Everyone knows that politicians are lobbied, sometimes massively. But it's rare to be able to track directly the detailed effects of that lobbying. That's why a new site called LobbyPlag is so interesting: it allows people to do precisely that in the case of the controversial data protection rules in the EU, which aim to regulate how personal information harvested from users of online services can be used. Naturally, many large Net companies -- mostly in the US -- are unhappy about these moves; some US diplomats are even talking of a possible "trade war" if the proposals go through in their current form. That's unlikely, not least because the lobbying is starting to pay off, as LobbyPlag's analysis makes clear.
The site takes two sets of publicly-available documents -- those prepared by companies or their lobbyists, and the amendments proposed for the Data Protection Regulation -- and compares them, showing the results in a highly visual way. It turns out that entire paragraphs have been copied word-for-word from the lobbyists' documents and put forward as suggested amendments. Similarly, some of the deletions that European politicians have proposed are precisely those asked for by various companies.
One amendment concerns what LobbyPlag terms "forum shopping":
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc