The only thing more staggering...
The only thing more staggering than the amount spent is the limitless ability of US politicians to slurp it up.
Google has single-handedly outspent Big Cable in terms of lobbying dollars so far in 2014. The ad giant spent $9.3m compared to the $8.15m spent by the NCTA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, according to the Open Secrets website, which keeps count. The NCTA represents Time Warner and Comcast and is run by …
Shame on you all! Did none of you listen to Harry Reid's impassioned (if somewhat strange) paean to lobbyists after Obama's first inaugural? He was heading into one of the privately-sponsored inaugural shindigs. A reporter stopped him and asked what had happened to all of the campaign rhetoric about changing the way business as normal is done in Washington.
Reid did not actually use the words "Tut! tut!, my dear!" as he corrected her misunderstanding. But he made clear that lobbyists are great patriots. Without their self-less dedicated assistance and wisdom those who govern simply could not function.
We in America are blessed, blessed I say, to have so many fine organizations willing to expend so many tens of millions of dollars to promote our common good. And, they do this with no expectation whatever of any return on their investment.
Further, despite the obvious temptation so much cash floating around poses to our elected officials (all of whom come from impoverished working backgrounds, and had to walk to school barefooted. . . in three feet of snow. . . uphill. . . both ways) not one penny has ever gone to buy so much as a donut hole for any elected official.
Shame on any reader who suspects otherwise.
I can see some problems with this arrangement before I even start but what about having a body of professional civil servants who hear what lobbyists have to say, does some fact checking and then writes a summary/report/whatever of the meeting and their findings and that gets passed onto the politicians who make the decision? If the money is at least one or two steps removed, perhaps it would look less like big companies buying the laws they want and are treating politicians as non-executive board members.
Google is trying to undo _decades_ of lobbying on IP which has seen copyright laws taken to ridiculous extremes, as well as a US patent system which is manifestly unfit for purpose.
There are good arguments for pulling back to the levels of Berne convention. The current situation has everybody beholden to companies which Google could actually buy with pocket change (I'm surprised they haven't gone down this path, like Sony did)
On the telco side, there are also decades of damage to undo. The Divesture of Ma Bell has been folllowed by borg-like reassembly of the monopolies _without_ that pesky universal service requirement. Every step along the way has been accompanied by promises to regulators that service levels to customers would improve and every time those improvement programs have been dropped shortly after the regulators approved mergers and/or enhanced monopolies - without the regulators blinking, or raising serious questions next time the telcos came calling. (It's pretty clear the people concerned at state-level are bought and paid for by the telcos).
The federal government's increasingly frantic attempts to stay on a war-footing(*) since the fall of the Berlin Wall have left them wrong-footed on dealing with internal matters which have the potential to seriously destabilise US society.
(*) Once the feds step down from a continual state of war-readiness, they are required to divest power back to individual states, which runs contrary to the last 60-years of federal power grab. Federal agencies employ a _lot_ of people and they're all going to resist being made redundant, even if the end result is a marked improvement in the USA economy - what the feds seem to have forgotten (but China has not) is that "War sells, but peace expands markets"
But Google isn't lobbying to undo the excesses like the ever lengthening copyright terms. They're doing stuff like trying to change the rules around fair use to remove limitations for their book scanning project, which publishers and many authors have obvious issues with.
You're apparently still believing the "do no evil" lie, but Google is a for-profit business responsible to its shareholders just like any other, and is lobbying in its own self-interest, not trying for common-sense reforms that have no effect on their business just to be nice as your wishful thinking would like to believe.
On the sorting algorithm of evil, I place Google way above the likes of Comcast and TWC.
On the particular issue of net neutrality, Google probably also spent less than NCTA, considering it is but one of the many lobbying campaigns they must have, what with patent reform, privacy, self-driving cars regulations, etc. etc.
Fact-based argument is an ancient tradition, respected by all sides, especially in such serious and nationally important issues, as demonstrated by everyone involved thus far. This is not a place for malignant insinuation or maliciously constructed inferences.
Therefore you are a poo-poo head and I win!
This post has been deleted by its author
Riddle me this. How does a sheep lead wolves away from a flock?
Riddle me thus. How many of these sheep-seeking wolves are really wolf-leading sheep?
Riddle me worse. What happens when a sheep declares a wolf, who the sheep know as really a sheep, is really a wolf being a sheep being a wolf? But what happens if the sheep declaring a sheep being a wolf is a wolf being a sheep being a wolf, is really a wolf being a sheep?
Welcome to politics! :) If you aren't a wolf, on some level, then all the bleating is ultimately about who gets to eat you.
Why do you people single out only American Companies? British Petroleum, BBC & BAE "lobby" foriegn politicians all the time as do many, many others.
The very basis of industry/business is the better you are at something, the bigger you become, the bigger you are, the richer you become, the more wealth you accumulate, the more power and influence you gain.
