Watchdog Wants Google’s Head as Google’s Lobbying Spend Jumps 57%

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There was a time a couple years ago when
we pundits tracked Google’s lobbying spend by year. No longer, because
that spend is growing at a fat clip.

Consumer groups and privacy watchdogs suspicious of Google Creep —
its growing size and extension on the Web  — are looking at Google’s
moves in Washington, D.C., with the flinty enthusiasm of fire and
brimstone preachers.

To that end, Consumer
Watchdog has noted
that Google increased its lobbying spending in
the first quarter by 57 percent over the first quarter 2009.

Google paid $1.38 million to sway politicos compared to $880,000 in
Q1 2009, according to data from the Senate Office of Public Affairs.
Google is on pace to spend $5.6 million on schmoozing the government
this year.

For perspective, note that Google
spent $4 million on lobbying in 2009
, up from $2.84 million in 2008
and almost three times the $1.52 million it spent in 2007.

Google’s lobbying spending includes money it spent itself and money
paid to outside firms to lobby for the search engine, according to
Consumer Watchdog advocate John Simpson, who first reported the data.

Google last year spent on lobbying for privacy and competition issues
related to online advertising, copyright laws and its Google Book
Search settlement. Google spent money to lobby on those trends in Q1,
too, but added other things to its agenda.

The company shelled out cash to influence legislators for patent
reform; network neutrality, and “legislation intended to prevent U.S.
technology companies from cooperating with repressive foreign
governments that restrict free speech and violate human rights,” according
to the Associated Press

Google shuttered
its search engine in China
after a cyber-attack on its Gmail
accounts, vowing to no longer support China’s censorship rules. The move
was popular in the U.S. government, which appreciated the company
taking a bold stand against a world power.

said Google lobbied the usual suspects
, including House of
Representatives, the Senate, the Commerce Department and the Federal
Trade Commission.

More interesting is that Simpson and his Google hawking agency is
expected to do some lobbying of their own.

They plan to ask the U.S. government to investigate
Google for antitrust violations
. They will announce this at a press
conference in Washington, D.C., April 21.

This is nothing new, but now the group wants to break up the company.
This is untenable. How do you break up a company whose Web services are
so tightly coupled together?

What would you do? Offer search separate from YouTube and Google
Apps? I don’t think so. I enjoy the single sign-on to Gmail, Google
Docs, et al. I would not support such a break up.

What about you? Do you want to see Google regulated? Why or why not?

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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