Florida has now banned state and local government agencies from using drones from a “foreign country of concern,” which means that thousands of DJI drones being used by public safety departments cannot be used.
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The ban took effect on Wednesday, April 5 2023. The ban does not effect commercial and private drone use.
The Florida law is an unfunded mandate, which will force individual public agencies to come up with the money to replace their drone fleets and train staff on new technology.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly claimed that Chinese drone technology poses a security risk, a survey by DRONERESPONDERS indicates that more than 90% of Florida public safety agencies are currently using DJI drones, as is the case across the country.
The ban has met with significant negative response today, as users and stakeholders calculate the value of hardware which will now need to be replaced. According to one local Florida news station, “the Broward Sheriff’s Office has grounded 63 drones, purchased at a cost of $300,000, while Miami-Dade police and fire rescue have had to ground 41 drones, which cost more than $200,000.”
Florida’s Department of Management Services has published a short list of approved drone providers:
Pursuant to section 934.50(7)(b), Florida Statutes, the department hereby provides the following list of approved manufacturers whose drones may be purchased or otherwise acquired and used by a governmental agency under section 934.50, Florida Statutes:
- Teal Drones
- Vantage Robotics
The list appears to be based on the Department of Defense’s DIU “Blue sUAS” list, but is a list of manufacturers rather than platforms. The list does not include all US-manufactured or NDAA compliant drones.
Florida’s ban is the latest move in the ongoing war on Chinese drone technology. While DeSantis in particular has made statements about “spying,” the efforts to limit government exposure to Chinese technology, part of the “Huawei effect”, has been ongoing for several years in the U.S. government as geopolitical pressures increase. While DJI has put technology safeguards into their systems that allow users to keep their data contained to a local card without connecting to the internet or uploading data at all, the U.S. government’s stated concern is an existing law in China stating that Chinese government agencies may request access to Chinese-based company’s data.
The ban does not effect private companies and commercial interests, it is only relevant to Florida state and local government agencies.
- Florida’s Approved Drone Manufacturers List: 95% of Agencies Surveyed Say Rule Will Negatively Impact Programs
- The Ban on Chinese Drones: Lawmakers Set Their Sights on China-Made Tech
- The Ban on Chinese Drones, Part 2: What Happens Next?
- BREAKING: Committee Rejects Ban on Chinese Drone Tech in National Defense Authorization Act
- The Latest Executive Order on Drones: the Ban on Chinese and Foreign Entity UAS Expanded
- U.S. Drone Company Skyfish on the Made in the U.S.A., NDAA Compliant Market: A Timeline
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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