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Drone Maker DJI Next Likely Target of US China Hawks – NYT

Congress is assessing a new law, passed unanimously by the House energy and commerce committee in March, which could kill much of DJI’s business in the United States

A drone is seen in the sky as Chinese drone maker DJI holds a demonstration to display an app that tracks a drone's registration and owner in Montreal, Canada, November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo
A DJI drone is seen in a demonstration display linked to an app that tracks a drone in Montreal. Lawmakers in the US look set to ban use of the group's drones. Photo: Reuters.


Drones made by Chinese company DJI are popular with emergency responders in the United States, but lawmakers in Washington DC widely regard them as a national security threat, according to a report by the New York Times, which said DJI is already on a Defense Department list of Chinese military companies that prohibits the US armed forces from buying them, and it looks likely that other federal agencies won’t be able to purchase them either.

DJI has been penalized by the US Treasury and Commerce departments because its drones were used to spy on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province and now Congress is assessing a new law – the Countering CCP Drones Act, which was passed unanimously by the House energy and commerce committee in March, the report said, adding that the bill “could kill much of DJI’s commercial business in the United States” by putting it on a Federal Communications Commission roster blocking it from running on the country’s communications infrastructure.

Lawmakers say DJI drones are an unacceptable threat because they provide data on critical US infrastructure and the bill, expected to be put to a vote in coming months, has bipartisan support despite a major lobbying campaign by the firm to persuade lawmakers that the popular drones – used by photographers, and for agriculture and delivery services – and the DJI app have no backdoor risks – and are harmless.

Read the full report: The New York Times.



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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