According to the latest news, the US Department of Commerce’s Entity List has declared DJI, one of the world’s most popular drone makers as a national security concern. It should be noted that DJI is a Chinese company. The Entity List has banned any US based company from exporting technology to DJI.
Let us dig deeper to understand the current scenario for DJI. For being on the US Department of Commerce’s Entity List, DJI will find it difficult to source parts and components of its drones from US companies. In short, this will significantly disrupt its supply chains. It will be a matter to see if US stores are granted the right to continue transactions with DJI or sell its products in the near future. More or less, the type of ban is identical to what the US levied against Huawei.
In the recent past, the US government has repeatedly cited several security concerns regarding DJI drones. DJI drones are mostly made in China with Chinese sourced components. Different ministerial departments of the US have started taking strong and harsh back to back actions.
The Department of the Interior announced it would stop using its drone fleet until it reviews potential security concerns while the Department of Justice banned buying all foreign drones, includes DJI’s drones, using agency funds citing security concerns.
As per a Bloomberg Businessweek report from March, DJI has reportedly supplied drones to the Chinese government so that it can monitor detention camps throughout the Xinjiang province. This report reiterated the current tension. While adding DJI to the Entity List, the US Department of Commerce in fact claimed that the drone maker enables “wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance”.
As of now neither the US government nor any US agencies have provided any concrete evidence to support their claims regarding the security concerns. President Trump has continually attempted to block Chinese tech companies from operating in the US during his reign and it seems the trend will be continued even in the newly elected president, Joe Biden’s reign.