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A.P.: What you need to know about the DJI drone ban in the U.S.

'Congress can't ground a drone.'

You don't know that. Why do you keep posting that?

If what he means is there is no technical way DJI can prevent existing units from flying right now, he's right.

I just turned my Mini 4 Pro and RC2 on, and ensured the RC did not connect to the network. I flew normally. There was no connection to or use of US communications infrastructure. No contact with DJI servers. No communication with any servers.

I will be able to continue to do this regardless of what law the US Congress passes, and what DJI may do in response.

The only thing that can interfere with this is the autologout in DJI Fly, which would require me to connect to DJI servers to log in again.

I have no information on this, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if DJI rolls the Fly app if this bill passes to get rid of the autologout.
 
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Radio spectrum frequencies aren't infrastructure and trying to prohibit access to radio frequencies would be like prohibiting the tide from coming in.

It's like passing a law that no one is allowed to breath air. Try enforcing it.
 
If they needed to, could DJI make the entire US a restricted zone?
Why would they bother to do that if they have been summarily kicked out of the US market? There would be zero incentive for them to continue to cooperate with the US government.
 
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exactly

this notion that some have been pushing that DJI or the government couldn't ground DJI drones and keep them from accessing FCC controlled frequencies doesn't withstand scrutiny.

Rather strong, technically ignorant assertion.

The hacking community has been successfully defeating all sorts of restrictions DJI has been coding in to both the software operating on the drone, and the apps running back on the phone forever. I've participated in some of this hacking (GO4), and have some direct familiarity with how it works.

The above hysteria assumes first that DJI will invest engineering in assisting the US with its ban. I think that extremely unlikely. Rather, they will likely just ignore the whole thing entirely. They're not going to help at all. The US has no legal jurisdiction over what DJI engineers in China; by banning sales, the US eliminates any leverage;, and only the insane believe the Chinese government will help.

All the US government can do is control internet access to DJI servers from US controlled networks. This is why the bill is about US "communication infrastructure".

Getting around that with proxies, VPNs, and other means is a cake walk. How hard would it be to simply use a VPN outside the US to log in? Trivial.

I oversimplify, but the point is easily understood. Plugging the massive "leaks" in this fools errand requires the cooperation of DJI, and I'm claiming that ain't going to happen.

You will be able to continue to fly your DJI drones without restriction if you want to. You will be breaking the law, and you may have to take some extra steps to do it, but they will be easy.
 
Why would they bother to do that if they have been summarily kicked out of the US market? There would be zero incentive for them to continue to cooperate with the US government.
It seems unlikely DJI would walk away from the American market without a fight. DJI will likely file suit against any FCC implementation of a Congressional ban, the same as TikTok and TikTok users have sued the federal government. While the chances of ultimately prevailing against Congress are slim, the company may believe that the chances for a stay pending the litigation are better. In any event, DJI isn’t going to tell the court it blew off Congress and the FCC. The company will comply.
 
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I'm confused. It happens, eh.

If the official justification for backing this rush to ban DJI drones is that they somehow present a threat to US National Security, why would they ban only future drones and not the ones currently fuelling this paranoia?

If they're not banning current drones, doesn't that imply that existing drones are not considered a threat?
 
Getting around that with proxies, VPNs, and other means is a cake walk. How hard would it be to simply use a VPN outside the US to log in? Trivial.

Funny story...

When the FAA originally imposed their requirement that every drone greater than 250g needed to be registered, including those of any visiting foreign tourists, I tried to register my Phantom so I'd be legal when vacationing in Florida.

Well, good luck with that.

First off, the FAA's drone registration webpage was blocked and inaccessible from anywhere other than within the USA. So, as a foreign tourist, I wouldn't be able to pre-register my drone but would have to wait until after landing inside the US.

Easy, peasy. I fired up my VPN software to make it look like I was connecting from within the USA. Success! I'm in. Trivial.

So, I start filling in the various pages of required information, until...

... the required registration form won't accept any home address outside the USA! As a visiting foreign tourist, how am I supposed to have a home address inside the USA? Even if I had waited until after landing in the US, I still wouldn't have been able to complete their stupid drone registration process.

So I sent them an email asking how they can make it a requirement for foreign visitors to register their drones, when it's impossible for foreigners to fill out the registration form?

