Tech giants form new Internet lobby group

SAN FRANCISCO — Google, Facebook, Amazon and 11 other technology heavyweights on Wednesday announced that they have formed a lobby group, vowing 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 United States, it said in a press release.

The association now has 14 members, namely, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster, Rackspace,, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga.

Although Apple and Microsoft are absent from the list, the group said it represents “the unified voice of the Internet economy.”

“A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation’s economic growth,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association.

He said those 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 U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton. The group is based in Washington.

Tech giants have been more politically savvy these years as U.S. lawmakers are putting more attention to issues like on-line privacy and competition.

Google spent a record 5.03 million U.S. dollars on lobbying during the first quarter this year, a big increase from 1.48 million dollars in the same period last year.

Facebook also broke its lobbying record in the second quarter of 2012, the quarter during which the company went public. It spent 960,000 dollars in wooing politicians, tripling the money it spent in the same period of 2011.