The market for “official corruption” in the US has reached a new level: in 2018, the American communication giants spent on lobbying their interests more than $ 80 million, which was an absolute record in the history. Despite the legal status of lobbyists, methods and requirements of companies who hire them, cause more and more problems. For example, to organize a dinner party for politicians who will continue to defend the interests of the company, is considered normal. The result of such “beliefs” are monopoly, bankruptcy and millions of victims among ordinary Americans. The invisible line between lobbying and blatant political bribery — in the material “Tape.ru”.
American Telecom operators are spending fabulous sums of money to promote their interests at the highest political level and to buy the support of legislators. The study showed consulting company Comparitech in total in the period from 1998 to 2018 51 the American telecommunications company has spent on lobbying to $ 1.2 billion. With the years the cost of loyal legislators only grow. If in 2011 they are at least 71 million dollars, in 2018 increased to $ 80 million and reached the historic maximum.
While lobbying is considered not only attempts to influence public opinion during elections or referendums. It includes any cases where the money is used to buy influence at the local or Federal legislators and officials. For example, lobbying in America is the situation when a business pays for the necessary legislative activities legal review and research to facilitate the development of laws.
In addition, this category will be payment by the company jointly with the authorities of dinners, organization is “informational conferences” and, of course, direct financial support to politicians, for example, during the election campaigns. In the USA there are about 50 major groups, promoting their interests: 42 represent the business, the remaining different kinds of nonprofit organizations that also seek to influence policy. An example is the situation around the National rifle Association. Fearing that a Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in case of a victory will tighten control over arms sales, the Association has spent on the campaign trail Donald trump’s $ 32 million. This was the maximum investment in a policy in history.
The most active lobbying running a telecommunications company. For example, giants such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast over the last 20 years spent on politicians 341 million dollars, $ 265 million and $ 200 million respectively. Other major American companies engaged in Telecom — Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile have invested in lobbying 80 million and $ 69 million.
With the help of lobbying these companies from the big five to decide such issues as, for example, the authorisation of mergers and acquisitions. So, in 1999, AT&T spent almost $ 23 million that was approved merger with Ameritech Corp. As a result, there was a modern AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the United States. The total value of its assets in 2018 amounted to 531 billion dollars.
Another area in which telecommunication companies are lobbying, is to fight with competitors. For example, currently AT&T, Verizon and several other major players are trying to oust from the market of smaller competitors with the abolition of the provisions of the law on telecommunications in force since 1996. It allows smaller network operators to connect at regulated tariffs to the existing major networks. Large companies appealing to the fact that the current rules were adopted in the days when America was dominated by phones and now are the price rates are clearly underestimated by at least 59 percent compared to commercial. “No longer makes sense to allocate a few companies and get them to share their networks with competitors. It really is unfair,” said USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter.
The most acute situation with the lobbying happened in California, the richest and most populous state in the United States. Its GDP in 2018 amounted to three trillion dollars, and the population has reached 39.5 million people. In this state, every legislator has 30 official groups dealing with promoting anyone’s interests. This is not an exceptional situation for the US, where 49 of the 50 States have more registered lobbyists than the officials. In particular, this can be explained by the fact that located in California Silicon valley center of high-tech industry in the country.
California’s telecommunications companies are faced with tough local laws on privacy. The relevant amendment to the state Constitution was amended in 1972. And in 2018, the law tightened even further with the adoption of the law on consumer protection. It will take effect in 2020 and limit the companies access to personal information posted on the Internet. So, Californians will have the right to know what information about them is collected, sold it there and to whom disclosed.
We are talking about a very wide range of data: name, address, IP address, email, account name, social security number, passport number and driver’s license. This also took biometric data, browsing history, interaction with ads, applications or web sites, and a number of information and conclusions drawn from them. Restrictions affected including the telecommunications company, who actively sell its customers ‘ personal data to companies which need this data for advertising and promotion. The result of the California law split the business into two parts: Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Facebook and Google actively uses customers ‘ personal information when selling advertising, have declared war on this law; Microsoft, Apple, Salesforce, and a number of companies supported it, stating that they intend to adopt such rules at the global level. Microsoft is explained by the desire to protect the “fundamental right” of citizens to inviolability of private life.
A more responsible approach to the protection of personal data of the clients of the companies actively supporting the Americans not only in California but in other States. Because of this, after a few years, Telecom companies may face a more global problem — the “California trend” will spread across the United States will become a national standard that will require companies additional costs and changes in the methods of doing business.
To prevent this, they have already begun to actively lobby their interests at the level of the White house and Congress. Now the main strategy of telecommunication companies to overtake the spread of California law throughout America and the time to implement at the Federal level, more lenient rules. And telecommunications companies are already actively working in this direction. So, in recent years the main streams of money is going to support candidates from the ruling Republican party, its members receive a year to several million dollars. However, this is not the limit, and trying to win back the market for spending on the promotion of the interests of the companies could increase several times over.
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