(Pocket-lint) - The US Department of Commerce’s Entity List has added DJI, one of the world's most popular drone makers, officially blacklisting the Chinese company by declaring it a national security concern. The Entity List also bans any US-based company from exporting technology to DJI.
Here's everything you need to know.
What does this mean for DJI?
By being on the US Department of Commerce's Entity List, DJI will now find it difficult to source parts and components for its drones from US companies, which could significantly disrupt its supply chains. It could also complicate whether US stores can transact with DJI or even sell its products.
This is the same type of ban process the US levied against Huawei.
Why is this happening to DJI?
The US government has repeatedly cited several security concerns in the past regarding DJI drones, which are mostly made in China with Chinese-sourced parts. The Department of the Interior even announced it would stop using its drone fleet until it reviews potential security concerns, and the Department of Justice banned buying all foreign drones, includes DJI’s drones, using agency funds - again citing security concerns.
Keep in mind DJI has reportedly supplied drones to the Chinese government so that it can monitor detention camps throughout the Xinjiang province, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report from March. In fact, the US Department of Commerce, when adding DJI to the Entity List, claimed the drone maker enables "wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance".
Is there any proof of foul play?
Neither the US government nor any US agencies have provided evidence to support their claims of security concerns, but it's worth noting President Trump has continually attempted to block Chinese tech companies from operating in the US. He placed Huawei on the Entity List via executive order in 2019, and he tried to block TikTok and WeChat from US app stores, but because of court challenges, both apps are still available in the US.
What will happen when Trump leaves?
President-elect Joe Biden may choose to continue Trump's policies after taking office in January 2021. It's currently unclear if he will, but we'll keep you posted.