U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) on Thursday introduced legislation to prohibit the use of federal funding to purchase drones manufactured in communist China or by Chinese state-owned companies. The bill, Securing Our Skies Against Chinese Technology Act 2020, would require U.S. private entities and state and local governments to certify they are not using Chinese drones in order to receive federal funds.

“At a time when federal agencies are banning or grounding Chinese drones base on cybersecurity concerns, China is now donating them to state and local law enforcement across the United States,” McSally said. “This is just another part of China’s ongoing effort to exploit the global pandemic and it is unacceptable. We should not risk giving China the chance to spy on Americans amid our efforts to combat the coronavirus. My legislation is a commonsense step toward exposing communist China’s real intentions and shoring up our national security.”

Bill text can be found HERE.

Background:

  • On May 13, 2020, members of the House Judiciary Committee announced an inquiry into the use of Chinese-made drones by local U.S. law enforcement agencies.
  • In April 2020, news reports showed that Chinese-based company Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) donated drones to dozens of local and state law enforcement agencies in the U.S.
  • In January 2020, the Department of the Interior grounded all of its Chinese-made drones.
  • In September 2019, members of the U.S. Senate introduced the American Security Drone Act, which would prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing drones from adversaries.
  • In June 2019, members of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan asking for more information on DHS’s warning about Chinese-made drones.
  • In May 2019, DHS warned U.S. companies about the data security risks posed by Chinese-made drones, including those made by DJI.
  • In 2017, the DHS’s investigation unit warned that DJI was "likely providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government." The U.S. Army ended the use of DJI equipment, and the U.S. Navy sent out a warning.

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