Google begins search for Middle East lobbyist

Search giant looking for Arab political professional to advocate Google's policies on Internet law and regulation across Middle East region, report says.
Written by Joel D. Pinaroc, Contributor

Amid an impasse over allegations of hacking and censorship in China, Google is seeking a lobbyist to push its policies to regulators in the Middle East.

According to report Monday in local English daily The National, the search giant is looking to engage an Arab political professional to drive Google's policies on Internet law and regulatory issues across the region.

The lobbyist will speak with "politicians and policymakers at every legislative level on Google's behalf, and work with trade associations, industry partners, non-profit groups and other allies to promote and build support for the company's policy positions.

Through the lobbyist, who will likely be based in Dubai or Cairo, Google will also seek to keep its search engine and other services "on the good side of regional censors and regulators", said The National.

The Middle East region is a booming Internet market, but is regarded as one of the world's most heavily regulated. Foreign companies have to contend with numerous systems of censorship and government regulations.

Lobbying and public policy roles are a standard part of Google's operations in mature markets, said Joanne Kubba, Google's regional communications and public affairs manager, as quoted in The National. "The Middle East is a growing market for us, and this is another sign we are fully developing our presence here," Kubba said.

The Internet company last month threatened to pull out of China and temporarily shut its business, after alleging its network had come under attacks originating from China. The U.S. government gave Google its support, while the Chinese ruling party denied any involvement and warned the issue was hurting bilateral relations between the two countries.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer currently based in Saudi Arabia.

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