In an interesting twist, Maryland law enforcement uses drones produced by Chinese drone maker DJI, which is not just on a U.S. investment blacklist but has also been barred in four states. As frequent readers of DroneXL will undoubtedly know, DJI is the global leader in the drone market, despite the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to place it on the list in December 2021.

DJI was blacklisted due to alleged sales of drones to Xinjiang Police in China. US officials believe these DJI drones were used to monitor Uyghur residents, a group that has suffered significant persecution under the Chinese government. Such actions sparked international outrage, culminating in a United Nations report that the Chinese government’s mistreatment of Uyghurs could amount to crimes against humanity.

Apart from human rights violations, there’s an ongoing political worry about data privacy related to DJI drones. Consequently, four states and several US agencies have prohibited their use.