This is the way business works if you are successful. If you are NOT successful then you just fail, die and blow away in the wind.
All I ever hear from you commentards is alot of whining about how "unfair" US based companies are. Create something BETTER instead of whining all the time. The only methodology you have is to hamstring the better companies when providing a better product or service would be far more beneficial to EVERYONE.
Britain's Online Safety Bill is being enthusiastically endorsed in a "manifesto" issued today by MPs who were tasked with scrutinising its controversial contents.
Parliament's Joint Committee on the Online Safety Bill published the report declaring the bill would let government ministers "call time on the Wild West online."
The committee, made up of MPs and peers from various political parties, was asked to carry out a serious analysis of the controversial legislation. Surprising some onlookers, its Conservative chairman, Damian Collins MP, used the committee's 193-page report to talk about what he described as a "wider manifesto" for Big Tech regulation.
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has publicly claimed GCHQ sources told him Gmail was more secure than Parliament’s own Microsoft Office 365 deployment – but both Parliament and a GCHQ offshoot have told him to stop being silly.
The outspoken parliamentarian, who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, made his comments to BBC radio after person or persons unknown sent emails to his colleagues claiming he had quit the committee.
"I was told by friends at GCHQ that I was better off sticking to Gmail rather than using the parliamentary system because it was more secure," Tugendhat told the BBC’s Today Programme. He continued to splutter: "Frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we're giving to democracy in the United Kingdom."
Hundreds of Westminster political staffers are suing the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) after it allegedly published their salaries, holiday entitlements, and number of hours worked.
News of the lawsuit emerged after London's High Court rejected a bid for anonymity by the staffers. They sued over a March 2017 blunder by IPSA which saw a spreadsheet containing confidential personal data published on its website, freely accessible by all.
The 216 claimants, who formerly worked in the Houses of Parliament, are suing the public body - formed by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, primarily as a retort to the parliamentary expenses scandal - for misuse of private information, breach of confidence, and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.
A British government minister has claimed that cannibalism on the high seas should now be a thing of the past, as modern navigation and safety technology have made it very unlikely sailors will find themselves in circumstances where they might want to eat each other.
This hopeful statement came during a debate in the House of Lords on human rights at sea when Baron Mackenzie of Framwellgate stood to ask a question of Charlotte, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the Conservative government's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
The debate had begun with Baroness Vere answering questions about the government's policy regarding the many merchant sailors worldwide who found themselves stuck on vessels thousands of miles from home, sometimes without pay or current contracts, due to the effects of the COVID pandemic.
EU infosec agency ENISA has announced that it will begin licensing 5G network equipment providers as Britain's Parliament issued a report criticising the way Huawei was kicked out of the UK's 5G networks.
ENISA's so-called "candidate cybersecurity scheme" will operate in practice as a means of licensing 5G vendors to operate inside the political bloc.
ENISA exec director Juhan Lepassaar said in a statement today: "The certification of 5G networks emerges as the logical next step in the EU Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade. The new initiative builds on the actions already engaged in to mitigate the cybersecurity risks of the 5G technology."
The British government has denied being "complacent" over the Solarwinds hack as a fed-up peer of the realm urged a minister to "answer the question".
Lord True, the government's Cabinet Office spokesman in the House of Lords, described the attack as "a complex and global cyber incident" and said UK.gov was "working with international partners to fully understand its scale and any UK impact."
The Conservative minister had been answering questions from the House of Lords over the SolarWinds hack, the largest supply chain security breach in recent years. Although the attack had been seemingly targeted at the US, parliamentarians are worried that the British government is simply brushing off suggestions that the UK was also affected, which it certainly is.
Britain's Telecommunications Security Bill will allow anyone to sue their telco if they suffer "loss or damage" as a result of a system breach – but only if they get Ofcom's permission.
Yet buried in the details away from the China-bashing stuff is a potentially heavy stick to be wielded by telco regulator Ofcom, pitting baying crowds against telecoms operators. Currently, these operators face a maximum fine of £2m (enforced by Ofcom itself) for failing to adequately secure their networks (PDF). The new situation opens telcos up to civil litigation.
The British government should rip out Huawei's 5G mobile network equipment regardless of the facts because doing so would curry favour with Donald Trump's US, Parliament's Defence Committee has said in an extraordinary new report.
The Conservative-dominated committee said in this morning's report, The Security of 5G, that the UK's "closest allies, including the United States and Australia, originally embarked on a [Huawei] policy at odds to that of the UK. This had the potential to damage the UK's close intelligence, security and defence relationship with them, although reassurances have been given by Ministers that this was not the case."
It continued: "The Government should have considered the potential damage to key alliances enough of a risk to begin to remove Huawei from the UK's 5G network before the US sanctions were imposed."
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022