Google to Dump the Chamber of Commerce?
Politico reported today that internet giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is considering dropping its membership in the Chamber of Commerce after the COC came out in support of legislation that would hamper internet companies.
The Chamber of Commerce has already lost one high-profile member over this issue. In October, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) dumped the group, citing concerns over COC's support for Patrick Leahy's short-sighted "Protect IP bill". The bill is little more than a giveaway to Hollywood production companies, and would require internet companies to essentially spy on their customers for the government.
These two internet giants are not the only players walking away from the Chamber of Commerce at this time. Again, according to a Politico report,
"The Consumer Electronics Association, one of the country's largest trade groups, is also weighing whether to part ways with the Chamber over its aggressive campaign for the Senate bill and its companion introduced in the House last week, the Stop Online Piracy Act, a tech industry source said."
It was earlier this year that Google started making noise about the ill-advised PROTECT IP bill that Leahy has been peddling. Two top Google executives — Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Public Policy Director Bob Boorstin — were out front in opposing this really terrible piece of legislation. Boorstin said then that the bill “would put the U.S. government in the very position we criticize repressive regimes for doing — all in the name of copyright.”
The PROTECT IP bill would force search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, to block websites that the government accuses of wrongdoing. Since Google and Yahoo aren't big fans of censorship, and since they're aware of the existence of the First Amendment, both companies appear prepared to tell the government to go to hell.
For now, they'll be content with withdrawing their money and support from the Chamber of Commerce.
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