The delayed reaction by the Biden administration to the Chinese surveillance balloon continues to draw ire from Republicans. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) says this whole affair is precisely why the American Drone Security Act, which he reintroduced in 2021, is vital in its passage.
'There's absolutely no reason we should allow Communist China to have easy access to our information and expose ourselves to national security risks," stated Sen. Scott, adding that "we need to pass my American Security Drone Act, ENDING the ridiculous practice of purchasing CCP drones for US govt use."
There's absolutely no reason we should allow Communist China to have easy access to our information and expose ourselves to national security risks.
We need to pass my American Security Drone Act, ENDING the ridiculous practice of purchasing CCP drones for US govt use.
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 5, 2023
Sen. Scott's bill was first introduced in 2019, which aims to prohibit purchases of drones manufactured by countries, namely China, deemed a national security threat. This is because it is very likely they are sending information back to the Chinese government. For this reason, the US Army and Dept. of Interior have long banned the usage of drones manufactured by the Chinese DJI company; according to the Federal News Network.
Specifically, it is noted that data picked up by drones is being fed back to the Chinese government directly through telemetry or through the device's app. Additionally, "geofencing," in which a drone is shut down upon entering a specific area, can potentially be weaponized against the government.
"While the U.S. Department of Defense has banned Chinese-made DJI drones, at least 200 law enforcement agencies across U.S. cities use them," Scott stated in 2019, pointing out the aforementioned risk.
More recently, Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26) warned in November of Chinese drones appearing in Washington, D.C.. More ominously, Gimenez says not only are devices likely transmitting data, but they are becoming more capable of physical harm. "Remember, these drones are getting more capable, they can carry higher payloads," Gimenez warns. Thankfully, he also notes that means to counteract them are being researched.