The Circuit: Tech companies spent millions on lobbying

July 23, 2013

Lobbying from tech firms: Technology firms spent millions on lobbying during the second quarter of 2013, according to public records released by the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives.

The public interest group Consumer Watchdog crunched some numbers based on the reports and said Tuesday that Facebook spending rose $1.06 million on lobbying — up from $960,000 in the same period last year. The group also reported that Microsoft spent a record $2.96 million in the second quarter, up from $2.01 million in the same period last year.

Google led the tech industry in lobbying, with $3.36 million, the group said. But across the board, companies such as Amazon, Apple, IBM and Oracle have increased their lobbying efforts, the group said.

John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s director of privacy policy, said in a statement that the expenditures are a “sad commentary on the state of our democracy.”

“Policymaking in Washington is all about who has the money and is willing to spend it,” Simpson said.

Incentive auctions: The House Energy and Commerce subpanel on technology met Tuesday to discuss incentive auctions, with input from wireless carriers T-Mobile and AT&T.

In the hearing, witnesses and lawmakers debated whether the FCC had been transparent enough as it set the rules for the auctions and whether there should be rules to ensure smaller carriers such as T-Mobile are in a better position to compete in the auctions with larger firms.

Reddit joins the Internet Association: Reddit has joined the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others by signing up with the Internet Association, a tech company lobbying organization that works on Internet issues.

“We’re really excited to be joining the Internet Association,”Reddit’s general manager, Erik Martin, said. “In spite of Reddit being an incredibly effective way to lower workplace productivity, we’ve also seen how online communities can have a transformative economic impact. It’s critically important to help leaders and policy makers at all levels understand the powerful and sometimes chaotic Internet economy, and to ensure that it remains protected to be able to operate freely.”

Apple confirms no financial data taken in hack: Apple confirmed that no financial information was taken in a breach of its developers’ Web site. The company disclosed the Thursday attack on Monday and told developers that information such as names, e-mail addresses and some contact information may have been breached.

On Tuesday, company spokesman Tom Neumayr told the Washington Post that no financial information had been leaked. The company said in a statement that more sensitive information on the site is encrypted.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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