The U.S. administration is drafting an executive order to block federal departments and agencies from buying or using foreign-made drones, citing a risk to national security.
The draft order would effectively ban both foreign-made drones or drones made with foreign parts out of concern that sensitive information collected during their use might be transferred to rival nation-states.
The order calls out risks posed by China, a major center for drone manufacturers that supply both government and consumers, with the prospect that other nations could be added later.
If passed, federal departments would have a month to comply with the decree, it stated. However, the military and the intelligence group would be granted broad exemptions under the draft order.
It’s the latest step to crack down on Chinese-built technology, amid concerns that Beijing is utilizing its authority and affect to compel corporations to spy on its rivals. Huawei and ZTE, among others, have faced bans from operating inside the U.S. government, despite protests from the businesses, which have long refuted claims that they pose a risk because of their Chinese links.
The U.S. government’s prevalent use of predominantly Chinese-built drones has come under intense probe in recent months. In January, the Department of Interior (DOI) issued an order grounding its line of near 800 foreign-built drones, apart from in emergencies, amid considerations that any data collected would be “beneficial” to the U.S. rivals.