Chris Hoofnagle writes:
BNA reports on the formation of the Internet Association, a new trade group that will represent Google, Facebook, eBay, and Amazon. The group introduces itself as, “the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America’s leading Internet companies and their global community of users. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet. ”
I do not know what the Internet Association will do nor do I discuss its merits here (as it has no track record yet). I wish to use this as an opportunity to discuss some of the issues in trade group lobbying. Consumer groups have problems too, but unlike companies, consumers have no direct representation in most regulatory matters, and consumer groups are completely outgunned in money, influence, and manpower in DC.
Read more on Denialism Blog.
Interesting that Twitter – which has been active in protecting user privacy – is not part of this new association. Were they not invited to join, or did they decline?
Trade group lobbying has the means to accomplish some good for users – if, for example, – they got behind changes to strengthen ECPA so that businesses had more protection in uploading consumer data to the cloud without fear of the government’s ability to obtain data without a warrant. But for the most part, I think trade group lobbying of this kind is likely to benefit the trade group interests over the users’ interests. And once again, we’ll be out-financed and outgunned in D.C.