Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Environmental Defense
ETC Group
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
State Public Interest Research Groups
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


Google's High-Tech Lobbying
Google, which rewrote the rules for search engines, is bringing its special skills to the policy formation arena. As a press account explains, "Google will be pampering bloggers and tutoring US policy makers at Democratic and Republican national conventions as Internet culture flexes growing political muscle."

Along with the "free massages and blended ice-and-fruit "smoothie" drinks" the company will offer at both conventions, Google "will feature a public area with kiosks for uploading videos to Google-owned YouTube and demonstrations of services offered by the Mountain View, California, firm." Google's participation in the political process goes beyond providing massages and internet access. The wire service notes that "Google executives will take part in policy symposia on climate change, energy, philanthropy and technology."

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), an internet watchdog group, is wary of Google's involvement in the conventions. A CDD official stated, "Google is attempting to expand its influence over the political process to help it achieve its commercial goals. Google likes to bask in self-congratulatory rhetoric, claiming it has the public's interests at heart. It's all about accessing people's data for targeted marketing."

It is neither surprising nor inappropriate if self-interest factors into Google's participation in the political process. Vigorous participation by all stakeholders, including Google and CDD, is fundamental to democracy. It will be interesting to see, however, if Google is as successful at bringing innovation to the policy process as it has been with its other endeavors.

See news story

See CDD website

CRE Homepage