Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Feb 2013 22:28 UTC, submitted by bowkota
In the News "The last time we looked at Silicon Valley's lobbying efforts, Google was the big spender and Apple the piker. That hasn't changed much in the past nine months. In fact, Google increased its political spending in 2012 - a Presidential election year - by nearly 90%, while Apple reduced its by 13%." Anti-SOPA or no, that's a hell of a lot of money. This should be illegal - it's thinly veiled corruption.
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Quite the opposite of illegal
by pianom4n on Tue 19th Feb 2013 23:10 UTC
pianom4n
Member since:
2010-03-21

I don't think many people realize that the right to lobby is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law ... abridging .. the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Reply Score: 2

sonnyrao Member since:
2011-07-18

lobbying == speech. I.e. talking to people. How does one make that illegal? Making talking to politicians illegal (or talking to people who talk to politicians)? Seems like that wouldn't really work.

Also, look at the issues listed:

Taxation (including the repatriation of profits earned overseas)
Education (including the use of digital textbooks in schools)
Telecommunications (including open Internet and children protection issues)
Environment (including electronic waste, Energy Star and EPEAT standards)
Trade (including free trade and border issues)
Consumer Issues (including privacy protection and the Do Not Track Me Online Act)
Investments and the SEC (including implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act)
Transportation (including the use of technology in cars and airplanes)
Computer Industry (including cybercrime)
Appropriations (including government precurement rules)
Media (including electronic publishing)
Medical (including the regulation of mobile medical devices)

Do you really think that a major tech company shouldn't be talking to elected officials about anything on that list?

Take transportation, do you want self-driving cars? What about education, should we be using more electronic textbooks?

Is it good or bad that Apple doesn't seem to want to engage the government about topics that it probably knows about more than politicians, who are probably relatively tech unsavvy?

Left to their own devices, who knows what sort of crazy stuff they would come up with. Clearly companies/people who are experts, *should* be engaging in discussions with the government, or else we'll see more BS laws that make more sense, SOPA or PIPA anyone?

The issue is much more complex than Thom's simple opinion makes it out to be.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

sonnyrao,

I'm of the mindset that elected officials should be listening to their electorate first and foremost, they shouldn't have any direct responsibilities or pressure from corporate lobbyists whom they're not supposed to be representing. Corporate lobbyists have essentially disconnected the government from it's legitimate constituents.

The way I feel it *should* work is that corporations should have to convince the public to pressure their representatives instead of taking the public out of the loop entirely as it is now. This would fix alot of problems with corporations getting disproportionate representation and entitlements without any public approval or oversight (DMCA, SOPA, etc). It would encourage more political involvement because the public's input would actually carry weight. Corruption is partly mitigated by shifting away from bribing individual politicians to bribing the entire public.

Ideally this could be done in such a way that expert panels be involved. Their work must be explicitly open for public review. Most importantly though, unlike today, experts should be employed/contracted independently by the government and definitely not be not be connected to sources of corruption such as lobbyists/corporate funding.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pianom4n,

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging .. the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Not everyone believes corporations should be treated as people in context of these constitutional rights. The feds generally declare it is so, but it is heavily debated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood_debate

Reply Parent Score: 3