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War in the time of digital platforms

The war in Ukraine has highlighted how states and platforms are increasingly in military lock-step. Da

Over recent months, the active role of digital platforms in the Ukraine war has come to the fore. In October, the sudden shutdown of Starlink—the Space-X satellite system providing internet access to civilians and military personnel—almost jeopardised a decisive military operation in the east of the country. A month later, Elon Musk, owner of Space-X and now Twitter, was reported to have talked with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, before tweeting out his ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine (Musk denied the claim).

In June, Amazon Web Services—the company’s cloud division—disclosed that on February 24th, the day the invasion began, its technical staff met representatives of the Ukraine government to discuss bringing Amazon storage hardware into the country to transfer public- and private-sector data to the cloud. The same goes for Microsoft. In November it committed to providing $100 million worth of technology ‘to ensure that government agencies, critical infrastructure and other sectors in Ukraine can continue to serve citizens’ via its cloud.

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