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Are they really going to ban DJI?

The future of DJI (Da Jiang Innovations) drones in the U.S. is uncertain as the Countering CCP Drones Act, introduced by Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), gains traction in Congress, potentially leading to a nationwide ban.

Supporters of the bill cite national security concerns, alleging that DJI drones could be providing critical infrastructure data to the Chinese Communist Party. If enacted, the bill could significantly impact the U.S. drone industry and consumers who use DJI drones for recreation, commercial purposes, and public safety, including search and rescue missions.

DJI drone ban usa
DJI ban in the USA imminent

DJI is actively lobbying against the ban.

In summary:

The U.S. government is considering a ban on DJI drones due to fears of Chinese espionage. This ban could affect both consumer and commercial drone markets. The legislative push to ban DJI drones

After unanimous approval by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the bill is advancing through Congress and could eventually reach President Joe Biden. The legislation proposes adding DJI to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) list under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, which would prevent DJI drones from using U.S. communications infrastructure, effectively rendering them inoperative. Despite broad bipartisan support, DJI strongly opposes the bill.

DJI’s response

In a blog post titled "Get the Facts," DJI refuted the allegations, calling them "inaccurate and unsubstantiated." The company claims these measures hinder competition and innovation while fostering xenophobia. DJI assures users they can disable data collection features and activate Local Data Mode to disconnect the flight app from the internet.

DJI emphasizes that it complies with regulations in all markets and does not manufacture military-grade equipment or support combat use of its drones.

DJI’s market dominance

DJI has dominated the global consumer drone market, holding an estimated 58% share as of 2022, thanks to its blend of affordability, accessibility, and advanced features. DJI drones have become popular for capturing aerial photography and videography, favored by travelers, event organizers, and real estate agents.

In commercial sectors, DJI drones are crucial in construction, energy, and agriculture for tasks such as building inspections, infrastructure assessments, and crop monitoring. They are also used for creating detailed maps and surveys, aiding urban planning and environmental monitoring. Additionally, search and rescue teams rely on DJI drones for covering large areas and navigating difficult terrain.

Security concerns

Despite their popularity, DJI drones are viewed as a security threat. Geopolitical analyst Irina Tsukerman notes that Chinese technology, including DJI drones, could be used for espionage, collecting data to aid China's technological and military ambitions and potentially targeting U.S. citizens and industries.

Previous actions against DJI

The U.S. government has scrutinised DJI in recent years. In 2020, the Department of Commerce added DJI to its Entity List, restricting U.S. companies from exporting technology to DJI. In 2021, the Department of Treasury raised concerns about DJI drones being used to surveil China’s Uyghur Muslim minority. In 2022, the Department of Defense blacklisted DJI, limiting its business with the U.S. government.

Drones rely heavily on communication infrastructure for functions like GPS navigation and real-time video transmission. Blocking DJI drones from this infrastructure would make them largely inoperative.

Efforts to avoid the ban

DJI is investing in lobbying and grassroots support, financing the Drone Advocacy Alliance to collaborate with industry players and lawmakers and empower users to choose their drones. The Alliance also provides resources for contacting elected officials to advocate for these goals.

Pros and cons of a DJI drone ban

Tsukerman argues that banning Chinese-made drones alone is insufficient, as it could hurt the U.S. tech industry. DJI’s market dominance means a ban could stifle innovation and raise costs for consumers by reducing competition. Conversely, a ban could encourage investment in developing advanced alternatives, fostering a more competitive industry.

Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI) believes a DJI drone ban would strengthen the U.S. drone industry.

TechShack Advice

We advise strongly that if you bought a very expensive drone, seek to diversify - Our experts recommend the V168 Drone Which we have tried and tested for it's quality against the price and we have found it to be a winner for a non DJI drone. Purchase here today!

If you have already spent a lot of money on a DJI drone, you may wish to see if you can get a refund, try to sell - Or take a risk and wait to see if the bill is even passed. Based on the fact that the US is confident that DJI drones are feeding information to China, our guess would be that the bill will be passed. However, anything can happen. If you will be looking for an alternative, the V168 8K Professional Drone is our go to recommendation.

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