There is no doubt that technology is big business and that business is only growing over time. There is also very little doubt that for a business to grow at a high rate, it needs a little help from government. Whether this is easing off on restrictions they view as too tight, or whether it is simply backing down from a stance the government once held business and government often work hand in hand.
When these two separate entities work together it is usually in the form of businesses lobbying government and while that is all well known, the level of lobbying that it is reported Google (News - Alert) did compared to its counterparts has some crying foul.
When talking about the largest technology companies in the world, such as AT&T, Google, Yahoo and Facebook (News - Alert), they are no strangers to Washington. Many of those companies have spent a good deal of time either dealing the FTC, the FCC or in rare occasions the Department of Justice (DOJ). When it comes to the amount of money that is being spent on lobbying activities however, Google blows the competition away, already spending more than $5 million on lobbying services between January and March of this year. More troubling than the record amount is just how much of a jump that is over previous expenditures.
If Google were regularly spending that kind of money on lobbying, the figure would be troubling, but not shocking. The fact that the number is a 240 percent jump from what it spent over the same quarter in 2011 and a 30 percent increase over the final quarter of 2011 has raised eyebrows. That $5 million bill was actually more than Microsoft, Apple (News - Alert), Facebook and Yahoo combined for on lobbying services.
Google has spent the increased dollars hiring lobbyists employed to do battle against a number of different privacy and antitrust accusations. The FTC (News - Alert) is conducting an Anti-Trust investigation to see if Google has misused its dominance in the search engine field to bully its way into other sectors. Google also recently got hit with a huge fine due to its Google Earth cars snagging unprotected data from neighborhood Wi-Fi connections.
Google also lobbied hard against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and is rumored to be working behind the scenes to change the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Edited by Jennifer Russell