Online retail giant Amazon has appointed former National Security Agency director General Keith Alexander as its board of directors. Alexander was the NSA chief when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the scandalous extent of its illegal wiretapping. The retail giant in a filing with the Exchange Commission and US Securities said that Alexander will serve on the audit committee of the company. But the company has not spelled his exact duties on the audit committee. The former NSA chief is currently co-CEO of the firm of IronNet Security. He had founded the firm six years ago. He found himself in hot water after whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked several in 2013. The leaked document revealed how NSA’s spy program collected data of US citizens and world leaders.
The revelation led to a public backlash against the surveillance programs of the NSA. This also created tremendous pressure on tech firms to protect the data of users from government dragnets. This put an end to programs like bulk collection of phone records of those living in the United States. Snowden tweeted about Alexander’s appointment saying the NSA chief was personally responsible for the unauthorized mass surveillance programs that led to a global scandal. The retired four-star Army general of the United States served as the chief of the surveillance agency for 9 years until his retirement in 2014.
Amazon too has been accused of surveilling its own customers via a network of devices powered by Alexa. Alexander can help the company more as he has expertise in the wide world of intelligence. These things are really helpful when you are trying to make lucrative deals with the feds. Amazon has been trying on to improve on this front ever since it lost USD 10 billion JEDI contract to Microsoft. Amazon had challenged the decision of the pentagon following which a review was ordered. However, the US Department of Defense said that it would stick to the decision of awarding the project to Microsoft. There were several other competitors like IMB and Oracle for the JEDI project but Microsoft emerged as the winner. The contract will provide the US Department of Defense with cloud services like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Amazon is not satisfied by the revaluation and said that it will continue to pursue an impartial and fair review of the process. Amazon claims that it was kept out of the contract because of the alleged animosity of US President Donald Trump.