Tech Inquiry

Easy as PAI

Jack Poulson <>
September 10, 2021

  1. Brief Summary
  2. Download Report

Brief Summary

Tech Inquiry has released an open source system for monitoring international corporate and NGO behavior, initially across the 'Five Eyes' intelligence sharing alliance between: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

As the first of a two-part report, we demonstrate the utility of extending the methodology of our previous report -- which focused entirely on prime awards -- with subaward data reported through by mapping out the subcontractors -- and broader Five Eyes contracting footprints -- from awards involving:

  • Emotion recognition company smileML subcontracting with US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for "Autonomy Enabled [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance]".
  • AI surveillance and counter-drone company Anduril Industries subcontracting with the U.S. Navy and Air Force in a contract involving a lethal autonomous tank ("EMAV") and a robot dog ("Vision 60").
  • Location-tracking data broker Outlogic, Inc. (FKA X-Mode Social) subcontracting under the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency alongside C4ADS, a defense nonprofit built on Palantir that has worked closely with both The New York Times and BuzzFeed.
  • Location-tracking data broker Venntel subcontracting with the U.S. Air Force alongside U.S. think tanks, such as CSIS and lesser-known China-watching CACR, drone and satellite surveillance companies Sierra Nevada Corporation and MAXAR, and Eric Schmidt backed Rebellion Defense in collaboration with the Remote Sensing Center of the Naval Postgraduate School.
  • ECS Federal's three Project Maven drone surveillance prime contracts, "Kubera", "Pavement", and "Avalanche", including Clarifai contributing facial recognition and confirming the role of Microsoft, AWS, Palantir, Rebellion Defense, etc. We also document a connected Palantir-centric "Pubilcly Available Information (PAI) enclave" hosted within the Secure Unclassified Network (SUNet) and a predecessor social media surveillance award, "Project CICERO", with USSOCOM's J2 Intelligence directorate. And we detail a prime award to Booz Allen involving Project Maven, Palantir, and social media analytics by Popily (DBA Yonder, FKA New Knowledge), who was infamously caught faking Russian support for the opponent of a Democratic candidate.

Our follow-up report will focus on the detailed methodology behind importing and navigating international procurement and lobbying feeds and the construction of our associated -- and publicly released -- manually curated dataset of: corporate logos, URLs, contracting names, subsidiaries, partnerships, investments, and citations of related investigative journalism. At a high level, Tech Inquiry's Influence Explorer is a recommendation system interface to international procurement and lobbying feeds making use of data including:

  • Corporations and the government entities they contract with, prime awardees and their subcontractors, the terms in the contracts, and any product classification codes.
  • Any entity and the terms in their associated websites.
  • Manually curated, weighted associations between arbitrary entities, including funding relationships for nonprofits and startups.

Iteratively constructing such corporate maps has become an integral component of our exploration of large networks of corporations and NGOs, and links to the entity profiles are peppered throughout our report.

Both the software and data behind our Influence Explorer are available at, and a deployed instance is accessible via

Download Full Report

You can download our full report, Easy as PAI (Publicly Available Information), by clicking here or on the banner image.