Commerce Puts Drone Company DJI on Suspect Tech List

DJI store in Shenzhen
(Image credit: By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine - Own work, CC0,

The Commerce Department has identified drone maker DJI, the Shenzhen, China-based company whose drones are used in TV and movie production, among other things, as a company that is acting "contrary to the foreign policy or national security interests" of the U.S. and has added it to the Entity List.

That means it will limit the export, re-export and transfer of the technology, which includes gimbal cameras and camera stabilizers that have been used in a number of TV and movie productions, according to the DJI website, including Watchmen on HBO, Dead to Me and Mindhunter for Netflix, and Castle Rock on Hulu.

DJI is one of 34 Chinese companies added to Commerce's Entity List this week. That is the same list to which Huawei and ZTE were added for their ties to the Chinese government.

“Today’s decision by the Treasury Department to add DJI to its investment blacklist is welcome news," said FCC commissioner Brendan Carr, who called for a review of DJI back in October over security concerns. "Treasury’s determination that DJI is actively supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to surveil and repress religious minorities in China only adds urgency to my call for national security agencies to provide their views on adding DJI to the FCC’s Covered List.”

That is a list of suspect tech companies--including ZTE and Huawei--that can't get government subsidy money. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.