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Web Giants Form US Internet Lobby Group

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-our-powers-combine dept.

Facebook 94

judgecorp writes "Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon have apparently set up the Internet Association to lobby the US government on issues relating to online business. From the article: 'The Internet Association, which will open its doors in September, will act as a unified voice for major Internet companies, said President Michael Beckerman, a former adviser to the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.'"

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Ick (5, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787849)

Put simply, there are too few "voices of conscience" in that list for my comfort.

Got to be In it to win it... (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787909)

Got to be In it to win it... Into corruption I mean, to win laws favourable to your industry. Ick, how "democracy" has degenerated...

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (2)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787965)

Mathematically democracy is about what you deserve as a collection, so you can't really degenerate it. Corruption is just part of the reward. The thing about what's best is a bit of a myth.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788005)

Democracy is about proportional representation, something the USA doesn't know about with its First Past the Post system.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (3, Informative)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788663)

A lot of problems could be solved if we just took the D and R off the balots. Just think if you had to know the name of the guy you were voting for!

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (4, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788785)

As if the system is not personalised enough! People should vote for policies, not faces. We don't need any more vain politicians with bloated egos spitting out demagogic bullshit while taking bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H contributions from big corporations.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40791239)

Executives juries, better known as Sortition [wikipedia.org] .

Let the parties present governing strategies and work similarly to experts in trials by jury, but let the jury decide on the ultimate actions. Juries must be large enough to statistically represent the population they --you know-- represent.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789707)

That is so true. Look at the options we are given. A guy who ignores that America's creit card is maxed out and still wants to spend spend spend. And a guy who has more money than God and wants to be Prez simply because he's bored and wants to be very very powerful. We are doomed either way. Do I choose to jump off the cliff or be eaten by the lion?

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788361)

Not just that...you have to be able to bid against Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Insurance, Wall Street, etc. etc. etc. for some of your Representative's or Senator's time.

That's the problem with corruption in government: Once it begins, it only gets worse until "We, the People" get hyper-aggressive about trimming it back is if it were derelict hedges in the yards of a neighborhood's abandoned houses.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (4, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788399)

Agreed, however the biggest bidder of all is the Military Industrial Complex [wikipedia.org] . They have developed lots of new toys [slashdot.org] and techniques to "control crowds". All specifically designed so that you, citizen, are never allowed to trim that derelict hedge... ever. Just look at what they are throwing at Julian Assange/Wikileaks, the first modern journalist/publishing platform [salon.com] designed to inform citizens on how corrupt, dirty and vile our governments have really become.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788845)

I think Private Eye [wikipedia.org] got there first (1961), although it's a UK publication only, so I don't know how well known it is outside the UK.

Re:Got to be In it to win it... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#40797211)

Got to be In it to win it... Into corruption I mean, to win laws favourable to your industry. Ick, how "democracy" has degenerated...

The only true form of self-sustaining government is anarchy, Are we there yet?

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787953)

> there are too few "voices of conscience
COMPILER ERROR: can't reference 'conscience' while in 'corporate business' context

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788027)

Any voice aiming to get government to point guns a particular way has no conscience.

Re:Ick (-1, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788713)

But you think that the system that is in place, with all the gov't power and all the other interests has conscience?

Google and the rest need to PROTECT themselves against the evil power of government threat of violence. They have to protect themselves, they are not attacking government, they are trying to protect themselves against the government attack.

I would be so happy to see a huge number of corporations in USA to form one coalition and build an army and send it to take down the fucking government, that would be a good start.

Re:Ick (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788759)

I would be so happy to see a huge number of corporations in USA to form one coalition and build an army and send it to take down the fucking government, that would be a good start.

What a great idea. What could possibly go wrong? (cue immense wall of text)

Re:Ick (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788795)

it would be basically one set of corporations fighting another set. Of-course it's very hard to beat Lockheed Martin and Boeing, no question about it.

As Romney said: corporations are people, my friend.

Of-course corporations are the people who run them, the entity is a fiction, there are always people behind the corporate fiction.

There is one set of people, who are on the dole, this includes the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, but this also includes all the other welfare recipients (from SS to Medicare, business regulations for monopolies to banks).

