Internet Association Goes to Washington26 Sep, 2012 By: Doug McPherson
WASHINGTON – The Internet Association, the nation’s first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, has joined forces with some of the country’s biggest Internet companies including Amazon.com, AOL, Facebook and Google, to beef up its ability to strengthen and protect “a free and innovative Internet.”
The association, led by president and CEO Michael Beckerman, features 14 companies in all, and according to a statement, will serve as an “umbrella public policy organization” that will “relentlessly represent the sector, in partnership with main street businesses and individual users, to ensure that the Internet will always have a voice in Washington and a seat at the table.”
The association plans to make Internet users’ voices heard by collecting stories from individuals and businesses, and then getting their thoughts on protecting Internet freedom and innovation to Capitol Hill to help Congress understand the full value of the Internet.
Beckerman says, “A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation’s economic growth. These companies are all fierce competitors in the market place, but they recognize the Internet needs a unified voice in Washington. They understand the future of the Internet is at stake and that we must work together to protect it.”
The Internet Association’s policy platform has three planks: protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users.
“The Internet is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, with an unparalleled record of job creation and innovation across all sectors,” Beckerman says. “It is the Internet’s decentralized and open model that has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity and innovation. Policymakers must understand that the preservation of that freedom is essential to the vitality of the Internet itself and the resulting economic prosperity.”
The association has said that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was not the driving force behind its formation, but it did have an influence on it. “SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act) did put an exclamation point on the justification of the group because had these bills become law, it would have been devastating to the Internet, Internet users and the Internet economy,” an association spokesperson says.