Following recent moves by Google and Facebook to beef up their lobbying might in Washington, Twitter is stepping up to the plate in a big way. Today, the company announced the hire of telecom policy juggernaut Colin Crowell, or as The Washington Post described him last year, "one of the most influential tech policy operatives you've never heard of." The former senior adviser to Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is joining Twitter as its head of global public policy. Crowell's had his hands in telecom policy for more than two decades working for Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts (and earned a nice government wage doing it!). Here's what we know about him:
An unusual career path Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica covered his unique roots in 2009:
You never know where telecom people are going to come from. Back in the 1980s, Crowell taught English and math at a Jesuit high school in Arequipa, Peru, where he also staffed a community soup kitchen. Somehow he got back to the states to serve as a Markey advisor. In that capacity he's had his hand in quite a few pies.
His resume Sara Jerome at National Journal ticks it off:
He was senior counselor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, advising him as the agency proposed controversial new net-neutrality rules and pushed for increased regulation of broadband firms under Title II of the Communications Act.
Before that, he was the top telecom aide for Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., for more than 20 years, including during 1996 update to the Communications Act. After departing the FCC last year, Crowell became an independent lobbyist, taking on such clients as the Consumer Electronics Association, Sprint Nextel, and Google.
His positions "Crowell helped Markey write the Telecom Act of 1996 -- which pitted satellite providers against their cable counterparts and spawned thousands of competitors among phone, video and Internet service providers," noted Cecilia Kang at The Washington Post. Ars Technica notes his other position:
Crowell has served as a critic of the incumbent Bell companies, wondering aloud to RCN Wireless News whether the dominance of AT&T and Verizon in last year's 700 MHz auction points to the need to reconsider spectrum caps, rather than just the weaker "spectrum screen" anti-competitive alert system. "What is the point of a 'spectrum screen' (however calculated) if it does not apply to spectrum acquired at auction, only for spectrum acquired through a merger?" he rhetorically asked reporter Jeffrey Silva. Sounds to Ars like Genachowski's got a no-compromise net neutrality, open access kind of dude on his team here.