By James Rundle and David Uberti
Cybersecurity firms are spending more on lobbying, but far less than the largest tech companies. The two groups have sought to influence lawmakers on some of the same topics.
Amazon.com Inc. spent $4.5 million on Capitol Hill in the first quarter of 2020 alone, according to disclosures, while Microsoft Corp. spent $10.2 million in 2019. Facebook Inc., which has been involved in privacy scandals in recent years and called to testify before congressional committees, spent $16.7 million in 2019.
Alphabet Inc.'s spending on the Hill also has eclipsed that of any cybersecurity company, according to regulatory filings. It spent $11.8 million on lobbying in 2019, down from $21.2 million in 2018.
Meanwhile, the collective lobbying spending of 12 large publicly traded cybersecurity firms came in at just under $4 million last year.
The largest tech companies advocate on a host of issues that are relevant to their businesses, including cybersecurity. Bills that have attracted their attention include the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Act, which has been sent to the full Senate for consideration, and the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, enacted in March, which prohibits federal subsidies being applied to equipment purchases from companies deemed national-security risks.
Other major tech lobbyists include Oracle Corp., which dropped $8.2 million last year, and International Business Machines Corp., which disclosed costs of over $5.6 million in 2019. An IBM spokesman said the firm is advocating for laws such as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, designed to enhance public-private information-sharing about threats, and a potential federal privacy statute.
Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook declined to say which issues they targeted. An Amazon spokeswoman said the company has focused some of its recent advocacy work on coronavirus-related topics, including health-care privacy laws. Oracle didn't respond to a request for comment.
Write to James Rundle at firstname.lastname@example.org and David Uberti at email@example.com