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US Government Bans DJI Over Ties To Chinese Government

by : Hannah Smith on : 18 Dec 2020 18:19
US Government Bans DJI Over Ties To Chinese GovernmentPixabay/PA Images

DJI – probably the biggest name in consumer drones in the world – has been banned from doing business with American companies, with the US government citing the companies ties to the Chinese government.

The company has officially been added to the US Department of Commerce’s Entity List, labelling them a national security concern, and effectively banning the US-based companies from exporting technology to the Shenzhen based drone makers, Reuters reports.

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It’s not clear how this will impact the availability of DJI drones in the United States, but according to The Verge it may make it more difficult for suppliers to import DJI’s various products. This is likely to be an unpopular decision for many consumers, with DJI widely considered the most popular brand of drones for amateur flyers and content creators.

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The US government has previously expressed a number of security concerns with DJI’s drones, with several federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense already having either grounded their Chinese-made drone fleets or banned foreign-made drones entirely.

Interestingly, the decision today cites human rights issues, rather than security concerns. The Department of Commerce, which is responsible for the decision, made no specific allegations, but it has been reported in the past that DJI’s drones have been used to surveil Uighur Muslims facing persecution in China.

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With an increasingly wide number of Chinese-based tech companies being targeted by the ongoing trade war between the two countries, this latest move represents a pretty significant escalation in the Trump administration’s campaign. The DJI ban follows a similar move against Huawei, which was added to the Entity List by an executive order signed by Trump in May 2019. The administration is also campaigning to ban popular Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat from being downloaded through US app stores unless they are sold to an American company. However, deadlines for this action have been repeatedly delayed through court action.

It’s possible that President-elect Joe Biden will decide to reverse these policies once he takes office in January, possibly in an attempt to extend an olive branch to the Chinese government. The United States currently stands largely alone in its hardline approach to Chinese tech companies, with other Western nations, including the UK and most European countries, continuing to do business with Huawei and other groups.

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Topics: Technology, America, banned, drone, Tech, USA

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The Verge
  1. The Verge

    US government adds DJI to Commerce blacklist over ties to Chinese government