Google’s $5 Million on Lobbyists: Privacy advocates worried

We have recently noted the growing impact of social media upon politics and two weeks ago reported on the fact that Google was protecting its interests by using lobbying in California to oppose a Social Network Privacy act. Now we’ve seen some news that illustrates exactly how seriously Google is taking lobbying.

If I told you that in 2010 Google spent more on lobbying than Facebook, Yahoo and Apple combined you might be shocked, but the statistics bear this out. According to Sarah Kessler over on Mashable, the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database states that Google spending on lobbyists in 2010 was $5.16 million. That means that since Google took on its first lobbyists in 2006, spending has increased each year.

By comparison Facebook paid lobbyists $351,390, Apple paid out $1.6 million and Yahoo spent $2.2 million. Legislation last year increasingly covered issues such as online privacy and net neutrality so as Kessler points out, the reasons for the increase in Google’s spending are clear. However the amount of money being paid to Google lobbyists is an area of concern for some privacy advocates who disagree with Google policies. Indeed a Consumer Watchdog privacy advocate, John Simpson, said, “It’s a huge increase and shows that Google has become a high-stakes influence peddler throwing its weight around Washington like the rest of corporate America.”

Tom Krazit over on Cnet also looks into the Google spending on lobbying and tells more about some of the issues that Google has lobbied Congress on in Washington. What are your thoughts about this big spend by Google? Do you think that large corporations that have vast amounts of money to spend, could be gaining too much influence on policies, or maybe you feel differently? We’d be really interested to hear your opinions on this so please do send us your comments.