Google gets political

Written by Brett Thomas

June 19, 2007 | 08:10

Tags: #immigration #lobby #politics

Companies: #google #united-states #usa

Theodore Roosevelt, arguably one of the best US Presidents in history, once described his view on the art of diplomacy as "Walk softly and carry a big stick." Of course, over the years many people feel that policymakers have turned away from such soft-spoken tactics, opting instead for a lot of hot air and very little in the way of decision. Apparently, Google thinks it's time for a change, and moved its monstrous foot into the political arena on Monday.

Google came out with a bang, issuing a corporate statement that could be easily compared to a political manifesto: the US is too harsh on immigration policies, Internet privacy is being lost, children are not being protected from online predators in the right ways, and copyright protection has not carried forward with the times. These topics and others were covered in the company's statement, all tying into what Google says are issues "fundamental to the future of the Internet."

The California-based search giant didn't just stop at a rah-rah list of issues, though. The company has outlined some of what it thinks are the principle failings of each of these polices, and has vowed to start throwing its weight into the political arena. These points and others will be laid out in the company's upcoming public blog, which it hopes will be used as a reference point to catch politicians up to speed on the large effects of their decisions on issues affecting the Internet at large.

"Issues such as content regulation, reform of the patent system, and broadband policy are increasingly prominent on the agendas of policymakers worldwide," said Andrew McLaughlin, Director of Public Policy for Google. "We're seeking to do public policy advocacy in a Googley way. Yes, we're a multinational corporation that argues for our positions before officials, legislators, and opinion leaders. At the same time, we want our users to be part of the effort, to know what we're saying and why."

Google has also invited several US Senators and Congressmen to come talk face to face with the company at its headquarters, effectively being its own lobbyist for issues it feels are Internet related. Of course, it's also bringing politics to the Internet as well as Internet into politics - the company announced that the video site YouTube will be airing the Presidential Debate for 2008 alongside CNN.

All of this points to one very good thing and one very big question. Nothing done by Google goes without notice, and its weight in this arena will force the US Government to take a much larger look at net-affecting issues. This could be a great thing, but the one big question remains...Will Google use this power wisely?

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