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DJI says people can still buy and use its drones in US after export ban

DJI says people can still buy and use its drones in US after export ban


The Commerce Department named the Chinese drone giant to its blacklist on Friday

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Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

DJI says people in the US will still be able to buy and use its drones and other products despite being named to the Commerce Department’s Entity List. The Chinese drone giant was named to the blacklist on Friday for “enabl[ing] wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance” — most likely a reference to how DJI provided drones and other technology to the Chinese government to be used in its Muslim detention camps in the Xinjiang province.

“DJI is disappointed in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision. Customers in America can continue to buy and use DJI products normally,” the company said in a statement to The Verge. “DJI remains committed to developing the industry’s most innovative products that define our company and benefit the world.”

The company declined to provide any more information about what it thinks will happen as a result of being named to the Entity List. Being on the list typically means US companies are banned from exporting technology to blacklisted companies. DJI not only sells products to consumers, but since it is far and away the market leader, its technology is used by all sorts of companies that need drones or handheld cameras.

This is not the first time that access to Chinese drones has been targeted by the US government, usually due to security concerns. The Department of Justice banned the buying of foreign-made drones with agency funds in October, and the Department of the Interior said it would ground its drone fleet while it looks into claims of spying and cyberattacks. DJI has pushed back against many of these actions, saying accusations of national security transgressions are unfounded.