Their reply was that I would need to find a US citizen, using their own US home address, to fill out the registration on my behalf, swearing that they give me permission to fly their registered drone which I actually owned while I was visiting the US. Huh?

I know that was all eventually rectified, but I'm long past ever again wanting to bring any drones along when visiting the USA. The wacky regulations, Chinese communist paranoia, and endless overly complicated hoops to jump through, just aren't worth the effort.
 
I'm confused. It happens, eh.

If the official justification for backing this rush to ban DJI drones is that they somehow present a threat to US National Security, why would they ban only future drones and not the ones currently fuelling this paranoia?

If they're not banning current drones, doesn't that imply that existing drones are not considered a threat?
The language of the current amendments does not grandfather in existing drones. It doesn't say that the FCC has to revoke the existing licenses for DJI hardware.

It's not worth trying to apply logical reasoning to this bill. It's a political stunt in an election year.
 
You will be able to continue to fly your DJI drones without restriction if you want to. You will be breaking the law, and you may have to take some extra steps to do it, but they will be easy.

Suggesting that it will be illegal to operate DJI drones is just conjecture. And, there's no indication that the legislation will ground DJI drones currently in the United States.
 
Suggesting that it will be illegal to operate DJI drones is just conjecture. And, there's no indication that the legislation will ground DJI drones currently in the United States.

To be clear: I'm not making any such claim.

Others are. I'm addressing specifically the idea that the US Govt or DJI can do something technically to make your drone not fly. Should they outlaw flying them.

They can't, given the way they are designed and work.
 
There seem to be 3 schools of thought on a potential ban... Those who expect no ban of DJI to pass, those who anticipate passage, and those not sure. So I thought it might help to read what the NYT article said, as follows.
"If passed and signed into law, the legislation would effectively ban any new models of DJI drones from that point on. It would not apply to drones already in use. The F.C.C. has twice considered a rule change that would lead to the revocation of authorizations for drones currently in use, according to federal filings and a government staff member, but it is not clear what likelihood there is of such a change being enacted."

We do know a bill passed a house committee unanimously so passage in some form seems likely.

What we're waiting to see is if existing DJI drones will be permitted to use the FCC infrastructure, i.e. wi-fi.

It is somewhat encouraging that in April the NYT wrote, "It would not apply to drones already in use," however that could change, so all we can do is hope for the best, it seems.
 
There seem to be 3 schools of thought on a potential ban... Those who expect no ban of DJI to pass, those who anticipate passage, and those not sure. So I thought it might help to read what the NYT article said, as follows.
"If passed and signed into law, the legislation would effectively ban any new models of DJI drones from that point on. It would not apply to drones already in use. The F.C.C. has twice considered a rule change that would lead to the revocation of authorizations for drones currently in use, according to federal filings and a government staff member, but it is not clear what likelihood there is of such a change being enacted."

We do know a bill passed a house committee unanimously so passage in some form seems likely.

What we're waiting to see is if existing DJI drones will be permitted to use the FCC infrastructure, i.e. wi-fi.

It is somewhat encouraging that in April the NYT wrote, "It would not apply to drones already in use," however that could change, so all we can do is hope for the best, it seems.

It doesn't look like there is anything in the language that the FCC used for the Prohibition on Authorization of “Covered” Equipment page that would indicate existing equipment would have their licenses revoked. Since that would become an enforcement nightmare, I don't think the FCC would do that unless directed by law.
 
It doesn't look like there is anything in the language that the FCC used for the Prohibition on Authorization of “Covered” Equipment page that would indicate existing equipment would have their licenses revoked. Since that would become an enforcement nightmare, I don't think the FCC would do that unless directed by law.
I believe the opposite. I believe a government agency like the FCC *will* do whatever it believes is intended by the law or works best within the spirit of the law. No government agency has *ever* stuck to exactly what the law says, frankly that's not their job. Their job is to understand what Congress has intended and then make it work. If the law wants DJI drone out of America but doesn't say how exactly, the FCC and the FAA will work together to figure it out. It's up to the victims to decide how they want to respond or react because Congress absolutely will not go back to work just to tell you how to do your job. They expect you to get it down and the drone community would be naive if they think they don't see specific wording in a bill so they feel "well, it could have been worse."

