, 16 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
The scope of Amazon’s ambitions with regard to our government are breathtaking when you begin to put all the pieces together. 1/
For starters, Amazon wants to be the platform for all government purchases of commercial goods. This will give Amazon enormous power to direct public dollars to its own brands and those of favored suppliers. 2/
Two years ago Amazon set out to achieve this vision by hiring top people coming out of the Obama Administration. Its big catch was Anne Rung, U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer. 3/ linkedin.com/in/anne-rung-2…
Last week, The Guardian reported on newly public emails showing that Rung met with a top federal procurement official at GSA to help guide GSA’s plans to move government purchasing to an “e-commerce portal.” 4/ theguardian.com/technology/201…
A few months later, Congress passed legislation directing the GSA to solicit contracts for “e-commerce portal providers” to supply federal agencies with commercial goods. 5/
Amazon is widely considered to be a top contender for that contract. It’s worth billions of dollars, but for Amazon, the value of being the government’s procurement platform goes far beyond the direct revenue. 6/
By controlling the platform, Amazon can expand its monopoly power. Every company that wants to sell to the government will have to go through Amazon’s platform, surrendering their data and a big cut of their revenue to Amazon. 7/
For Amazon, this is an incredibly lucrative and powerful position. It will use the data it gleans to expand into new markets with an advantage. 8/
It will also skim off an ever larger cut of the revenue, demanding bigger tolls from the companies selling to government, as it does now with its consumer platform. 9/
All the while, Amazon will peddle the idea that its platform is a competitive “marketplace” that naturally generates the lowest prices. Even though, of course, Amazon controls the parameters of this marketplace and thus the prices. 10/
This completely subverts the principles of transparency, competitive bidding, and accountability that are supposed to guide public procurement. 11/
And federal procurement is just one piece of Amazon’s agenda. It’s taking the same approach at the local and state level. 12/
As we reported last year, hundreds of cities have signed on to a suspect contract with Amazon that similarly moves local and state dollars to Amazon’s platform. See our report for the details. 13/ ilsr.org/amazon-and-loc…
And there’s so much more. Amazon’s cloud division is hosting a growing volume of government data and cloud-based computing activity. Amazon already has a contract with the CIA and it seems likely to win a huge contract with the Defense Dept. 14/
Amazon is supplying facial recognition technology to law enforcement. And it’s building a massive surveillance apparatus that will feed data on our movements and activities to any entity that wants to pay for it. 15/
In other words, Amazon’s ambition goes far beyond being a government supplier. It’s about enveloping government in ways that both enrich Amazon and subvert democracy. 16/16
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