Lobbying Disclosures Reveal Big Investments in Privacy Issues

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In fourth quarter lobbying disclosures, social software companies Google and Facebook made heavy investments in privacy issues and cyber security.

Google spent $3.4 million in the quarter in which an Federal Trade Commission decision on its potential antitrust violations was expected, down from $4.2 million the previous quarter. The decision didn’t come until this year. Its efforts were spread across a number of issues, including patents and copyrights, privacy, data security, broadband spectrum and free trade. Among bodies that Google lobbied were Congress, the FTC and the Executive Office of the President.

Facebook spent $1.4 million in lobbying efforts largely focused on privacy issues. It also lobbied to free up more visas for foreign high-tech workers.

Netflix, which managed to have legislation passed expressly on its behalf, spent a comparatively meager $470,000 on lobbying in the fourth quarter. It also lobbied on Internet privacy more generally.

Lobbying disclosures don’t require companies to reveal whether they lobbied for or against legislation.

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