OTOH there are the people who are paying for all this nonsense and they can either fight it or leave.

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790729)

it would be basically one set of corporations fighting another set. Of-course it's very hard to beat Lockheed Martin and Boeing, no question about it.

Well these internet companies have plenty of dirt to blackmail people with, lawmakers for example.

There is one set of people, who are on the dole, this includes the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, but this also includes all the other welfare recipients (from SS to Medicare, business regulations for monopolies to banks).

OTOH there are the people who are paying for all this nonsense and they can either fight it or leave.

I think it's worth bearing in mind that all the institutions you name have at times measurably grown the wealth of the nation through their enterprises. Sure you can't know ahead of time what enterprise will bear fruit, but if we left it to investors/banks then we'd get nothing revolutionary and/or new as demonstrated by entertainment industry churning out the same tired old ideas.

At the end of the day somebody has to take a chance and bet their shirt on something. It seems sensible to me that as society at large stands to reap the rewards society at large to share the cost. Which they do anyway just not so noticably. After all somebody has to accommodate the shirtless guy, whether it be a friend, a charity or a prison.

Re:Ick (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#40802691)

And when the People's Revolutionary Army of Facebook defeats the actual people's army the people will be (better/worse off). Remember to read some non-libertarian history books before answering.

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788923)

I would be so happy to see a huge number of corporations in USA to form one coalition and build an army and send it to take down the fucking government, that would be a good start.

Then go do it yourself. Start your own corporation. Buy up armies. Get other corporations to join you. Take the fight to the US or whichever government you hate.

Why is it you people who praise the free market way - individuals acting by their own will, using their own power/capital to solve their own problems without government - are often the LAST people to do just that?

You wish other corporations would fight. How about you take action yourself, so you don't have to "wish" for the charity of others? Why wait and hope for somebody else to do something that makes you happy, when you can make yourself happy by doing it yourself?

In fact, with this move by the web giants, it's the perfect opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. I'm sure they'll accept free gifts and donations.

Re:Ick (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789039)

they are trying to protect themselves against the government attack.

Name one time in American History that the average citizen has been able to successfully defend themselves from civil authorities. The Branch Davidians? Ruby Ridge? The Whiskey Rebellion? Just holding a gun at the wrong time is often called 'suicide by cop'. The American Revolution and the Civil War ware both revolts of the local civil authority against the wishes of many of it's constituents.

Re:Ick (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789113)

Name one time in American History that the average citizen has been able to successfully defend themselves from civil authorities. The Branch Davidians?

In a Govt v. Loonies fight, I know who I'd want to win.

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40792207)

Name one time in American History that the average citizen has been able to successfully defend themselves from civil authorities. The Branch Davidians?

In a Govt v. Loonies fight, I know who I'd want to win.

This is Slashdot. You must be new here. We clearly want the loonies to win, because the government conspiracy corporation sheeple free ducks attack our rights our rights in Soviet Russia Linux BSD our rights taco share not technically "stealing" open privacy CowboyNeal grits Bitcoins petrified!

Re:Ick (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789177)

Civil war - Two comparably trained armies fighting each other - not civilians
American Revolution - the militia was losing until they got proper training and support (from France, Spain and the Dutch Republic) and became an army ... ...so even those do not count as civilian's prevailing against the government

Re:Ick (1, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789097)

I would be so happy to see a huge number of corporations in USA to form one coalition and build an army and send it to take down the fucking government, that would be a good start.

Scratch a libertarian and fascist blood comes out.

Re:Ick (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789173)

Fuck you, gov't is the fascist system in power, that merges the political system with the preferred corporations. The other businesses end up paying for all of this.

The people who are paying for the nonsense of gov't stealing and spending on itself and on its preferred corporations, these people should be tired of this huge wealth transfer.

The politicians are buying the votes of the majority of the population via huge wealth transfers, and the companies that are paying for all of this are demonised.

The power is in the hands of fascists, and you are a fucking supporter of that system. Who are you supporting, is it Lockheed Martin and Boeing or is it Bank of America, City, JPMorgan and Goldman?

Re:Ick (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789183)

Scratch an US libertarian....

Like many terms libertarian seems to mean different things in the USA, see also Democrat, Republican, Political Right, Left etc ...

