Big Tech makes billions of dollars from the war on terror

According to a report, tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have made billions of dollars from contracts with the US military since 2004.

Big Tech makes billions of dollars from the war on terror
Satellite image of the Pentagon on July 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

On September 9, three US organizations released the report "Big Tech Sells War" (rough translation: The technology giant sells war), documenting the explosion of government contracts with Amazon, Facebook, Google. , Microsoft and Twitter since 2004. The report, published on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, is the product of a partnership between the Center for Action on Race and the Economy and the LittleSis and Mpower Change.

According to the report, Big Tech's contracts are mainly signed with agencies that are at the heart of the fight against terrorism. “From 2004 to now, Big Tech has seen a huge increase in federal demand for its services, particularly from the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

Demand from the US military and intelligence agencies for cloud computing and GPS software has grown dramatically since 2001, as the defense industry became increasingly digital. According to the report, the US Department of Defense has spent $43.8 billion on contracts with Big Tech since 2004.

Four of the top five Big Tech contract spenders play a central role in foreign policy, or were created out of the Global War on Terror.

According to the report, the number of federal contracts and subcontracts that Amazon and Microsoft signed in 2019 was 5 times and 8 times higher, respectively, compared to 2015. The report said, Microsoft benefited from defense contracts in the mission. Former US President Donald Trump, the number of transactions from 2016 to 2018 increased 6 times.

In contrast, contracts with traditional defense and military contractors such as Raytheon Airlines and Northrop Grumman declined.

The five technology companies mentioned above did not comment when asked by AFP. The report draws data from Tech Inquiry, an online tool that allows users to explore US government contracts. The tool only includes disclosure contracts, which means that the data in the report may not be complete.

The report's authors also criticized the phenomenon of "revolving doors" between Big Tech and US security agencies, in which former federal officials would take on key roles at technology firms. For example, former State Department official Jared Cohen now works for Google, former FBI official Steve Pandelides joins Amazon or Joseph D. Rozek - who helped found the Department of Homeland Security - joins Microsoft.

Google Tech News - AFP

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