Last year, Google formed a political action committee to lobby Washington DC on internet competition and freedom issues. Now it’s turning its attention to Brussels. FT.com reports the search giant has advertised to hire a network of lobbyists in at least 10 European capitals in an effort to win influence in the continent’s notoriously hands-on regulatory environment. “Privacy, freedom of expression, copyrights, competition and security, regulation of online content, advertising and technology” will be the key policy areas for the new recruits, according to the company. Recent reports had suggested Google employed just one London-based European lobbyist, but its Euro head of communication and policy affairs has ties to the UK’s resurgent Conservative party. Continental regulators have so far stayed away from the Mountain View, California, outfit but, in several individual jurisidictions over the last year or two, Google has lost out on Google News’ use of newspaper and wire content and has been forced to give up its Gmail name. With the European Commmission looking to extend its 18-year-old TV regulation rules to some internet video content, Google will want its say, having just splashed out $1.65 billion on just such a service. With the continued dominance of AdSense in the search marketing sector, it will be keen to avoid ending up with the kind of antitrust probems that have dogged Microsoft in Europe.
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