Re:Ick (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40790845)

Scratch an US libertarian...

roman_mir is (apparantly) from Russia.

Re:Ick (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40790103)

By the way, whoever is moderating you is just as much an idiot as you are. Definition of a fascist is somebody who wants to see the private people fight government power that consists of politicians and preferred monopolies?

You are all a joke.

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790231)

You are all a joke.

Most people are jokes, that's why tyranny is the better option. Free market capitalism doesn't work because these type of people always exist to screw it up.

Tyranny and oppression is the only way to keep these people in line. Just imagine if you were the one and only moderator of slashdot: you can censor and delete and ban all these jokes!

you are the joke ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40791947)

you are the joke ! a joke almost as laughable as your godhero ron paul's pathetic presidential campaign . hows that going, btw lol ?

who is roman mir ?

just a whiny little nazi bitch, thats who !

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40795155)

By the way, whoever is moderating you is just as much an idiot as you are

So says the person who is spouting off nonsense with no root in reality.
 
 

Definition of a fascist is somebody who wants to see the private people fight government power that consists of politicians and preferred monopolies?

You are apparently ignoring the fact that under the completely unregulated market that you preach for, there would no longer be any such thing as "private people", at least for the vast majority of people. Most people would be effectively owned by their employers. Hence the notion of "private people fight government" is at best a ruse and much closer to an outright lie. When the market is expected to solve all problems and there are zero regulations on corporations, worker exploitation runs rampant as the workers are inevitably treated like property. Hence there may be an army gathered to "fight government" but it will be anything but a volunteer army.
 
 

You are all a joke.

A lot of us were wondering if you were actually the joke, proposing all these massive contradictions. If you are half as smart as you portray yourself to be, you should be aware of where your proposals break down. Or are you actually sharing them just to show how absurd they are?

Re:Ick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797773)

I would be so happy to see a huge number of corporations in USA to form one coalition and build an army and send it to take down the fucking government, that would be a good start.

how would we ever know if that happened, aside from the bloodshed? the resulting government would be exactly the same as what we have now, our country ruled by large corporations with essentially zero liability. people with no money would have no say - same as now. any attempt to pass non-pro-corporate legislation would be shot down by corporate interests - same as now.

the only thing that would change is that everything would become rapidly more expensive for the middle and lower class. of course the upper class wouldn't mind since they'd pay no taxes at all - which isn't much different than right now.

Re:Ick (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788741)

The headline says "lobby" and you say "conscience"?

It'd be a mistake to think these companies have our interests at heart. Our interests just coincide when it comes to stuff that hurt both internet companies and internet users - like repressive copyright legislation, and a lack of net neutrality. On other matters - like privacy - they shouldn't be trusted.

Goal (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787853)

"Lets figure out how we can keep people communicating insecurely without privacy, while exploiting their ignorance and hunger for low-quality goods"

Ideally, this leads to a future with virtual cars that no longer consume gas. We just probably lack the proper MMORPG to represent life, but I am sure we can do wonders with some better government support. We just need to grease the wheels with more campaign contributions.

First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787855)

And only one, at this point.

Call me a cynic but.... (4, Interesting)

tebee (1280900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787859)

I think it's a sad reflection on our political system that we need to do this.

The next question is will it be it be dishonest enough to grease the right palms and have some real influence?

But it's good that such a large industry now has a voice there.
     

Re:Call me a cynic but.... (5, Insightful)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787985)

The Good: The greater web gets a voice in the US lobby
The Bad: The voice belongs to people who make fortunes about exploiting web participant's data...

Really this can be a win situation or a lose situation. No one will know until they actually bring something up.
Still it is very soon to be just running around yelling "Hurray"

Re:Call me a cynic but.... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789847)

People in power tend to work together to solidify and reinforce their position in life. Often by erecting barriers to entry after the fact. Nothing good will come out of this. Once you walk into DC, you become a living member of the castle while everyone else is stuck outside living in serfdom.

Re:Call me a cynic but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797137)

Fine, then we'll go build our own internet. With blackjack! And hookers!

Re:Call me a cynic but.... (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40791525)

Any tool can be used well, or abused. And yeah, lobbies are usually abused.