I mean, c'mon, can we at least learn for the past and not make the same mistakes? The law doesn't have to authorize the cleansing of drones already on the market for that to happen one day. So yes, the law doesn't say it. But that doesn't mean it can't happen without going back to Congress. Are we going to get caught off guard again? I promise you if it doesn't happen today, it will happen tomorrow. FAA could have easily grandfathered old drones for RID and they didn't bother to do something that simple knowing quite a few older drones would die off long before RID was really actually needed. They have saddle old useless drones with RID modules...for no good reason. You think they going to let a few million DJI drones continue to fly forever?

We going to let the bill go into law thinking we are *safe* because we can keep what we already have and a few years later after we are told to *stand down* we'll be hit with a "oops, change in plan" that has to be done because [insert your favorite national security reason here] and we won't have a leg to stand on because it will be clear to anyone after a few years later that it makes zero sense to ban new drones to stop spying and let the old ones continue to spy. We have to deal with bad actors and false flags and everything else that will reinforce the need for a *real* ban because "this isn't working."

The lack of grandfather wording is left out to disarm the community and to slow us down because we would for sure react poorly to any confiscation clauses or any suggestion about "grounding." Don't talk about it and we have less a reason to go to court and push for injunctions or due process. Judicial action against Congress is harder and have more visibility. Their strategy is to allow the agencies to do the dirty work because agencies can claim discretion and judicial action against them has proven to be less volatile in today's climate, i.e. "Congress told us to do this."

One way or another, our advocates have a new job going forward and for years to come, they have new focus and new purpose because of all this. Long gone are the days of only shaping rules and regulations and collaborating on procedures and processes. Welcome to my world, the activism side.
 
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I believe the opposite. I believe a government agency like the FCC *will* do whatever it believes is intended by the law or works best within the spirit of the law....
What actual action taken by the FCC are you basing those assumptions on? When Huawei and the others were added to the Covered List, the FCC did not revoke the approval for existing equipment.
 
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I believe the opposite. I believe a government agency like the FCC *will* do whatever it believes is intended by the law or works best within the spirit of the law. No government agency has *ever* stuck to exactly what the law says, frankly that's not their job. Their job is to understand what Congress has intended and then make it work. If the law wants DJI drone out of America but doesn't say how exactly, the FCC and the FAA will work together to figure it out. It's up to the victims to decide how they want to respond or react because Congress absolutely will not go back to work just to tell you how to do your job. They expect you to get it down and the drone community would be naive if they think they don't see specific wording in a bill so they feel "well, it could have been worse."

I mean, c'mon, can we at least learn for the past and not make the same mistakes? The law doesn't have to authorize the cleansing of drones already on the market for that to happen one day. So yes, the law doesn't say it. But that doesn't mean it can't happen without going back to Congress. Are we going to get caught off guard again? I promise you if it doesn't happen today, it will happen tomorrow. FAA could have easily grandfathered old drones for RID and they didn't bother to do something that simple knowing quite a few older drones would die off long before RID was really actually needed. They have saddle old useless drones with RID modules...for no good reason. You think they going to let a few million DJI drones continue to fly forever?

We going to let the bill go into law thinking we are *safe* because we can keep what we already have and a few years later after we are told to *stand down* we'll be hit with a "oops, change in plan" that has to be done because [insert your favorite national security reason here] and we won't have a leg to stand on because it will be clear to anyone after a few years later that it makes zero sense to ban new drones to stop spying and let the old ones continue to spy. We have to deal with bad actors and false flags and everything else that will reinforce the need for a *real* ban because "this isn't working."

The lack of grandfather wording is left out to disarm the community and to slow us down because we would for sure react poorly to any confiscation clauses or any suggestion about "grounding." Don't talk about it and we have less a reason to go to court and push for injunctions or due process. Judicial action against Congress is harder and have more visibility. Their strategy is to allow the agencies to do the dirty work because agencies can claim discretion and judicial action against them has proven to be less volatile in today's climate, i.e. "Congress told us to do this."

One way or another, our advocates have a new job going forward and for years to come, they have new focus and new purpose because of all this. Long gone are the days of only shaping rules and regulations and collaborating on procedures and processes. Welcome to my world, the activism side.

To the barricades!

Electronic cleansing is coming! Our drones will be confiscated! (Never forget all the other federal government confiscations of our gadgets.) Government is plotting against us and there are bad actors and false flag actions! And we're all just watching and doing nothing!

Prepare to storm the Bastille!
 
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