New lobbying group backed by Google, eBay, Amazon, Facebook

According to reports, the Internet giants are all supporting the creation of a new trade association in Washington.

In order to combat regulatory and political issues stemming from online services, Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook and other well-known Internet companies are starting a new trade association.

Reuters reports that the collaborative effort, dubbed the "Internet Assocation" will launch in September this year. Citing a person close to the group, the publicaton says that the primary point of the group will be to "handle political and regulatory issues" in Washington DC. 

President Michael Beckerman, former advisor to the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee said that the Internet Association will act as a "unified voice for major Internet companies".

Both Google and Facebook currently spend vast amounts of money on political lobbying. Beckerman said:

"We want to educate (lawmakers) about the impact of the Internet in their congressional districts. In September, we'll do a full rollout and announce companies and announce policy positions."

Some of the latest issues to surface on the political agenda are that of easing visa restrictions to hire skilled overseas engineers, privacy, cybersecurity and sales tax rates for Internet companies. The full list of companies joining the group and the issues that take priority will be announced in September.

Google and Facebook have been steadily increasing their federal lobbying, spending $3.9m and $960,000 between April and June this year respectively on issues including online privacy and immigration legislation. Ebay spent $400,600 in the second quarter, up ten percent from the previous year, and Amazon spent $690,000.

Legislation including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) all drew the wrath of online companies and the general public, so perhaps with an official group in place, proposed legislation may at least be based on a little more information and understanding in the future. Although, that might be too optimistic. 

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