House approves DJI drone ban

Drone enthusiasts — and DJI fans in particular — will want to keep an eye on the Countering CCP Drones Act. The bill would ban the sale of DJI drones in the United States, and it was passed by the House of Representatives last Friday.

A ways to go

Introduced by Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) in April 2023, the Countering CCP Drones Act still has a ways to go before it becomes law. It successfully made it through the House of Representatives. However, the bill still needs to pass in the Senate before the President even has a chance to sign the bill.

So far, the Senate Armed Services Committee has already approved the bill. The next step is for the Senate to debate the bill, which could result in amendments. Any changes to the bill would send it back to the House. Once a final reconciled version passes in both the House and the Senate, only then can the bill move on to the Oval Office.

Still, passing through the House is a huge milestones in the legislative process.

Why ban DJI drones?

Gallagher and Stefanik say the DJI drone ban is necessary for national security. They argue that, because DJI is a Chinese-owned company, the drone maker must comply with demands from the Chinese government. That would include participating in espionage against the United States.

Like the TikTok ban, this bill emerges from an atmosphere of distrust between the U.S. and Chinese governments. “DJI drones pose the national security threat of TikTok, but with wings,” Stefanik has said. “The possibility that DJI drones could be equipped to send live imagery of military installations, critical infrastructure, and the personal lives of American citizens to China poses too great a threat.”

The end goal is to add DJI drones to the FCC’s list of banned communication equipment. This would prevent all future sales of DJI Drones and other products. The bill could also revoke FCC authorization for existing DJI drones, thus grounding products already in the field.

On the other hand

DJI has responded to the Countering CCP Drones Act, calling the bill “baseless” and “xenophobic.” Many drone pilots, from farmers to cinematographers, oppose the bill as well, including the Drone Advocacy Alliance.

There’s no denying the popularity of DJI products. DJI drones make up 70% of the world’s drone market share, and DJI drones are often regarded as industry-leading in both features and safety.

Wherever you stand on this issue, the Countering CCP Drones Act is certainly one to watch for professional drone pilots and drone enthusiasts alike.

Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse is a professional writer and a curious person who loves to unpack stories on anything from music, to movies, to gaming and beyond.

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