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Business Management

Big Tech may shun President, but spends big to influence policymakers

After his first year in office, President Donald Trump’s efforts around technology have been hit and miss. Early into his term he signed an Executive Order to improve the cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, but since then the FCC has rolled back Net Neutrality laws, and it has taken a full year to fill the vacancy of Federal CIO; one of the most important technology roles in Government.

He has also had a fractious relationship with the tech community: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quit Trump’s business council in the wake of his Charlottesville, Virginia comments; Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal in his defence of immigrants in the US; and outgoing HPE CEO Meg Whitman has spoken out against the President’s policies. A quarter of his cybersecurity advisory panel also quit after Charlottesville.

But whatever their thoughts on the President, technology companies have been spending record amounts trying to influence policy makers in the US.

According to the US Government’s lobbying register, the top 10 biggest technology influencers spent a collective $91.25 million in 2017 trying to influence lawmakers. That is up from $75.2 million in 2016, $78.4 million in 2015, and $64.47 million in 2014.

Google spent a record $18.04 million, more than any other company, on a variety of issues including IP protection, copyright, privacy, cybersecurity, encryption, education, renewable energy, trade, immigration, and many others.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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