The Commerce Department said it added DJI, AGCU Scientech, China National Scientific Instruments and Materials and Kuang-Chi Group to the list because they “enabled wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance,” according to Reuters. The public security bureau of Xinjiang has reportedly used DJI drones in the surveillance of Uyghurs, a primarily Muslim ethnic group who mostly live in that province.
It’s not the first time US authorities have taken action against Chinese-built drones. Earlier this year, the Department of the Interior grounded almost its entire drone fleet over spying fears related to devices that were made in China or contain Chinese parts. The Department of Justice has also blocked the use of agency funds to buy foreign-built drones.