By IANS
23 months ago | Published on : 03:09 am, 20 Sep 2012

Washington, Sep 20 (IANS) Google, Facebook, Amazon and 11 other technology heavyweights have announced that they have formed a lobby group, and vowed to strengthen and protect a free and innovative internet. The group called "The Internet Association" is the first trade association representing the interests of the internet economy in the US, Xinhua reported. The association now has 14 members -- Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga. The group said it represents "the unified voice of the internet economy". However, two names, Apple and Microsoft, were absent from the list, Xinhua said. "A free and innovative internet is vital to our nation's economic growth," Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of The Internet Association, was quoted as saying. He said the companies "understand the future of the internet is at stake" and they "must work together to protect it". Beckerman recently stepped down as a top aide to US House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton. The group is based in Washington. The report said a few technology giants have been more "politically savvy" in recent years as US lawmakers are putting more attention to issues like online privacy and competition. Google spent a record $5.03 million on lobbying during the first quarter this year, a big increase from the $1.48 million in the same period last year. Facebook also broke its lobbying record in the second quarter of 2012, during which the company went public. It spent $960,000 in wooing politicians, tripling the money it spent in the same period of 2011.
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