Google Goes Lobbying

Google has hired a Washington, D.C. lobbyist to represent its interests on legislative matters. It said the hire marks the beginning of a concerted program to influence U.S. policy on issues like copyright and regulation of the telecommunications sector.

“It seems that policymaking and regulatory activity in Washington, D.C. affect Google and our users more every day,” wrote Andrew McLaughlin, senior policy counsel, in a post to the company’s official blog. “It’s important to be involved — to participate in the policy process and contribute to the debates that inform it. So we’ve opened up a shop there.”

Google’s first Washington staffer is Alan Davidson, who has been associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). Davidson’s work for the CDT has focused on free speech online, broadband, the creation of standards, and international jurisdiction. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s program in communications, culture, and technology.

His work in the private sector included a stint as a senior consultant to Booz-Allen & Hamilton, building information systems for NASA’s Space Station Freedom Project.

Google’s statement did not address the company’s stance on some legislative issues that could affect its business model, now and in the future. These include topics such as the use of consumer data and trademark use in online advertising. Geico and Google last month settled a long-standing trademark suit, leaving questions about the legality of using trademarked terms in ad copy.

Representatives of the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

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