The Internet Association will be the “first and only trade association representing Internet companies and the interests of their users,” President and CEO Michael Beckerman told Mashable. The goal of the Internet Association is to work towards “political solutions that will push for protecting a free and open Internet” and, according to Beckerman, to defend the Internet from what its members view as excessive regulation. Mashable’s “Internet’s Biggest Companies Joining Forces to Lobby Washington” article reports that there are many more companies included in the Internet Association, but the entirety of the group’s members won’t be disclosed until September.
The question then becomes a matter of policy. Made up of companies whose monetary value is staggering, the Internet Association has the potential to carry considerable weight in politics; however, how will the organization decide what stance to hold when there is such a large group of people to protect? The organization’s creation is likely a response to policies like SOPA and PIPA, and having an association to lobby against these policies will help protect users of the Internet, but it also has the potential for negative impact. Currently, there is no global association that has the final say on the Internet. This lack of a global ruling body on the Internet means that countries will individually decide what to do with the Internet, and in America, for better or for worse, means that businesses with money will influence democracy.
So how will the affect the average Joe? It will depend on the policies that the Internet Association supports, but I am optimistic that this organization will fight for the users. Technology companies are especially mindful of those who use their products, as the relationship between the consumer and the business is very close amongst tech companies, and I’m hopeful that the same will be true of the Internet Association.