Tech’s big roles on Biden’s Agency Review Teams

Tech’s big roles on Biden’s Agency Review Teams

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have announced their transition’s Agency Review Teams. On it are representatives of Amazon, Microsoft, Lyft, Uber and a number of other tech giants, with very few civil rights advocates.

This isn’t surprising given the awful track record Biden has on civil liberties and digital rights and his pro-corporate positions. Below are just a few of the most significant companies and prominent individuals from the list:

Amazon

Tom Sullivan served as the International Tax Director for Amazon and will be on the review team for the Department of State. With 26 years of experience in tax policy and avoidance at Microsoft, Deloitte and others, Sullivan will likely be a key player on helping State guide tax laws and deals: Amazon is the biggest offender of the big 6 US tech firms. According to The Guardian in 2019, the giant “paid just $3.4bn (£2.6bn) in tax on its income so far this decade despite achieving revenues of $960.5bn and profits of $26.8bn.”

Mark Schwartz, the Enterprise Strategist of Amazon’s Web Services division, will work with the Office of Management and Budget. Schwartz likes comparing business to war and writing jargon-filled texts about “transformation” and “business supremacy.”

LinkedIn

Nicole Isaac of LinkedIn is part of the review team for Treasury. As Senior Director, North America Policy of the Microsoft-owned company, Isaac touts her experience in “managing policy and government engagement across the United States and Canada,” or in other words, lobbying.

Google

Nicole Wong was the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for a year under the Obama administration. During her time at Google, she was known as “The Decider” for her role in deciding on Google’s censorship policy. Wong will work with the National Security Council.

AirBnB

Clare Gallagher, formerly of AirBnB, will work with the National Security Council. At AirBnB, Gallagher worked with “partners” to help spread the reach of the gentrification company, including in Houston for the 2017 Super Bowl under “Project 612.”

Uber

Matt Olson will work on the review team for the entire Intelligence Community and its associated three-letter agencies. Olson was formerly the General Counsel of the NSA and joined Uber in 2018 as the company’s Chief Security Officer. Olsen’s significant ties to big data and to the intelligence community are, to say the least, a bit worrying.

Lyft

Brandon Belford comes from a history in the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council, public policy and government affairs at Apple, and most recently Senior Director and Chief of Staff Lyft’s Public Policy team. In plain language, lobbying. Belford will work with the Office of Management and Budget.

Rebellion Defense

Victor Garcia of Rebellion Defense will be working with the Department of Defense. Rebellion Defense is one of the many defense industry contractors trying to harness data to improve the lethality and precision of the Pentagon. Their cloud-based products promise to “help our defense and national security agencies unlock the power of data across all domains” while claiming that “our adversaries are using [artificial intelligence] against us”.
Of note, an investor in Rebellion Defense is former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

David Holmes is an engineering manager for the Arial team at rebellion defense, and will work with the Social Security Administration

In-Q-Tel

Lu Borio is a doctor and currently a Vice President of In-Q-Tel. Borio will work with the Department of Health and Human Services and is a member of the Biden transition’s COVID-19 Advisory Board. In-Q-Tel is the investment, venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.