After TikTok, DJI drone ban could be next for US lawmakers

 DJI Mini 4 Pro.
DJI Mini 4 Pro.

This week, the world has been focused on the U.S. government's TikTok ban, with the bill moving through the House of Representatives, Senate, and ultimately President Joe Biden. Now, the government looks to have another Chinese company in its crosshairs as the FCC could ground all of DJI's drones if its Countering CCP Drones Act is passed.

The New York Times shared the act put forth by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that could ground all DJI drones across the United States. If passed, DJI drones would be added to the FCC's list of equipment covered by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.

A bill to amend the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 to provide for the addition of certain equipment and services produced or provided by DJI Technologies to the list of covered communications equipment or services published under such Act, and for other purposes.

With the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, any communication equipment or service deemed to "pose a national security risk" is prevented from running on US networks. The Countering CCP Drones Act would add DJI to that list, thus preventing any of the company's drones from operating within the country.

DJI wouldn't be the first company targeted by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, as both ZTE and Huawei are already on the list.

According to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who introduced the Countering CCP Drones Act in 2022, government agencies have found that DJI drones provide "critical infrastructure" information about the US to China. "DJI presents an unacceptable national security risk, and it is past time that drones made by Communist China are removed from America," she said to NYT.

DJI addressed the allegations against it in a March blog post. The company said, lawmakers "continue to reference inaccurate and unsubstantiated allegations regarding DJI's operations, and have amplified xenophobic narratives."

This is a different situation than the TikTok ban, as DJI has no offer to sell its company like there is with ByteDance, TikTok's parent company. Additionally, the Countering CCP Drones Act could have a more significant impact since Americans have spent large amounts of money buying DJI drones. Grounding them would make it so these expensive gadgets would become nothing more than paperweights, which would surely upset buyers.

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