Next week, the House of Representatives China Committee plans to introduce a bill that would ban the purchase of Chinese-made drones by the U.S. government. This bill is an effort to revamp the prior push for this ban that was derailed by lobbying efforts.

The American Security Drone Act, as it is coined, would not only ban U.S. government agencies from using Chinse-made drones, but would also bar local and state governments from purchasing Chinese drones with federal grants.

While the bill does not specifically address particular drone manufacturers, DJI, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial drones and a Chinese company, would be directly affected by this law. Right now, governmental agencies as well as numerous industries across the U.S. use DJI drones for their operations. Representative Mike Gallagher said, “The Chinese Communist party consistently weaponizes its near monopoly on the drone market against the good guys; restricting drone exports to Ukraine while Hamas uses them to perpetrate brutal terrorist attacks.” DJI has opposed laws like this in the past and also opposes this bill. DJI’s past efforts to oppose bans like this have been supported by U.S. police agencies that have argued there are no comparable cost-effective drones available from U.S. manufacturers.

Security expert on Chinese threats, Eric Sayer of Beacon Global Strategies said, “This bill would prohibit the federal government from using American taxpayer dollars to purchase this equipment from countries like China, supporting the PRC’s malign behavior and posing a serious national security threat to the U.S. and our allies. It is imperative that Congress pass this bipartisan bill to protect U.S. interests and our national security supply chain.” This bill is an example of lawmakers’ efforts to prevent Chinese technology from being used in ways that diminish U.S. national security. And, perhaps more importantly, to halt reliance on Chinese-made technology. As Sayers also said, “The lesson here is we must identify and prevent critical dependencies on the PRC before they emerge, burrow in our economy, and become politically and financially expensive to reverse.”

Photo of Kathryn Rattigan Kathryn Rattigan

Kathryn Rattigan is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Data Privacy and Security Team. She concentrates her practice on privacy and security compliance under both state and federal regulations and advising clients on website and mobile app privacy and…

Kathryn Rattigan is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Data Privacy and Security Team. She concentrates her practice on privacy and security compliance under both state and federal regulations and advising clients on website and mobile app privacy and security compliance. Kathryn helps clients review, revise and implement necessary policies and procedures under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). She also provides clients with the information needed to effectively and efficiently handle potential and confirmed data breaches while providing insight into federal regulations and requirements for notification and an assessment under state breach notification laws. Prior to joining the firm, Kathryn was an associate at Nixon Peabody. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Roger Williams University School of Law and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Stonehill College. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full rc.com bio here.