But if you look at the folks involved, there are some good attributes. Sure, none of these guys are likely to be privacy advocated. On the other hand, they may well be able to stand up for an Open Internet against the telco and Hollywood lobbies, since they all benefit from an open internet.

And I'm sure, like most lobbying groups, they'll be hiring the same kind of K-Street rats that all the other guys hire. So it's not as if they'll have any shortage of evil in the actual lobbyists. They'll know who's palms to grease.

Re:Call me a cynic but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790521)

I wouldn't say it's sad at all, and if you'll allow me a small hyperbole, I rather see it as an expected and necessary evolutionary step.

The internet grew from nothing to everything within the span of a few decades, and while some may argue that this was plenty of time to do something about it, the fact remains that politicians are not internet experts and could not have been expected to be. If anything, they are some of the least knowledgeable people in this respect! They are lawyers, salesmen, and dealmakers first and foremost: nothing of their schooling and professional experience has been in information technology. What's more, business has always been (and still is) handshakes and contracts. They are also of a certain age, which inevitably breeds a resistance to learning.

So I say this is a great step forward. This is the market stepping in to fix a problem that, while entirely understandable, still needs fixing, and fast. Since the solution has not come within, it has been brought from without. Like most commenters here, I am of course wary of the big names running the show, but iI find it's a step in the right direction nonetheless.

Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (5, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787877)

I remember this being something that came up during the fight over SOPA: Namely, that while the entertainment industry is used to lobbying the government, the tech industry was fractured and didn't see lobbying as a high priority, so the success Hollywood had at railroading some of those crazy ideas just blindsided them. (Stacked hearings, deliberately ignoring experts, etc.) It became clear that something would have to level the field, and since we know the RIAA, MPAA and friends aren't going to back off on their lobbying (and we know the government isn't going to stop listening to lobbyists), the solution is a tech lobby.

Re:Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787945)

I remember this being something that came up during the fight over SOPA: Namely, that while the entertainment industry is used to lobbying the government, the tech industry was fractured and didn't see lobbying as a high priority, so the success Hollywood had at railroading some of those crazy ideas just blindsided them. (Stacked hearings, deliberately ignoring experts, etc.) It became clear that something would have to level the field, and since we know the RIAA, MPAA and friends aren't going to back off on their lobbying (and we know the government isn't going to stop listening to lobbyists), the solution is a tech lobby.

I concur and until someone poses a better option then reading techdirt and getting pissy about it or literally setting shit on fire, it has to be done a dollar a time(crowdfunded)...

So, do we beat them at their own game? Or, do we literally start setting shit on fire? Please tell me because I am all for either.
If the internet is the wild wild west then I reserve the right to rope Chris Dodd and Jan Brewer together and drag them down a dirt road behind a crowdfunded fucking horse.

Nigel

Nigel

Re:Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787997)

Must try harder to make said point without typos but at least every time I fuck it up I help to digitize a book... oh, wait...
Nigel

Re:Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (2)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789133)

If the internet is the wild wild west then I reserve the right to rope Chris Dodd and Jan Brewer together and drag them down a dirt road behind a crowdfunded fucking horse.

Most of us would rather not live in the mythic wild west that so distorts the US psyche.

Re:Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788803)

Ideally this lobby will push an anti-SOPA too that enshrines in law all the things that would prevent the RIAA from arbitrarily censoring the internet, would prevent companies having to give up user data, or even retain it etc. etc.

Something the net would actually get behind, just like it worked against SOPA, and would hence likely have a strong chance of passing.

I really hope they put the same effort into lobbying as those they're claiming to compete against, and push back in the other direction - to push laws that actually help the internet, rather than simply act as a reactionary force to content industry lobbyists.

Re:Gee, thanks SOPA. Sort of. (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789857)

would prevent companies having to give up user data, or even retain it etc. etc.

Google and Facebook are never going to give up retaining user data. If anything, it's in their interest to push for laws which would enable them to store as much of it as they can for as long as they please. This is what allows them to get advertisers, who are their customers. We, the users, are their commodity.

Free Lunch on K Street (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787887)

Great. It's good to see these underrepresented citizens with limited economic power finally have a voice in Washington.

