Yesterday’s launch of the Internet Association marks a new era for the tech industry’s relationship to DC. This consortium of giants [and competitors] shows that the industry has gotten serious. While all of these companies have had their own government affairs presence, their banding together represents significant clout and deep pockets to act in the interest of keeping the internet “free and innovative”. Undoubtedly the SOPA and PIPA legislation from earlier this year, which failed only because the tech industry woke up to it and reacted badly, has been the major catalyst behind this move, driven by a culture known for moving quickly – in a world known for moving at a dinosaur’s pace.
When I went to DC to study tech policy, I was looking for the intersection of the Silicon Valley and Washington. Frankly, I didn’t find much of one. That appears to be changing, through not just this new group but a number of other smaller players who are advancing the discussion around what’s brewing in the Congress. The Internet is pivotal in enabling this discussion, of which it is also the subject. Congress is as dependent on it as any other user. [recalling Marshall Macluhan “The Medium is the Message” from my undergrad days] And of course there’s still the power struggle between the Valley, Hollywood and the music industry. This will get interesting.