The U.S. Department of Interior has announced that it would ground its fleet of DJI drones. The decision, which is the result of congressional pressure, is the latest move in the argument over banning government use of technology based solely upon “country of origin”: a direct blow to Chinese manufacturers.
The proposed ban on Chinese-manufactured drones stems from legislation currently under discussion in Congress. As the U.S. trade war with China heats up, legislation has appeared proposing that no drones manufactured in countries deemed “non-cooperative” may be purchased by the U.S. government, citing data security concerns.
The two pieces of legislation proposed are the American Drone Security Act in the Senate, and the Drone Origin Security Enhancement Act in the House. The Senate version would limit all government agencies from purchasing Chinese drone technology, the House version refers only to the Department of Homeland Security.
Chinese-founded DJI, the largest global drone manufacturer, denies strenuously that data gathered by DJI drones is at risk: and has struggled to respond to security concerns which do not refer to any technical standards or specific technology gaps. The legislation represents a move by the U.S. government that the U.S. press largely refers to as “getting the Huwei treatment,” a reference to the blacklisted Chinese telecom company.
In a statement concerning the American Drone Security Act, DJI officials said “banning or restricting the use of drone technology based on where it is made is fear-driven policy not grounded in facts or reality.”
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