An Idea they should raise (5, Interesting)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 2 years ago | (#40787911)

How about outlawing Software Patents? It costs them more than it costs me, and it isn't even a barrier to entry.

Re:An Idea they should raise (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788451)

Google and facebook I could see fighting for that to an extent. Amazon a bit less so, and FSM help us if microsoft or apple calls the right to join this unified front.

Re:An Idea they should raise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790911)

Google and facebook I could see fighting for that to an extent. Amazon a bit less so, and FSM help us if microsoft or apple calls the right to join this unified front.

Google just spent billions buying Motorola, and it openly admitted that the only reason it was doing it was for "defensive" patents. Even though we all know Google is completely altruistic and would never use them to Do Evil, I doubt it intends to make a big push to devalue those assets anytime soon.

I'm 50-50 on this, I guess. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40787919)

Google is fine, they've only done a few things to upset me (privacy problems aside).
Amazon is... tolerable. They do some questionable things now and then, but overall they're all right.
Facebook is bad in that while they seem as intent on invading your privacy as much as Google, they contribute little back, unlike Google.
eBay, or rather PayPal, is flat out evil for reasons better explained in (of all places) an Encyclopedia Dramatica article [encyclopediadramatica.se] (warning: potentially NSFW). I will never, ever do business with them and I urge others to follow suit.

Re:I'm 50-50 on this, I guess. (3, Interesting)

darkain (749283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788139)

"they [facebook] contribute little back"

http://opencompute.org/ [opencompute.org]

https://github.com/facebook/ [github.com]

Facebook is giving back some rather large projects to the global open source community.

Re:I'm 50-50 on this, I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40802539)

With excellent contributions like this one:

"Large, bloated Javascript framework with an unintuitive, verbose syntax and very few features. Browsing its inelegant, poorly written source is an unwelcome experience."

https://github.com/facebook/javelin

Re:I'm 50-50 on this, I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788345)

Get back to me when Paypal needs a taxpayer bailout, bro. Fuck the banks.

Re:I'm 50-50 on this, I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40789689)

There's nothing available internationally except PayPal. And all the bad stories I've heard about PayPal are from their USA branch anyway.

That's the end of the internet as we know it (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788189)

In the US 'x' gets corrupted by corporate interest. For 'x' of course
politics came first -- the rest is a cinch.

finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788251)

Silicon Valley makes more money than Hollywood, it's time they made their voices heard.

Now I'm sure it's not all going to be good stuff for intance Facebook and Google writing a law for mandatory "internet ID" using their services of course. That would be bad.

But putting an end to the shenanigans of horrible people like Chris Dodd may be worth it.

Either way, Hollywood needs to step aside and make way for Silicon Valley.

Re:finally! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789219)

Either way, Hollywood needs to step aside and make way for Silicon Valley.

Revenge of the Nerds indeed.

The people's lobby (5, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788429)

If laws are bought by the lobbiest with the most cash, why not start kickstarter campaigns for various sensible laws and see if we can outbid the corporations. Some laws are bought with surprisingly desultory amounts of cash. Not that's it's a particularly important law, but as an example i bet if you started a kickstarter to lobby for the legalisation of cannabis, you'd get millions. And for the abolition of the TSA.

Re:The people's lobby (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789223)

There are many "people's" lobbies. The common perception of them is that they represent special interests, which of course they do. Think unions, NRA, Tea Party, etc. Yea, I hear the screaming that the ebil corporations are behind some of them, but for the most part they're supported by people with an interest in the subject. That's how politics works.

Re:The people's lobby (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789683)

Think about how long it would take Government to kill kickstarter. How long before it appears on Kickstarter: "We need 1 million dollers to buy the legalisation of cannabis from Government" At the moment they are just about able to hide the cold fact that you can buy any law you like, but if you put that up on Kickstarter, then it would become impossible to ignore.

Re:The people's lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790411)

Yep. Don't fix the corruption problem. Line the pockets of those that best benefit from it with more money. Surely that will change things right?

Re:The people's lobby (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 2 years ago | (#40809643)

Maybe it's the only way to change things. Bribe them to pass anti-corruption laws. It would have to be implemented slowly, like boiling frogs, in much the same way the general population has been trained to accept massive blatant corruption.

