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Internet rivals Google, Amazon and Facebook team up for tech lobbying group

26 Jul 2012
Capitol Hill

A newly-formed technology lobbyist group is believed to be courting some of the largest names in the industry.

A report from Reuters suggests that tech giants - and often arch rivals - Google, Amazon and Facebook are expected to join forces to form a lobbying group the Internet Association (IA).

The IA plans to launch sometime this September and will focus on getting internet-related legislation passed by the US government. It will be led by former congressional policy advisor Michael Beckerman.

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," said Beckerman.

"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 advisor to the US 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 told V3 that it plans to release detailed information on its aims and members during a September unveiling.

When asked to confirm its membership in the IA, Amazon declined to give comment.

Facebook also declined to give comment on membership. However, a company representative told V3 that "the formation of the Internet Association is a welcome development."

The rumoured 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 opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) late last year. Google warned that SOPA would slow internet innovation in an open letter to congress last December.

Facebook has also long fought against government censorship. Google's co-founder Sergey Brin applauded the social networking site for its refusal to give in to government censorship in an interview with The Guardian last April.

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James Dohnert
About

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club, CachedTech.com, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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