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Apple hires drone and aviation law specialist as Washington lobbyist

Apple Inc. has engaged a specialist in drone and aviation law as a Washington lobbyist, suggesting the company is pushing further into the growing field.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant retained Lisa Ellman, a parter at Hogan Lovells, to conduct the lobbying. Ellman leads the law firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. She also co-founded the Commercial Drone Alliance and is working to expand the commercial drone industry, according to her biography online.

Ellman worked in the Obama administration and the Justice Department earlier in her career. Ellman’s lobbying work for Apple began in December, according to a company filing that was made public this week. Representatives for Apple and Ellman declined to comment.

The company used drones a few years ago to help it collect mapping data. In December, it met with regulators about a proposed law that would require drones to sport virtual license plates. The company also sells several drones from DJI through the Apple website and Apple retail stores.

Apple has a team exploring satellites, a type of unmanned aircraft, and Ellman could assist in regulatory efforts that would need to be conducted to launch such an effort. Apple rivals, including Inc. and Alphabet Inc., have developed drones in recent years.

Apple lobbied the government on issues related to unmanned aerial vehicles” in 2017 and “issues related to autonomous vehicles and unmanned aviation” in late 2018, according to disclosures to the U.S. Senate.

The company spent more than $5.5 million on lobbying in the first three quarters of 2019, according to the latest disclosures to Congress, while Google and Facebook Inc. spent millions more. Apple has also lobbied on taxes, music copyright, privacy, competition, immigration and financial technology, among other issues.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

Source: Livemint