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American Security Drone Act (ASDA) (Q4 2022)

karlblessing

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Saw this in my local drone group on Facebook

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Text Body :
Folks, there is a new push to add bad legislation to the next National Defense Act that will be passed in December. The American Security Drone Act (ASDA) will basically disallow any drones made in China or made with Chinese parts from being used by Federal agencies or in coordinated efforts with Federal agencies. This doesn't just mean DJI. Rather it basically means every drone you can think of - as even those drones assembled in the US still use Chinese parts (and that isn't going to change in the next decade or more). It is critical to get the ASDA trounced. Your help in sending emails to Senator Peter's staffers is needed. Please look to send an email to each of the three staffers below. Use the template letter provided. Sign with your name, e-mail address, and contact information.


Senator Peters key staffers for ASDA:
Chris Mulkins (HSGAC) - [email protected]
Ben Schubert (HSGAC) - [email protected]
Nick Graham (Peters’ LA) - [email protected]
Sample email for each staffer:
[Mr. Staffer Last Name(s)],
I am [name, position] from the [agency/department] writing in my personal capacity to ask Senator Peters to oppose the inclusion of the American Security Drone Act (ASDA) in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Drones are critical to our public safety and law enforcement operations. We use drones to keep our officers out of harm's way, de-escalate violent situations, facilitate search and rescue operations, and more. To ensure the safety of our officers, we use drones with the operational capabilities needed to meet our mission requirements. Limiting our ability to coordinate with federal agencies and build out our programs using grant funding will endanger our officers and hinder operations that save lives and protect our community.
I understand that changes have recently been made to allow for some operational and purchasing exemptions. However, these exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and there is no telling how long it would take for a department to receive a waiver once requested. When it comes to public safety, time is of the essence. Waiting for a waiver to coordinate with a federal agency to help our community does not make sense and could put lives at risk.
For these reasons, we ask that Senator Peters oppose ASDA's inclusion entirely.

Sincerely,
[Your Name, email, phone number]
 

vindibona1

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If I read this correctly this will not affect most of us UAV PILOTS. But the fact is that it is not hard to build Trojan Horse software into electronic devices. It is public knowledge that China is pumping up its war machine on EVERY front in every way possible. From that aspect I would agree that Federal agencies should not be using Chinese products that have any potential to gather data or information. IMO it is a time for extreme caution when it comes to China.
 

BobaFuct

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While I generally agree with the broader intent of the legislation, I’m not convinced that Congress should be making these choices on behalf of local and federal agencies that are perfectly capable of making risk assessments and for which using DJI products may be an acceptable and necessary “risk.” But I’m certainly not going to oppose this from the position that “the police need easier access to surveillance tools.”

Honestly, if this bill ultimately made it harder for police to get drones (which it doesn’t seem like it actually does), then I would probably be all for it, regardless of any concerns about congressional meddling.
 

Vic Moss

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If I read this correctly this will not affect most of us UAV PILOTS. But the fact is that it is not hard to build Trojan Horse software into electronic devices. It is public knowledge that China is pumping up its war machine on EVERY front in every way possible. From that aspect I would agree that Federal agencies should not be using Chinese products that have any potential to gather data or information. IMO it is a time for extreme caution when it comes to China.
It absolutely will affect many of us. It's already affected me three times, and it hasn't even passed yet. Other iterations are just as bad.

Pre-COVID I was a project require a Skydio. I had one since I was part of Drone U at the time, but even then I couldn't fly it. I was scheduled to shoot part of a documentary about Rocky Flats' transformation from plutonium trigger plant to wildlife preserve. It was for a national physics organization. They would not let me fly DJI products from their property. They said I could fly the Skydio. But it's just not a great bird. It was cancelled due to COVID before we could work out the DJI details.

The next issue was a huge mapping job on the Air Force Academy lands. It was to map the streets of one of the residential areas, well away from anything "secret".

