As Google increasingly faces criticism over privacy practices from governments around the world and faces a possible blockage of its acquisition of AdMob by the FTC, the technology giant has been spending money on lobbying efforts. It’s of no surprise that Google is increasing lobbying spending and, according to a release issued today, lobbying expenses in the first quarter were up by a whopping 57 percent over the previous year as it paid $1.38 million to influence lawmakers and regulators, according to public records filed today. You can access the filing here.
Lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate Office of Public Affairs show Google spent $880,000 in the first quarter of 2009. Lobbying expenses for all of 2009 totaled $4.03 million. First quarter spending in 2010 was up 23 percent from the $1.12 million the Internet giant spent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Google’s lobbying disclosure form includes both money it spent itself and money paid to outside firms to lobby on its behalf. The amounts received by lobbying firms will be revealed as they file their individual reports throughout the day.
Of course, Google is facing a timely challenge over its $750 million acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob. It’s safe to assume that the search giant is probably allocating considerable lobbying efforts towards influencing lawmakers to approve the deal, which is in jeopardy if the FTC blocks the acquisition. In fact, in the filing, one of the lobbying activities Google discloses is towards the “Regulation of online advertising; privacy and competition issues surrounding online advertising” and “Openness and competition in the online services market.”
Other issues Google is lobbying for include consumer privacy issues, cybersecurity as it relates to cloud computing, health information and privacy, renewable energy policies, censorship, tax reform, cloud computing for small businesses and open internet access. Google has also spent considerable resources towards lobbying on freedom of expression issues as related to Google’s decision to cease operations in China.