Re:The people's lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40791221)

Lobbying used to be called corruption. When did that change? Why is bribery legal today?

Bad deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788473)

This will not end well.

I can think of so many ways this will turn out badly for me the tech user.

And only one or two ways things could turn out that might be considered 'good'. But that's only if.... i don't mind bowing to the power of a corporation to save me from the power of a goverment.

At least the corporation only wants your money. All of it.

Re:Bad deal. (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788499)

The corporation doesn't just want your money. It wants whatever possible power might be used somehow to get any of your money, even a little bit of it.

At least the government is controlled by a majority of voters, each of whom gets one vote. With exceptions where corporations have actually rigged the vote. The main problem is getting a majority of adult citizens to vote for people they're adequately informed about. Which fails mostly where corporations actually rig the turnout and the informing.

Democratic government is a problem that can be solved adequately. Corporate government, or corporate anarchy, cannot be solved adequately except by democratic government.

Re:Bad deal. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789345)

Your government - You are represented by :

    Two senators : Selected by one of the two parties, and in a lot of states got in almost automatically due to the voting of other people
    Several Representatives : Selected by one of the two parties, and in many areas got in almost automatically
    A President : Selected by one of two parties then voted by electoral college which may mean not a strict majority of the people

I assume there are republicans and independents in e.g. Connecticut, who represents them : 1 Democrat President, 2 Democrat Senators, 5 Democrat Representatives?

Re:Bad deal. (1)

hazydave (96747) | about 2 years ago | (#40794445)

Well, hey, not always. Some companies, like Google, have realized correctly that you don't have any money. So they don't want your money, they want the information about you they can sell to someone who actually has money.

In theory, yeah, the government IS us, in a Democracy. But in practice, not so much. Your elected representative doesn't have to necessarily represent your interests, particularly when s/he's dependent on millions in campaign funds coming from somewhere else. All this person really needs to do to be re-elected is convince enough people s/he's doing a better job than the [usually lone] opponent. And otherwise stay out of trouble, keep away from sex with interns, that sort of thing. And even that seems fairly difficult for many professional politicos. But voters, as a class, are stupid... and that's even just counting those who do vote.

Bottom line is, with all this non-individual money in politics, don't expect politics to represent the individual. And while We the People in theory have the ability to completely stop all Corporate spending in politics, stop all Lobbying, reclassify non-individual donations as bribery, pretty much whatever we want ... we're just not that organized. They are. Do the math.

Re:Bad deal. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40810495)

No, you've got your pointers to streams garbled.

You have some money. Otherwise Google wouldn't get any money for selling the info about you to someone who has money. And in fact they don't sell info about you, they use that info about you to sell you, or at least the part of you that spends money. The people whose money Google takes for access to you get their money from you. Google's model is for advertisers to aggregate through sales lots of small amounts of money into piles of large amounts of money, from which Google takes a small amount for each of the many piles. That is the classic advertising model, which Google reinvented with microtargeted marketing interactive with the actual sales transaction. It's extremely efficient, and the info model that controls distribution of the microtargeting lends itself to scale economies.

So like I said, Google is an excellent example of a company that wants your money, even just a little bit of it, and whatever power it needs to somehow get it. It turns out that the power it needs requires a global surveillance of everyone's research and telecommunications. Which it's got, despite the obviously overwhelming power to do more than just "get everyone's money" Google also now has. The fact that (AFAWK) Google uses that power only to get as much money as it can from us shows what it wants.

You're missing the government pointer, too. Democracy is rule by the people; America's people elect the government that rules. Those elected people are representatives, because we have a democratic republic: the public is represented by other people, not directly represented by itself. As far back as Plato (in "The Republic") people have wrestled with how to get representatives to represent the people. The challenge is to give representatives the power to lead the people when a meeting is better than a mob. America's democratic republic balances that challenge on a constitution, that prevents both the representatives and the people from doing whatever they have the power to do in the moment. Further our constitution specifies judges and processes that limit the power of the people and the representatives to act, at least not without the public cooperating with the representatives to do so. It also specifies an executive to represent what the representatives collectively would do, but accountable directly to the people so also embodying the cooperation between the public and the representatives. Indeed our entire Constitution specifies a machine to balance the people against ourselves, against our representatives, our representatives against each other, and all against fundamental principles that are rights of the people which would be ignored or violated by some of these other people if they weren't specified as the basis of any and all power.

