New lobbyist group will support the interests of smaller app developers

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app-store
Lobbyist group will act as an independent organization.
Photo: Apple

A group of app developers have set up a new lobbyist association called the App Coalition. This independent group will lobby Congress regarding issues relating to app developers.

A Bloomberg report, published Wednesday, notes that nine mobile app developers have banded together for the new organization. The new lobbying group is distinct from the App Association, already sponsored by Apple, Microsoft, and others.

Congress might give law enforcement a ‘backdoor’ into encrypted messages

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The FBI finally hacked an iPhone 11
Congress might use child abuse as an excuse to weaken the encryption in Apple Messages and similar apps.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

No one could protest legislation aimed at curbing child sex abuse, but a bill that reportedly will be introduced soon in the US Congress could have much wider consequences. One result might be a legally mandated requirement that messaging services have a “backdoor” so that law enforcement can read all encrypted messages.

US Senator proposes new law aimed at limiting Apple data flow to China

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China
Tim Cook meeting with China's vice premier.
Photo: Tim Cook

One of tech’s biggest opponents in Washington D.C. proposed a new bill this week that could have huge implications on Apple and TikTok’s business operations if put into law.

GOP senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced legislation today that would prevent the Chinese company that owns TikTok from collecting information on American users and sharing it with the Communist Party of China. The bill would also stop American companies like Apple from storing user data in China.

Congress asks Spotify for information on Apple’s antitrust behavior

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United States Capitol by Jens Junge
All the major tech companies are under investigation.
Photo: Jens June/Pixabay

Spotify is reportedly helping the feds with their antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store.

U.S. lawmakers asked Spotify to submit information related to an ongoing antitrust investigation into whether Apple engages in anticompetitive behavior. As one of Apple’s biggest critics, Spotify already helped with probes in Europe. However, this is the first news we’ve had of the company assisting investigators in the United States.

Congress wants to read Tim Cook’s emails for antitrust investigation

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Tim Cook with a 2018 WWDC scholarship winner.
Tim shows off the hilarious memes he's forwarded to friends. (Possibly.)
Photo: Apple

House Judiciary Committee leaders want Tim Cook to turn over his emails and other information as part of a possible antitrust investigation.

Cook is one of dozens of executives from Apple, Facebook, Google parent company Alphabet and Amazon named in the request. It follows increased scrutiny of Apple, particularly surrounding the way that it runs the App Store — and possible conflicts of interest that result.

Apple spends millions lobbying lawmakers about tax

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Apple is worth more than the entire US energy sector combined
Here's what Apple spends money on when it lobbies Congress.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

When it comes to lobbying Congress, Apple’s biggest focus by far is on tax laws. Out of 236 lobbying reports since 2005, tax is mentioned in a massive 76%.

This is one takeaway from a new report, analyzing lobbying spend from the big five tech giants, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Between them, they have spent $582 million on lobbying since 2005. According to the report, Apple spent $9.6 million on lobbying last year, and $59.9 million since 2005.

Apple spent millions lobbying Trump administration in 2018

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Cash app with cash money
Apple's spend is nothing compared to some of its tech rivals, however.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple spent $6.6 million lobbying Congress and other federal officials in 2018, newly released records show. While that’s approximately in line with the $7 million it spent in 2017, it’s considerably less than the amount spent by some of Apple’s FAANG rivals.

During the same period, Facebook spent $12.6 million, Amazon spent $14.2 million, and Google — the biggest lobbyist by far — spent a massive $21 million. That’s an increase on Google’s $18 million spend in 2017.