And the final one was earlier this year when we shot part of the new visitor center film for Mesa Verde National Park. We ended up shooting it on a Skydio X2, and Skydio was nice enough to send me one, and two of the employees to help out if I needed any help. We got the video, but it's not as good as it would have been if I could have put the Mavic 3s up I had in the car with me.

So don't let the "it won't affect many" argument win, because it's not accurate.

We're also seeing some private companies and state agencies asking about comparable drones for their own work. And they just don't exist at the same cost and reliability scale.

We cannot let this pass.

DSPA has talked to a number of staffers for federal Congressional folks and seemed to be helping, but we all need to pitch in and get this stopped.

We first wrote about this in May of last year.

 

Vic Moss

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Also, when you reach out to Congress about anything, do NOT use form letters. They are pointless.

Congressional staff read these letters and emails first. They only tell their bosses about the ones with personal stories and/or good points. Form letters don't work.

Use those talking points for sure, but write your own email.
 

wardtom084

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So they fuss about this but no problem with fighters containing Chinese chips...figures.
 

vindibona1

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It absolutely will affect many of us. It's already affected me three times, and it hasn't even passed yet. Other iterations are just as bad.

Pre-COVID I was a project require a Skydio. I had one since I was part of Drone U at the time, but even then I couldn't fly it. I was scheduled to shoot part of a documentary about Rocky Flats' transformation from plutonium trigger plant to wildlife preserve. It was for a national physics organization. They would not let me fly DJI products from their property. They said I could fly the Skydio. But it's just not a great bird. It was cancelled due to COVID before we could work out the DJI details.

The next issue was a huge mapping job on the Air Force Academy lands. It was to map the streets of one of the residential areas, well away from anything "secret".

And the final one was earlier this year when we shot part of the new visitor center film for Mesa Verde National Park. We ended up shooting it on a Skydio X2, and Skydio was nice enough to send me one, and two of the employees to help out if I needed any help. We got the video, but it's not as good as it would have been if I could have put the Mavic 3s up I had in the car with me.

So don't let the "it won't affect many" argument win, because it's not accurate.

We're also seeing some private companies and state agencies asking about comparable drones for their own work. And they just don't exist at the same cost and reliability scale.

We cannot let this pass.

DSPA has talked to a number of staffers for federal Congressional folks and seemed to be helping, but we all need to pitch in and get this stopped.

We first wrote about this in May of last year.

While there are some pilots in your position I have to believe your situation is relatively unique. If you were to put up a poll on the forum asking who does government work I think the numbers would be very small overall.

That doesn't mean you're wrong about your position necessarily. But I don't think the worry about Chinese spying is unfounded. Drones by their very nature broadcast data. And while DJI and other Chinese drone manufacturer and parts companies may produce benign equipment, and the regulation like many FAA regulations pointed at drones may be a bit of overkill, we are living in a very serious period of time which isn't helped by the decline in faith in government. I honestly don't think I know what the right thing to do is.
 

Vic Moss

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While there are some pilots in your position I have to believe your situation is relatively unique. If you were to put up a poll on the forum asking who does government work I think the numbers would be very small overall.
I know of other pilot affected by this too. And private companies are starting to ask about this. Large companies that inspect or run T&D or pipeline are trying to make plans. As are other pilots who do 1099 work for them.
That doesn't mean you're wrong about your position necessarily. But I don't think the worry about Chinese spying is unfounded.
Countries spy on each other. All the time. It's not unfounded to worry, but we need to be realisitc.

Let's look at my situation with the NPS. I was flying for Mesa Verde National Park down canyons and over 1000 year old ruins. And I couldn't use my DJI gear. The imagery suffered because of it. But what about Washington D.C. That is the most restricted, heavily monitored, and protected airspace in the country. The process to get permission to fly there is crazy. You even need a gov't agency to sponsor you to fly in the inner circle.

But what is the most used drone by people who do fly there? The Inspire 2. Just about everyone I know who flies there uses the Inspire 2.