The people are stupid because they ignore how private powers lie them into consenting to be ruled wrong, the purpose of the propaganda machine. Even today the people increasingly insist that corporations, which is private people forming a private government for concentrated private power akin to the public government's power, take the power to educate the people away from the government. The representatives who are sponsored more by corporations than by people are of course leading that conversion. Some people are stupider than others, even those who are cunning in their ways to get short term power for a few people including themselves, but who are stupid enough to wreck the balance that first put them in power (and educated their cunning), and later will be unavailable to protect them and their friends/family/neighbors when they've outlived their utility.

You are exactly right where you make the distinction that leaves the people both vulnerable and active against ourselves: organization. The government is deliberately organized to resist rapid action that any substantial amount of people, even a minority, prefer. However, the people organized into corporations do have a lot of competition with each other, which inhibits their cooperation. We used to have vastly more competition among media corporations, the most essential private business; the core of our accelerated demise lies in the government/media complex that betrays the people at every turn.

But despite that advantage, that corporations have had for over a century (prior to which their equivalents operated legal monopolies, and even owned millions of people in slavery while genociding millions more), our Constitution remains almost entirely balanced. Its worst failure was slavery, which it originally protected by assigning slaveowners extra representatives (in the House and in the Electoral College) based on how many slaves they'd bought and bred (this to elect Jefferson over Adams); and by protecting slave importation [cornell.edu] until at least 1808. Not until abolitionists organized across the country did America begin to eliminate slavery, while the slave states remain among the least organized citizens the most easy (and enthusiastic) prey of corporate power.

"In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve." The people are free to waive our power, and we always have more or less. But corporate power to take our money is largely out of the reach of the people, except through our democratic government. The point is that we have this power and can use it through government. Through corporations we have little but the power to take money. Those structures aren't going to change, except to squander the only power we have, in government.

Internet Cartel (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788483)

This "association" is a gang of monopolists who grudgingly admit they can't eliminate each other as competition, so they join together to avoid competing. In other words, a cartel. That plans to enforce their cartel with government power.

Why not? They're basically 21st Century phone companies. The telco cartel worked out so well in the 20th Century that it hauled in many hundreds of $BILLIONS, and even wiretapped every American for years with impunity - forging the basis of power for this new generation cartel.

Re:Internet Cartel (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | about 2 years ago | (#40793017)

It may be a bad thing that our government works this way, overall, but the thing that comes to mind for me is "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". The telcos/major ISPs are fighting tooth and nail on K street to change the model of the internet that has worked so well for us and coincidentally these large companies. Of course I am well aware of "The Scorpion and the Frog" in this scenario.

sourcewatch.org? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788613)

I hope someone with an account on sourcewatch.org adds this entry.

If you're a good writer with some time.. this would be a good thing to do.

(I would, but I'm afraid I wouldn't do it justice)

Facebook and Google paving the way.... (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40788683)

What could go wrong?

I mean, I like Google and all, but I can't say I trust them or Facebook to "make" internet policy...

Tired of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788877)

Alright, the internet's clearly circling the drain.

Let's all start a new internet - call it something like interweb, innernet... I don't care. Let's just do it.

How bout it, Science?

Re:Tired of it (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789437)

Alright, the internet's clearly circling the drain.

Let's all start a new internet - call it something like interweb, innernet... I don't care. Let's just do it.

How bout it, Science?

The first thing to do is to make the new interweb impossible to use for commerce.

That then automatically rules out Facebook, Amazon, Google and the rest of the for-profit organisations from having any interest in it.

Remember when "lobbys" were highly illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40788981)

They were considered (and are) treason for the politicians, and could (and should) land both the "lobbyist" and the politician in jail for 10+ years. And not the nice one.
(No idea if those times ever existed in the USA though. But here they did.)

Now everyone has a "lobby". Everyone except for US, the people.

