At a virtual Davos agenda meeting of the World Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that technology corporations are rivaling the power of nation-states. “These are not just economic giants. In some areas they are already de facto competing with the state,” Putin said in an address.
Russia is currently accelerating regulatory pressure on foreign internet companies, which have so far proved beyond the kind of state control that the country exerts on its media outlets.
Putin objected to global tech giant “attempts to crudely, at their own discretion, control society,” adding “We just saw it all in the United States.”
The dynamics between mega tech corporations and more traditional power-wielding politicos is playing out across the globe in various ways. The recent U.S. presidential election proved tech giants had reached a tipping point where they could wield enormous influence on the political process.
World leaders are taking more notice of the political power of tech companies. European leaders spoke out in early January when Twitter silenced Donald Trump, though many of them were hardly allies of the now former American president.
As for the new Biden administration, Silicon Valley has been conducting an intense strategy to place tech-friendly executives in positions of political power. According to CNBC, “executives and employees at tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are pushing to place candidates in senior roles at government agencies.”
A January article by The New York Post chronicled just some of the tech players embedded in the new administration. Among the players:
- Jessica Hertz, former Facebook lawyer, serving as Biden’s White House staff secretary
- Emily Horne of Twitter, tapped spokesperson and senior director for press for the White House National Security Council; the NSC, with a staff located on White House grounds, helps set defense and foreign affairs policies
- Mark Schwartz from Amazon Web Services, has helped screen appointments to the White House Office of Management and Budget
- Eric Schmidt, former Google chief exec, reportedly recommended appointments for the Department of Defense, even as his former company seeks military contracts and defense work
- Deon Scott, Google global program manager, reviewed applicants to the Department of Homeland Security
- Zaid Zaid, of Facebook strategic response, joined the Biden vetting team for State Department jobs
- Facebook associate general counsel Christopher Upperman is working on the Small Business Administration
- Amazon international tax director Tom Sullivan helped select State Department appointments
TRENDPOST: Aligning with different national political parties and global institutions, it’s clear that international tech corporations are employing a wide array of methods to expand their political influence and power.