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Web Giants Form US Internet Lobby Group 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-our-powers-combine dept.
judgecorp writes "Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon have apparently set up the Internet Association to lobby the US government on issues relating to online business. From the article: 'The Internet Association, which will open its doors in September, will act as a unified voice for major Internet companies, said President Michael Beckerman, a former adviser to the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.'"
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Web Giants Form US Internet Lobby Group

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  • Ick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:17AM (#40787849) Homepage

    Put simply, there are too few "voices of conscience" in that list for my comfort.

    • Got to be In it to win it... Into corruption I mean, to win laws favourable to your industry. Ick, how "democracy" has degenerated...
      • Mathematically democracy is about what you deserve as a collection, so you can't really degenerate it. Corruption is just part of the reward. The thing about what's best is a bit of a myth.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Democracy is about proportional representation, something the USA doesn't know about with its First Past the Post system.
          • by mjr167 (2477430) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:59AM (#40788663)
            A lot of problems could be solved if we just took the D and R off the balots. Just think if you had to know the name of the guy you were voting for!
            • by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:35AM (#40788785)
              As if the system is not personalised enough! People should vote for policies, not faces. We don't need any more vain politicians with bloated egos spitting out demagogic bullshit while taking bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H contributions from big corporations.
              • Executives juries, better known as Sortition [wikipedia.org].

                Let the parties present governing strategies and work similarly to experts in trials by jury, but let the jury decide on the ultimate actions. Juries must be large enough to statistically represent the population they --you know-- represent.

          • That is so true. Look at the options we are given. A guy who ignores that America's creit card is maxed out and still wants to spend spend spend. And a guy who has more money than God and wants to be Prez simply because he's bored and wants to be very very powerful. We are doomed either way. Do I choose to jump off the cliff or be eaten by the lion?

      • Not just that...you have to be able to bid against Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Insurance, Wall Street, etc. etc. etc. for some of your Representative's or Senator's time.

        That's the problem with corruption in government: Once it begins, it only gets worse until "We, the People" get hyper-aggressive about trimming it back is if it were derelict hedges in the yards of a neighborhood's abandoned houses.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Got to be In it to win it... Into corruption I mean, to win laws favourable to your industry. Ick, how "democracy" has degenerated...

        The only true form of self-sustaining government is anarchy, Are we there yet?

    • The headline says "lobby" and you say "conscience"?

      It'd be a mistake to think these companies have our interests at heart. Our interests just coincide when it comes to stuff that hurt both internet companies and internet users - like repressive copyright legislation, and a lack of net neutrality. On other matters - like privacy - they shouldn't be trusted.

  • Goal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Lets figure out how we can keep people communicating insecurely without privacy, while exploiting their ignorance and hunger for low-quality goods"

    Ideally, this leads to a future with virtual cars that no longer consume gas. We just probably lack the proper MMORPG to represent life, but I am sure we can do wonders with some better government support. We just need to grease the wheels with more campaign contributions.

  • by tebee (1280900) on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:19AM (#40787859)

    I think it's a sad reflection on our political system that we need to do this.

    The next question is will it be it be dishonest enough to grease the right palms and have some real influence?

    But it's good that such a large industry now has a voice there.
         

    • by justforgetme (1814588) on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:50AM (#40787985) Homepage

      The Good: The greater web gets a voice in the US lobby
      The Bad: The voice belongs to people who make fortunes about exploiting web participant's data...

      Really this can be a win situation or a lose situation. No one will know until they actually bring something up.
      Still it is very soon to be just running around yelling "Hurray"

      • People in power tend to work together to solidify and reinforce their position in life. Often by erecting barriers to entry after the fact. Nothing good will come out of this. Once you walk into DC, you become a living member of the castle while everyone else is stuck outside living in serfdom.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Any tool can be used well, or abused. And yeah, lobbies are usually abused.

        But if you look at the folks involved, there are some good attributes. Sure, none of these guys are likely to be privacy advocated. On the other hand, they may well be able to stand up for an Open Internet against the telco and Hollywood lobbies, since they all benefit from an open internet.