If our gov't was serious about this, and not just playing politics with our livelihood, they restrict D.C. flights to the blue list too.

It's a sham perpetrated by the paranoid and/or those who get money placed in their campaign chests by U.S. drone manufacturers.

Drones by their very nature broadcast data. And while DJI and other Chinese drone manufacturer and parts companies may produce benign equipment, and the regulation like many FAA regulations pointed at drones may be a bit of overkill, we are living in a very serious period of time which isn't helped by the decline in faith in government. I honestly don't think I know what the right thing to do is.
If data is the issue, then put out data control requirements. Make ALL drones, regardless of country of origin, conform to these guidelines or not be allowed on gov't jobs.

That one rule would open up the gov't purses for not only foreign drone companies, but U.S. drone companies that don't have the resources to go through the Blue List process.

It's a no brainer, and one that would have actual safeguards in place that worked.

The Country of Origin ban, as is the majority of the ASDA, are pure policial BS.
 
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Meta4

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But I don't think the worry about Chinese spying is unfounded. Drones by their very nature broadcast data.
DJI drones broadcast the video you see on your screen, their position, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry, like heading, pitch angle, gimbal angle, battery temp etc, etc.
They don't transmit stills or video and they only transmit to their controller, within a limited range.
The idea that there's espionage value in this is a huge stretch.
And US built drones would be transmitting the same info to their controllers anyway.

Anyone wanting something of espionage value can get it for themselves a lot quicker and simpler than trying to intercept flight data from a drone that happens to be nearby.
 

vindibona1

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DJI drones broadcast the video you see on your screen, their position, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry, like heading, pitch angle, gimbal angle, battery temp etc, etc.
They don't transmit stills or video and they only transmit to their controller, within a limited range.
The idea that there's espionage value in this is a huge stretch.
And US built drones would be transmitting the same info to their controllers anyway.

Anyone wanting something of espionage value can get it for themselves a lot quicker and simpler than trying to intercept flight data from a drone that happens to be nearby.
I'm sure you're familiar with the term "Trojan Horse".
 

mobilehomer

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DJI drones broadcast the video you see on your screen, their position, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry, like heading, pitch angle, gimbal angle, battery temp etc, etc.
They don't transmit stills or video and they only transmit to their controller, within a limited range.
The idea that there's espionage value in this is a huge stretch.
And US built drones would be transmitting the same info to their controllers anyway.

Anyone wanting something of espionage value can get it for themselves a lot quicker and simpler than trying to intercept flight data from a drone that happens to be nearby.
How about syncing flight data and a software trigger linked to GPS coordinates? This could be very useful.
 

Meta4

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How about syncing flight data and a software trigger linked to GPS coordinates? This could be very useful.
It's a simple matter to just not sync flight data if someone feels that it could be an issue.
But just knowing where a drone was flown, it's, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry isn't going to be of much value to anyone.
 

karlblessing

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It's a simple matter to just not sync flight data if someone feels that it could be an issue.
But just knowing where a drone was flown, it's, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry isn't going to be of much value to anyone.
Has more value to a marketing firm for say tourism to hit you with target advertising than a government department. Besides your phone does that already to other location services.
 
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mobilehomer

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It's a simple matter to just not sync flight data if someone feels that it could be an issue.
But just knowing where a drone was flown, it's, speed, height and a bunch of less exciting telemetry isn't going to be of much value to anyone.
I'm just playing devil's advocate on this. Don't forget, the media is also uploaded.
 

FLDave

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When I upload flight TXT files manually and individually thumbnail images of photos manually taken during the flight are included in the TXT file that is uploaded to AirData. They show up in the media section of the flight information. They are also linked to the location on the flight route.
 
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Meta4

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I don't think it gets uploaded, I have seen it. Look at Airdata. Pictures, some video. Makes you go - Hmmm.
You mean tiny thumbnails of the last 4 stills you shot?
They're included in the .txt file and are handy to help identify what flight you are looking at.
But for espionage value ???
I don't thing so.
 
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