How tech companies made their fortune in the ‘war on terror’

The tech giants won billions of dollars in contracts with the US military and other government agencies during the so-called “war on terrorism,” according to a report published on the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The report “Big Tech Sells War” (Big Tech Sells War), published on Thursday (9) by three groups of American activists, documented an explosion of government contracts with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter since 2004.

The technology companies’ contracts were “primarily with central agencies in the war on terrorism,” the report says.

“From 2004 until today, big tech companies have seen a huge increase in federal demand for their services, particularly from the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security,” he continues.

Demand for cloud and GPS software from US military and intelligence agencies has increased since 2001, as the defense industry has increasingly digitized.

The Defense Department alone has spent $43.8 billion on contracts with technology companies since 2004, according to the report — a collaboration between the Action Center on Race and the Economy and social justice groups LittleSis and MPower Change.

Four of the top five spenders on big technology contracts are “fundamental to foreign policy or were created as a direct result of the global war on terrorism,” the study says.

“Amazon and Microsoft have led the trend in recent years, with Amazon signing nearly five times more and Microsoft signing eight times more federal contracts and subcontracts in 2019 compared to 2015,” he adds.

According to the document, Microsoft benefited from a jump in defense contracts during Donald Trump’s government, with a six-fold increase in the number of agreements established between 2016 and 2018.

On the other hand, contracts with “traditional” military and defense contractors such as the aerospace companies Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have declined in recent years.

AFP contacted the five big tech companies to ask for comments, but has yet to receive a response.

The report drew its data from Tech Inquiry, an online tool that allows users to explore US government contracts.

The tool only includes contracts whose information is public, so the numbers that appear in the report are “very likely an underrepresentation,” according to the document.

Its authors have criticized the phenomenon of “revolving doors” between big tech companies and US security agencies, in which former top government officials come to play important roles in tech companies.

The report cited as an example former State Department official Jared Cohen, now at Google, as well as Steve Pandelides of Amazon, formerly with the FBI, and Joseph D. Rozek of Microsoft, who helped found the Department of Security Internal.