Lobbying should not be allowed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40789363)

RANT

Lobbyists are one of the major problems with the U.S. government, they serve no legitimate function and are nothing but vectors of corruption. Corporate apologists will argue that corporations need representation too but they would be lying to you. Corporations are made up of people, and each person (that is a citizen) has one vote, the same as everyone else. Corporations, through lobbyists, should not be allowed to buy specialty legislation (like the extension to copyright that was purchased by Disney). All legislation that comes out of Washington should support the public good, not a few of the rich and powerful.

/RANT

More rent seeking (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789475)

This shows a really sad state of affairs for the U.S. government. The fact that these companies feel it is worth their time and money to lobby the U.S. government to get what they need shows:

1. That they no longer believe that they can control their own corporate destiny sufficiently without the government mandating new laws to their liking
2. That it's more efficient for them to lobby the government to get what they want than to risk doing things without the government
3. That the U.S. government has far too much authority and perceived "value" that these companies want a piece of

My solution is simple: reduce the size and scope of the government and these companies will no longer feel like they have anything to gain from lobbying the government.

Re:More rent seeking (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789839)

My solution is simple: reduce the size and scope of the government and these companies will no longer feel like they have anything to gain from lobbying the government.

...or have anything to lose by ignoring their laws.

Re:More rent seeking (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | about 2 years ago | (#40801179)

My solution is simple: reduce the size and scope of the government and these companies will no longer feel like they have anything to gain from lobbying the government.

...or have anything to lose by ignoring their laws.

So by your "logic," a government should have as many laws as possible, because this is ultimately what makes people and corporations moral. What you're lamenting, in reality, is that people don't behave the way that you desire them to. People (and companies and other organizations) are diverse. The best government is the least government (I didn't say none). Set a very consistent set of basic rules, provide an efficient and fair judicial system, and then live people to live their lives as they see fit. If you disagree with that, then I say how many laws is enough before companies and individuals are all moral and utopia is obtained?

Re:More rent seeking (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40814061)

The best government is the least government (I didn't say none).

This is where we fundementally differ, size has nothing to do with good governance.

Re:More rent seeking (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | about 2 years ago | (#40820253)

The best government is the least government (I didn't say none).

This is where we fundementally differ, size has nothing to do with good governance.

Ok, that's fair that we differ. Then in your opinion, what is it that defines good governance? How does good governance go bad? How is it that a country goes from bad governance to good governance?

So this is the moment of my Generation Maturing (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789677)

At 26, I'm the first generation to grow up with a home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up. I've always been part of the hip, young, generation and Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon are the companies of my generation. Most were started (and most are manned) by my peers and I can remember the first time I heard about all of them. Now they are forming a Lobby, and it's only a few short years until these companies are the entrenched establishment and some young kids feel disenfranchised to rebel against their corporate and government and internet Big Brothers.

When do I get to start saying "Get off my lawn?"

Re:So this is the moment of my Generation Maturing (1)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 2 years ago | (#40791043)

At 26, I'm the first generation to grow up with a home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up....[yawn]... When do I get to start saying "Get off my lawn?"

At 40... I'm the first generation to grow up with home computer, a computer lab at school, to learn using video games, and to learn programming as I grew up... Now pick up your skateboard and GET OFF MY LAWN!

A "unified" voice? (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40789803)

For...who exactly?
So we've got an ad company, a company that steals and sells personal data, a dwindling marketplace, and a growing marketplace.
Yes, these four companies are totally represent the internet well... /sarcasm

Snowcrash (1)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 2 years ago | (#40790277)

anyone else feel we're headed closer and closer to the idea of corporate enclaves?

I'm from the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40790823)

Now when some guy in a dark suit says "I'm from the Internet" it will actually mean something.
And he'll be a lawyer.

Well (1)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40792259)

If you can't beat them ... arrange to have them beaten.

To infinity and beyond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40792477)

The suit looks like Buzz Lightyear. Im not the first to notice this, just the first to post it here.

Wonderful! (1)

endus (698588) | about 2 years ago | (#40794207)

There is absolutely no possibility that this is going to benefit us peons in any way.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40794965)

Oh joy. The Internet Chamber of Commerce.

What could possibly go wrong?

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