From January to March of this year, Google spent $5 million dollars lobbying members of Congress, almost matching its entire 2010 lobbying budget of $5.2 million. The spending increase has come after the company began receiving more legal scrutiny over how it protects user privacy. In the last few months, Google has been fined for obstructing an investigation into its collection of data from unsecured WiFi networks and was caught bypassing Safari’s ‘Do Not Track’ setting. If the company’s spending rate continues, it will outpace all of big tobacco and the combined efforts of JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.
What’s the Big Idea?
Google’s efforts to fight against the SOPA and PIPA bills alone—proposed laws which restricted Internet freedoms in ways opposed by most large Internet companies—cost the company $4 million in lobbying. The bills finally died an embarrassing death after a coordinated campaign by the likes of Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and Reddit. But a new cyber bill is on the docket called CISPA, which encourages Internet companies to give information about cyber attacks and network insecurities to government officials. Negotiations between Web companies and Congress are heating up, not cooling down.