Google, Facebook & Amazon Quietly Forming Tech Lobbying Group?

Capitol Hill

Technology giants – and often competitors – Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay are expected to join forces to form a lobbying group known as the Internet Association (IA), Reuters reported.

The IA plans to launch sometime this September and will focus on getting Internet-related legislation passed by the U.S. government. Former congressional policy adviser Michael Beckerman will lead the group.

The group will be the first lobbying association to combine the forces of Internet companies for the sole purpose of advancing web-centric legislation.

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

Beckerman is a former adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton. During his time with Beckerman chairman Upton came out against legislation like net neutrality and the creation of an Internet tax.

For now, the IA is keeping its goals relatively vague. A group spokesperson said it will release detailed information on its aims and members during a September unveiling.

Both Amazon and Facebook declined to confirm their membership in the IA. However, a Facebook representative said that “the formation of the Internet Association is a welcome development.”

The rumored consortium of companies behind the group has a long list of causes that it has fought for in the past.

Google and other Internet companies oppose and stop the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Google blacked out its home page warned that SOPA would slow Internet innovation.

Facebook has also long fought against government censorship. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin in April applauded the social networking site for its refusal to give in to government censorship.

Both Google and Facebook have ramped up federal lobbying to their highest levels. Google has increased spending to $3.92 million – good for 90 percent year-over-year growth – while Facebook’s lobbying spending hit $960,000.

This article was originally published on V3.

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