Role of Big Tech in Future Cyber Defence


  • Angela Mison University of South Wales, UK
  • Gareth Davies University of South Wales, UK
  • Peter Eden University of South Wales, UK



big tech, economis power, surveillance capitalism, information warfare, cybersecurity


Ordered society and nation states are dependent on interconnected systems, the defence of which is largely in private hands whose actions are driven by need for oligopolistic market dominance, protection of assets, and their monetisation models.  This paper queries the responsibility of the nation state for the protection of itself and its citizenry.  By some definitions, corporations are conducting cyberwarfare and, in cyberspace, are virtual nation states with ownership and rights over the data they hold and the intelligence it yields. The financial challenge for market dominance could drive an internecine war among the major technology corporations, and an assertion that the rights over the data they control are superior to those of the nation state.  As functional monopolists, data they have acquired is not available from any other source.  The intelligence from analytics exercised over that data, and the data itself is proprietary.  These corporations exercise monopolist characteristics in the areas of data, information and intelligence. The aggregate value of the top 5 technology corporations, colloquially known as Big Tech is equivalent to third in projected global GDP rankings for 2021.  This represents an equivalent expression of power in/over cyberspace.  Cloud service providers (CSP) are often offshoots of Big Tech and have a high compound annual growth rate, thereby revealing the motivation for protection of market dominance and potential threat to user/customers.  By concentrating on traditional cyber warfare and defence, there is limited consideration on policing or guarding against the rise of these virtual supranational powers driven by strict market agenda.   What consideration there is regarding potential threats is driven by an economic perspective and anti-trust initiatives.  Whether judged by the nation state as benign or malign, Big Tech has an impact on the nature and direction of society as currently understood and the question must be raised whether both citizens, organisations, and states need protection from it.