Google, Facebook, eBay launch US Internet lobby

Big technology firms including Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon have joined to create a new lobby group aimed at promoting "an open, innovative and free Internet."

The Internet Association announced its formation in a statement on its website, indicating it will be headed by Michael Beckerman, a former congressional staffer.

The group, to be officially launched in September, did not name its member companies but sources familiar with the group told AFP that Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon are among them.

"The newly formed Internet Association is comprised of some of the world's most visible Internet companies and will be headquartered in Washington," the statement said.

"Beckerman will lead the Internet Association's efforts to advance public policy solutions that strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet."

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on its participation.

But a source familiar with the lobby said it "is going to be a permanent association here in Washington and will be advocating on behalf of the Internet industry and its vast community of users."

"The association will be advancing public policy solutions to strengthen America's global Internet leadership," the source told AFP, adding that the group was "the first trade association representing the Internet and Internet companies as a whole."

Beckerman said: "I am honored to lead such an important undertaking. The Internet is the greatest engine for economic growth and prosperity the world has ever known. The Internet must have a voice in Washington."

He added: "The Internet isn't just Silicon Valley anymore, the Internet has moved to Main Street. Our top priority is to ensure that elected leaders in Washington understand the profound impacts of the Internet and Internet companies on jobs, economic growth and freedom."

Beckerman was deputy staff director to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications and Internet policy. He previously was an aide to Representative Fred Upton.

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