Internet Behemoths Take On Capitol HillSubmitted by Alliance With None on Thu, 09/20/2012 - 13:52
The Internet Association unveiled the 14 Internet power players--including Facebook and Google--that have signed on to help mold public policies surrounding Internet freedom, innovation, and user empowerment. Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, and Zynga complete the membership roster. President and CEO Michael Beckerman will lead the organization.
“We hope to [help] our global community of Internet users' voices be heard,” says The Internet Association's spokesperson Betsy Barrett. “We're going to be out in cities and towns across the country talking to Internet users, individuals, and businesses, and getting their thoughts on protecting Internet freedom to promote innovation, economic growth, and job creation. We're going to bring these local businesses, educators, health care providers--as many as we can--and their stories to Capitol Hill to help Congress understand the value that the Internet has on their districts and states.”
Barrett notes that Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was not the driving force of The Internet Association's formation, but it did have an influence on it. “SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act) did put an exclamation point on the justification of the group because had these bills become law, it would have been devastating to the Internet, Internet users, and the Internet economy,” Barrett says.
Altimeter Group principal analyst Alan Webber says participating in the lobbying group is in the Internet companies' best interest and is a “proactive defense mechanism.”
“The technology has just completely outpaced our regulatory regime and policies. So, these companies are now getting involved at a lobbying level to be able to do their best to defend their business model, [while] at the same time minimize any potential policy impact that may come,” Webber says. “Of course some businesses aren't able to minimize all of them, but they're going to try to minimize as many as possible.”
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