China’s blacklisted DJI is battling to maintain its dominance of the US drone market by lobbying Congress to block a bill barring the federal government from buying its unmanned aircraft.
The Shenzhen-based company has hired two lobbying firms — Squire Patton Boggs and the Vogel Group — to persuade members of Congress not to back the American Security Drone Act, which forbids the government from buying drones from Chinese firms or others viewed as posing a risk to national security.
DJI is one of many Chinese technology companies that have fallen into Washington’s crosshairs over security concerns.
According to emails obtained from a congressional office, DJI’s lobbyists argue that its drones are critical for local law enforcement and first responders as they are more advanced and much cheaper than US rivals.
But Alexandra Seymour, a technology expert at CNAS, a think-tank, said the benefits of the technology were far outweighed by the national security risks.
“We are trying to protect our technology and innovation. We don’t want to create an opportunity for the competition to come in and steal information or surveil our critical infrastructure,” Seymour added.
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