New US lobby calls for 'free, innovative' Internet

Posted at 09/20/12 2:17 AM

WASHINGTON - A new Washington lobby group -- comprised of the biggest firms in the online space -- formally launched Wednesday, saying it would fight for a "free and innovative" Internet.

The Internet Association, calling itself the first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, released its list of 14 member companies that make up "the backbone of the Internet economy."

"A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation's economic growth," said Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive of the group.

"These companies are all fierce competitors in the marketplace, 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 member companies include Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo! and Zynga.

The association said its policy platform is based on three planks: protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users.

"The Internet is the fastest growing sector of the US economy with an unparalleled record of job creation and innovation across all sectors," Beckerman said.

"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."