One of the largest and most popular drone companies in the world, DJI, has been added to the US Department of Commerce's Entity List.

The US government has designated the Chinese company as a national security risk and that it is banning US-based companies from doing business with DJI.

DJI banned

Reuters reported the news and cited a conference call with a senior commerce official about the ban of DJI. The ban was put in place through the same way as the US government's ongoing ban on Chinese telecom company Huawei and its products.

The decision of the US government will make it difficult for US companies such as Amazon and Best Bu to sell DJI products.

Businesses will also find it difficult to provide parts or components for DJI drones. The ban is set to go into effect on December 19, as the list will be officially updated by then.

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According to DroneDJ, the Commerce Department cited a different reason as to why they decided to ban DJI and its products. Instead of security concerns, which is the reason behind the banning of Huawei, the department cited human rights concerns over DJI's involvement in giving drones to the Chinese government as the rationale for the ban.

DJI's connection to the Chinese government

DJI drones have been used to surveil Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China back in 2017, according to a report posted by Bloomberg Businessweek.

This move has since been controversial due to the concentration camps that were set up by the Chinese government as the authorities captured Uyghurs and is forcing them to follow Chinese culture such as speaking Mandarin, and to drop their religion.

However, the United States government has also cited other concerns over DJI in the past over security issues. The drones are largely made in China and it does contain parts that are also made in China. This has casted doubts in the department and has since created reports about possible surveillance.

The Department of the Interior has announced plans to ground its drone fleet as it reviews whether the drones have any major security concerns of Chinese cyberattacks or spying.

The Department of Justice banned purchasing foreign-made drones, which includes the products of DJI, back in October. The department cited security concerns as well. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense has certified several other drones from competitors such as Skydio and Parrot for governmental use after several years of review.

This is an important escalation in the Trump administration's efforts to block Chinese tech companies from operating in the United States.

President Donald Trump placed Huawei on the entity list by executive order in 2019 and cited national security concerns as the reason for the ban.

The UK and the rest of Europe have decline to follow the footsteps of the United States and continues to use Huawei parts in their networks. President Trump also took the same measures in his attempt to block TikTok and WeChat from being downloaded in US apps stores but the court decline and both apps are still available in the country.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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