Monday, January 27, 2020

Tech Companies Lavish Money on Lobbying

Interesting stuff about the power of lobbying but frightening when you think about how tech companies can get away with many things. 

In the US, lobbying is performed by either individuals or organizations whereby public campaigns (which are legally registered with the government) are undertaken to pressure governments into specific public policy actions. 

The legality of lobbying comes from their Constitution and from their version of participatory democracy. Most legal scholars and judges consider lobbying to be protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. 

Anyway, know that US Federal disclosures filed Tuesday revealed Amazon and Facebook each spent roughly $17 million to battle back Washington in 2019! 

And Google spent about $150 million on lobbying in the United States over the past decade. The next-biggest tech spenders on government lobbying in the last 10 years: Facebook spent about $81 million, and Amazon spent nearly $80 million.

The data – culled from the companies’ required filings to the government, including additional reports (e.g. historical data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics) – tell the story of an industry that increasingly has tapped its deep pockets to beat back regulatory threats and boost its bottom line. Despite massive scandals that exposed users’ personal information and even left democratic elections in digital disarray, Congress still failed to adopt new laws to limit the industry – a reality some critics attribute in part to the Silicon Valley’s aggressive and assertive lobbying prowess. 

Now we know! 

Yesterday, the Reds were back in action. In the FA Cup fourth round, minnows Shrewsbury earned an Anfield replay when the former staged a magnificent fightback to produce a 2-2 draw. 

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool looked to be heading into the fifth round for the first time since 2015 after a fine first-half finish by 18-year-old Curtis Jones was followed by a Shrews’ own goal in the opening minute of the second half. 

The League One club didn’t surrender – they battled ferociously and were rewarded with two goals in the space of 10 minutes by their sub Jason Cummings. 

And Liverpool would probably be out of the FA Cup if it wasn’t for Adrian (full name Adrián San Miguel del Castillo) – he made the crucial saves again just as he did in the last round against Everton on January 05.

Yet, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp maintains his first-team players will not be involved in the FA Cup fourth-round repeat match against Shrewsbury Town. 

I disagree because it is about amour propre. The Reds gave a wretched performance on Sunday and the replay is our chance to redeem our club pride. There are no two ways about it! 

Note: We may not like the extra fixture but it was all because of our own doing, or shall I say undoing.

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