The Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know
Directed by James Corbett (2019)
This documentary explores the hidden Pentagon and US intelligence role in the development of of Silicon Valley, the Internet and tech giants like Google and Facebook.
Corbett traces the rise of Silicon Valley to the 1946 appointment of Frederick Terman as the dean of Stanford engineering school. During World War II, Terman ran the top secret radio research lab at Harvard. There he supervised 800 scientists in researching microwaves, radar detection and jamming and other forms of electronics warfare. Eleven of these scientists accompanied him to Standford, where they immediately received Pentagon contracts for military projects.
ARPANET, initially funded by the Department of Defense, became known as the Internet in 1991 when it was officially privatized.
Over the years, other technologies that began as Stanford graduate student projects were spun off as private ventures. Examples include Oracle Integrated Cloud Applications and Platform Services, derived from Project Oracle, a vast CIA database project; SunSystems Financial Management Software, also based based on Pentagon-funded research; and Google, which started as a project funded by DARPA, the CIA and the NSA.
In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, initially owned 5,000 shares in Google, which they sold in 2005. On their webpage, the CIA describes Google Earth as a CIA-assisted technology. A 2014 Freedom of Information Act Request indicates Google was (is?) part of a secret government project called Enduring Security Framework Initiative. The latter paid (pays?) the company to share data they collect on search engine users with US intelligence and the Pentagon.
Google’s founder and former CEO Eric Schmidt is now the chair of the Defense Efficiency Initiative. He’s also a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee.
Facebook has a similar history of Pentagon and US intelligence backing. By a remarkable coincidence, Facebook was launched the same day (Feb 4 2004) that DARPA scrapped a proposed study to predict behavior by collecting massive amounts of data on subjects’ daily interests and activities.
Facebook received most of its startup funding from venture capitalists closely linked to the Department of Defense and US intelligence – including $12.7 million from Accel Partners, whose managing director previously served on the board of In-Q-Tel.
*ARPA – Advanced Research Projects Agency – has since been renamed DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Agency).