What do Facebook, Google, IAC, eBay, AOL, LinkedIn, Rackspace, Yahoo, Zynga, TripAdvisor, and Salesforce have in common? Apart from the fact that they are all big online companies, these fourteen firms have joined a newly-formed group called The Internet Association.
According to its official website, the simple but succinctly-named organization is “dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth and empower users.” Its stakeholders are not only the Internet companies but also the consumers, which The Internet Association will represent in Congress.
Among the organization’s platform policies are “protecting Internet freedom, fostering innovation and economic growth, and empowering users.”
By protecting Internet freedom, it means the free flow of information across countries without censorship by the government or tariffs. According to The Internet Association, this is congruent with the nature of the Internet, which is not controlled by the government and has several stakeholders. Furthermore, it believes that Internet companies should not be responsible for what their users do or say on the websites.
The second platform pertains to its support for allowing companies, users, as well as governments to select the technologies and platforms they prefer without being constrained by regulations, especially if these pose a hindrance to advancement.
Lastly, the third platform acknowledges that cloud computing has greatly changed the Internet landscape. It thus upholds policies that enable users to benefit from innovations as well as allow them to choose among them.
The Internet Association recognizes that the Internet is an “untapped political factor” despite its importance in daily life and the existence of the Internet voter because of the efforts to censor content on the Internet early this year. It may be recalled how over 10 million users in the United States took part in a form of activism through their computers to express their concerns regarding the Internet.