Web Giants Form Internet Association To Lobby US Government

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon believed to be the leading backers of new lobbying group

A number of leading Internet companies are set to form the Internet Association, a trade association which will lobby the US government over political and regulatory issues.

It will formally launch in September, and although no participants have been officially confirmed, Reuters understands that Google, Amazon, Facebook and eBay are among the main backers.

Both Google and Facebook have increased their lobbying spending in recent years, and Google is currently the subject of an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission.

A Voice In Washington

“The Internet Association is the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America’s leading Internet companies and their global community of users,” said the newly formed association. “The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet.”

Michael Beckerman, a former adviser to the chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, will act as the group’s president.

“I am honored to lead such an important undertaking.  The Internet is the greatest engine for economic growth and prosperity the world has ever known.  The Internet must have a voice in Washington,” said Beckerman. “The Internet isn’t just Silicon Valley anymore, the Internet has moved to Main Street.  Our top priority is to ensure that elected leaders in Washington understand the profound impacts of the Internet and Internet companies on jobs, economic growth and freedom.”

“No one can predict what innovations will happen next.  But we do know that the Internet’s decentralized and open model is what has enabled its unprecedented growth and innovation,” he added. “We must guard against misguided attempts to handcuff this incredible source of job creation, freedom and creativity.”

Google has increased its federal lobbying spending by 90 percent year-on-year to $3.92 million in the second quarter of 2012, while Facebook’s increased 200 percent to $960,000 on issues such as privacy. More modest increases were made by eBay, which spent $400,600, and Amazon, which spent $690,000.

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