        And I'm sure, like most lobbying groups, they'll be hiring the same kind of K-Street rats that all the other guys hire. So it's not as if they'll

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:22AM (#40787877) Homepage Journal

    I remember this being something that came up during the fight over SOPA: Namely, that while the entertainment industry is used to lobbying the government, the tech industry was fractured and didn't see lobbying as a high priority, so the success Hollywood had at railroading some of those crazy ideas just blindsided them. (Stacked hearings, deliberately ignoring experts, etc.) It became clear that something would have to level the field, and since we know the RIAA, MPAA and friends aren't going to back off on their lobbying (and we know the government isn't going to stop listening to lobbyists), the solution is a tech lobby.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Ideally this lobby will push an anti-SOPA too that enshrines in law all the things that would prevent the RIAA from arbitrarily censoring the internet, would prevent companies having to give up user data, or even retain it etc. etc.

      Something the net would actually get behind, just like it worked against SOPA, and would hence likely have a strong chance of passing.

      I really hope they put the same effort into lobbying as those they're claiming to compete against, and push back in the other direction - to push

      • by Serpents (1831432)

        would prevent companies having to give up user data, or even retain it etc. etc.

        Google and Facebook are never going to give up retaining user data. If anything, it's in their interest to push for laws which would enable them to store as much of it as they can for as long as they please. This is what allows them to get advertisers, who are their customers. We, the users, are their commodity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:25AM (#40787887)

    Great. It's good to see these underrepresented citizens with limited economic power finally have a voice in Washington.

  • by LittleBigScript (618162) on Friday July 27, 2012 @03:31AM (#40787911) Homepage Journal

    How about outlawing Software Patents? It costs them more than it costs me, and it isn't even a barrier to entry.

    • Google and facebook I could see fighting for that to an extent. Amazon a bit less so, and FSM help us if microsoft or apple calls the right to join this unified front.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google is fine, they've only done a few things to upset me (privacy problems aside).
    Amazon is... tolerable. They do some questionable things now and then, but overall they're all right.
    Facebook is bad in that while they seem as intent on invading your privacy as much as Google, they contribute little back, unlike Google.
    eBay, or rather PayPal, is flat out evil for reasons better explained in (of all places) an Encyclopedia Dramatica article [encyclopediadramatica.se] (warning: potentially NSFW). I will never, ever do business with
  • In the US 'x' gets corrupted by corporate interest. For 'x' of course
    politics came first -- the rest is a cinch.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Silicon Valley makes more money than Hollywood, it's time they made their voices heard.

    Now I'm sure it's not all going to be good stuff for intance Facebook and Google writing a law for mandatory "internet ID" using their services of course. That would be bad.

    But putting an end to the shenanigans of horrible people like Chris Dodd may be worth it.

    Either way, Hollywood needs to step aside and make way for Silicon Valley.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Either way, Hollywood needs to step aside and make way for Silicon Valley.

      Revenge of the Nerds indeed.

  • The people's lobby (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Friday July 27, 2012 @05:58AM (#40788429)
    If laws are bought by the lobbiest with the most cash, why not start kickstarter campaigns for various sensible laws and see if we can outbid the corporations. Some laws are bought with surprisingly desultory amounts of cash. Not that's it's a particularly important law, but as an example i bet if you started a kickstarter to lobby for the legalisation of cannabis, you'd get millions. And for the abolition of the TSA.
    • by tomhath (637240)
      There are many "people's" lobbies. The common perception of them is that they represent special interests, which of course they do. Think unions, NRA, Tea Party, etc. Yea, I hear the screaming that the ebil corporations are behind some of them, but for the most part they're supported by people with an interest in the subject. That's how politics works.
    • Think about how long it would take Government to kill kickstarter. How long before it appears on Kickstarter: "We need 1 million dollers to buy the legalisation of cannabis from Government" At the moment they are just about able to hide the cold fact that you can buy any law you like, but if you put that up on Kickstarter, then it would become impossible to ignore.

