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Get The Facts: Countering CCP Drones Act

Recently a handful of Members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill known as the “Countering CCP Drones Act”. This legislation aims to block new DJI products from entering the U.S. market, and could also lead to the revocation of their existing FCC authorizations. If this passes, U.S. operators would no longer be able to access new DJI drones, and their existing drone fleets may even need to be grounded.  

This act damages not just DJI, but also the broad ecosystem of operators, businesses and public safety agencies that rely on their technologies to conduct safe and efficient operations. 

The lawmakers driving this legislation continue to reference inaccurate and unsubstantiated allegations regarding DJI’s operations, and have amplified xenophobic narratives in a quest to support local drone manufacturers and eliminate market competition.  

DJI is the market leader because our company created the commercial and consumer drone segment, with the release of the DJI Phantom in 2013. Since then, we have helped spur the emergence of today’s vibrant U.S. drone ecosystem, and have invested heavily in robust safety and security initiatives along the way. This is why operators continue to rely on our products today. 

Nevertheless, we support the development of U.S. drone manufacturing as we believe that competition and innovation go hand in hand, and benefit end users the most. If lawmakers are seriously concerned about data security, we have proposed that they develop a set of industry standards or guidelines that raises the bar on security overall. However, this should be informed by technological foundations and not by a manufacturer’s country-of-origin.

Get The Facts

Below we address inaccuracies lodged against DJI in the public domain:

Allegation: “DJI drones are collecting vast amounts of sensitive data – everything from high-resolution images of critical U.S. infrastructure to facial recognition technology and remote sensors that can measure an individual’s body temperature and heart rate.”

Fact: DJI drones do not collect flight logs, photos, or videos – by default. Operators have to opt-in to share this data with us, and those who want to take extra precautions can easily choose to activate Local Data Mode (and even switch on their mobile’s ‘airplane mode’) for added peace of mind. This means the flight app is completely disconnected from the internet and is similar to an air-gapped computer. 

To add, DJI has not advised the use of drones to measure body temperature nor heart rate. Several novel use cases of drones were explored by the industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to support public safety and emergency response operations. Measuring body temperature via drone was one such application, but we communicated that it was not advisable. As for drones measuring heart rates, this was an issue involving a different drone manufacturer; DJI was not involved in this test application. 

Allegation: “DJI can be compelled by governments to assist in espionage.”

Fact: DJI follows the rules and regulations in the markets it operates in. Like other global technology companies, there may be requirements for DJI to disclose certain information pursuant to local laws and regulations where we operate. For example, DJI may need to disclose information if required to do so in response to a local court order, judicial or other government subpoena, warrant or enforceable request.

Upon receipt of such an order, DJI's policy is to review the request to check if it meets legal requirements for disclosure. Part of that requirement is that the disclosure would only include data that has been shared with DJI within the national jurisdiction of the government agency requesting it. It is important to note that this only applies to data DJI does have access to - as we have said earlier: DJI does not collect flight logs, photos, or videos by default.

Allegation: “DJI is a ‘Chinese Military Company’.”

Fact: This is false. DJI is not a military company. We remain one of few drone companies to clearly denounce and actively discourage use of our drones in combat.  DJI does not manufacture military-grade equipment, nor does it pursue business opportunities for combat use or operations. In fact, our distributors, resellers, and other business partners have committed to following this policy when they sell and use our products. They understand that we will terminate our business relationship with them if they cannot adhere to this commitment.

Allegation: “DJI supports human rights abuses.”

Fact: This is also false. DJI has not engaged in any activities that violate or abuse human rights. Just like other manufacturers, we do not have control over how our products are used as they are available off-the-shelf. However, we have demonstrated – through years of investments in product safety and security initiatives – that our products are developed for peaceful and civilian use only.

What Happens Next? 

The Countering CCP Drones Act will negatively impact the industry and community of drone operators it claims to protect. This is the time for the drone community to make its voice heard among policymakers in order to help them make clear-eyed decisions based on facts and how drones are actually used in real world applications. Visit the Drone Advocacy Alliance to learn more.



Get The Facts is a content series where we raise, and address, allegations and misconceptions lodged against DJI in the public domain. We invite you to view other articles in the series by visiting ViewPoints, The Official DJI Blog.


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