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he Issues Mentioned The Most In The Big Tech 5 Lobbying Reports - From Data Security to Net Neutrality...

April 2019 by VPNMentor

New research from vpnMentor has analysed all the lobbying reports submitted to the U.S House of Representatives (since 2005) by the Big Five tech companies - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

The research looked into the proportion of lobbying reports mentioning key issues, such as tax and privacy, the number of lobbying reports, the total amount spent lobbying (2005 - 2018) and the most frequently used words in the reports, to reveal The Big Tech Lobby:

Key findings highlighted:
• Privacy is the most mentioned issue in Facebook and Google’s lobbying reports, whilst for Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, it’s taxes
• Between them, the five companies have spent over half a billion dollars lobbying Congress in the last 14 years - Google has spent the most ($195.7m), while Apple has spent the least ($59.9m)
• Microsoft submitted the most lobbying reports from 2005 to 2018, a total of 1,105. This is followed by Google (782), Amazon (384), Facebook (246) and Apple (236).
• Facebook and Google are the only two that are lobbying for Freedom of Expression
• Health data lobbying is on the rise, with Google and Apple showing interest in such laws
• Data security reports submitted increased by nearly 50% in the past year - 43% of Facebook’s reports mentioned ‘data security’ To view the data visualisation and research in full, click here.

While privacy is the biggest issue right now, there are signs of what could be the big issues for the future. Issues that have made a more recent appearance in the lobbying reports include the development of artificial Intelligence, health data, government surveillance, unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones), autonomous vehicles and location privacy.

Ariel Hochstadt, co-founder of vpnMentor and cybersecurity expert, comments on the research:

“A lot of people tend to think that the way things are at the moment is just a natural progression of the internet and that there’s nothing to do about it. But our report shows that this is just not true. Big tech companies such as Facebook and Google spend millions to convince us and lawmakers that it’s ok for them to use and exploit our data, or that this is just an inevitable conclusion of our online activity.”

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