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Trump signs order to fast-track the removal of Chinese-made drones

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will fast-track Chinese drones being removed from US agencies. The order will require all US agencies using Chinese drones to prioritize removing them from service.

On Monday, the executive order signed by Trump means Chinese drones, mostly DJIs, will be removed from service and be assessed to check for possible security risks that the US government has been saying exist.

The order also includes drones produced in other countries that are considered to be an enemy of the United States.

For the most part, the news doesn’t come as much of a surprise as DJI, a Chinese-based drone manufacturer, was added to the US’s entity list, which means DJI isn’t able to access or transfer certain technologies from the US unless given permission. There were also 76 other names included on the list.

The reason behind DJI being added to the list was explored by my colleague Scott Simmie in-depth, but here is a quick summary of what looks to be the main reasons:

  • Facilitating the export of items by China that aid repressive regimes around the world
  • Human rights abuses in China through abusive genetic collection and analysis
  • High-technology surveillance (most likely drones)

Before the entity list, DJI has received many comments surrounding its drones and the data they supposedly transmit. Voices in and around the US have shared that DJI drones send data back to servers in China without providing any evidence.

From this point, the agencies in the US government began looking into the tech giant’s drones to see if there were any issues. This also resulted in DJI drones being banned from being purchased or used by federal agencies, which would have left many without drones.

There was a bit of light after months of batterings when the US Chamber of Commerce stated that a ban on Chinese drones, and therefore DJIs, wouldn’t be a smart idea. The reason behind the comment is that it would cost US companies a lot more in compliance, resulting in the broader supply chain being harmed.

Photo: History in HD



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.