    • by Anonymous Coward
  • Internet Cartel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:14AM (#40788483) Homepage Journal

    This "association" is a gang of monopolists who grudgingly admit they can't eliminate each other as competition, so they join together to avoid competing. In other words, a cartel. That plans to enforce their cartel with government power.

    Why not? They're basically 21st Century phone companies. The telco cartel worked out so well in the 20th Century that it hauled in many hundreds of $BILLIONS, and even wiretapped every American for years with impunity - forging the basis of power for this new generation cartel.

    • by gatfirls (1315141)
      It may be a bad thing that our government works this way, overall, but the thing that comes to mind for me is "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". The telcos/major ISPs are fighting tooth and nail on K street to change the model of the internet that has worked so well for us and coincidentally these large companies. Of course I am well aware of "The Scorpion and the Frog" in this scenario.
  • What could go wrong?

    I mean, I like Google and all, but I can't say I trust them or Facebook to "make" internet policy...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:19AM (#40789363)

    RANT

    Lobbyists are one of the major problems with the U.S. government, they serve no legitimate function and are nothing but vectors of corruption. Corporate apologists will argue that corporations need representation too but they would be lying to you. Corporations are made up of people, and each person (that is a citizen) has one vote, the same as everyone else. Corporations, through lobbyists, should not be allowed to buy specialty legislation (like the extension to copyright that was purchased by Disney). All legislation that comes out of Washington should support the public good, not a few of the rich and powerful.

    /RANT

  • This shows a really sad state of affairs for the U.S. government. The fact that these companies feel it is worth their time and money to lobby the U.S. government to get what they need shows:

    1. That they no longer believe that they can control their own corporate destiny sufficiently without the government mandating new laws to their liking
    2. That it's more efficient for them to lobby the government to get what they want than to risk doing things without the government
    3. That the U.S. government has far too

    • My solution is simple: reduce the size and scope of the government and these companies will no longer feel like they have anything to gain from lobbying the government.

      ...or have anything to lose by ignoring their laws.

      • My solution is simple: reduce the size and scope of the government and these companies will no longer feel like they have anything to gain from lobbying the government.

        ...or have anything to lose by ignoring their laws.

        So by your "logic," a government should have as many laws as possible, because this is ultimately what makes people and corporations moral. What you're lamenting, in reality, is that people don't behave the way that you desire them to. People (and companies and other organizations) are diverse. The best government is the least government (I didn't say none). Set a very consistent set of basic rules, provide an efficient and fair judicial system, and then live people to live their lives as they see fit. If y

        • The best government is the least government (I didn't say none).

          This is where we fundementally differ, size has nothing to do with good governance.

          • The best government is the least government (I didn't say none).

            This is where we fundementally differ, size has nothing to do with good governance.

            Ok, that's fair that we differ. Then in your opinion, what is it that defines good governance? How does good governance go bad? How is it that a country goes from bad governance to good governance?

  • At 26, I'm the first generation to grow up with a home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up. I've always been part of the hip, young, generation and Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon are the companies of my generation. Most were started (and most are manned) by my peers and I can remember the first time I heard about all of them. Now they are forming a Lobby, and it's only a few short years until these companies are the entrenched establishment a
    • At 26, I'm the first generation to grow up with a home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up....[yawn]... When do I get to start saying "Get off my lawn?"

      At 40... I'm the first generation to grow up with home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up... Now pick up your skateboard and GET OFF MY LAWN!

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:54AM (#40789803)
    For...who exactly?
    So we've got an ad company, a company that steals and sells personal data, a dwindling marketplace, and a growing marketplace.
    Yes, these four companies are totally represent the internet well... /sarcasm
  • anyone else feel we're headed closer and closer to the idea of corporate enclaves?

  • by jxander (2605655)
    If you can't beat them ... arrange to have them beaten.
  • There is absolutely no possibility that this is going to benefit us peons in any way.

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