House of Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the Countering CCP Drones Act, which aims to add DJI drones to the FCC's list of equipment covered by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. If passed, this legislation would bar DJI drones from running on U.S. networks and prevent companies from using federal funding to purchase the banned equipment.

The Rise of U.S. Drones Amid Anti-China Sentiment. Photo courtesy of Weber county Search and Rescue.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who first introduced the act in 2022, states that government agencies have found DJI provides information about “critical infrastructure” in the U.S. to China.

“DJI presents an unacceptable national security risk, and it is past time that drones made by Communist China are removed from America,” Stefanik told The New York Times. “Any attempt to claim otherwise is a direct result of DJI's lobbying efforts.”

It is important to note that neither Stefanik, nor any of the agencies have provided clear evidence that DJI in fact sends sensitive information to China.

Previous Actions Against DJI

The U.S. government has already taken several actions against DJI in recent years:

  • In 2020, the U.S. put DJI on its Entity List, preventing U.S.-based companies from exporting technology to the drone maker.
  • The U.S. Treasury later added DJI to its Chinese Military-Industrial Complex list over reports its drones are used to surveil China's Muslim Uyghur minority.
  • In 2022, the put DJI on a blacklist of its own.

DJI's Response

In a blog post published in March, DJI refuted the allegations, stating that lawmakers “continue to reference inaccurate and unsubstantiated allegations regarding DJI's operations, and have amplified xenophobic narratives.”

The company also asserted that it hasn't “engaged in activities that violate or abuse human rights” but acknowledged that it doesn't have “control over how our products are used.”

The Potential Impact on First Responders

Banning DJI drones outright could have unintended consequences, particularly for who rely on these devices to save lives and ensure the safety of their personnel. DJI drones are widely used by emergency services due to their affordability, capability, and availability. Currently, no American-made drones come close to matching DJI's offerings in these aspects.

As lawmakers consider the Countering CCP Drones Act, it is crucial to weigh the potential national security risks against the valuable role these drones play in supporting first responders and emergency services. The House could vote to move forward with the act in the next month or so, according to The Times, potentially reshaping the landscape of drone usage in the .

Photos courtesy of Weber County in .

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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  1. The fact that no American drones come close is a lie. Skydio’s X10 does come close, if not more. It is more expensive but has parity in regards to drone specs

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