Google: $1.4M on 1Q Lobby on China and Other Issues

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Google Inc. spent $1.4 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government on everything from its decision to stop censoring search results in China to the tussle over open Internet rules before the Federal Communications Commission.

The spending was up 57 percent from $880,000 in the same quarter a year ago. At that pace, Google's lobbying tab would be on track to climb even more in 2010 than it did last year, when spending rose 42 percent to $4 million.

Google has been steadily stepping up its presence in Washington in recent years and engaged in all sorts of high-profile technology policy debates.

In the first three months of 2010, the company tried to influence legislation intended to prevent U.S. technology companies from cooperating with repressive foreign governments that restrict free speech and violate human rights.

Last month, Google said it would stop filtering its China-based search engine and send visitors instead to its Chinese-language service based in Hong Kong, where Google does not censor search results. The company's move came after it uncovered a hacking attack that emanated from China and attempts to snoop on dissidents by accessing their e-mail accounts.

Google also lobbied last quarter in favor of the FCC's proposed "network neutrality" rules, which would require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. Although the big phone and cable TV companies oppose such regulations, Internet companies such as Google say rules are needed to prevent Internet access providers from favoring or discriminating against Web sites and services. …