Over 1,100 Google employees signed the petition to terminate police contracts
The letter with the headline ‘No Police Contracts’ has been circulating around the company last week. It has been signed by over 1,100 Google employees, it has been reported.
Those employees identify themselves as ‘Googlers Against Racism’. The document asks the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, to “take real steps to dismantle racism”, and it says that the company is “profiting” off racism with those business contracts.
The petition says that people need to fight racism on a higher level, as saying “Black Lives Matter” doesn't seem to be enough. All of this happened around the time Google committed $175 million towards supporting black businesses.
These employees obviously want Google to do more. They’re disappointed Google’s AI tech is being used by law enforcement to “track down immigrants with drone surveillance footage”.
Now, this is not the first time the company’s employees showed their displeasure with Google’s government work. Back in 2018, Google decided not to renew a satellite image-based defense contract called ‘Project Maven’ because of its employees.
Thousands of Google employees signed a letter urging the OEO to pull out of the contract. Some of the company’s employees even resigned because of the whole situation.
Both Amazon & Microsoft promised not to sell facial recognition tech to police agencies
Both Amazon and Microsoft recently said they won’t be selling their facial recognition tech to police agencies. Google told CNBC that it doesn’t make facial recognition tech commercially available, and also prohibits the sales for surveillance.
Google’s employees seem to be determined this time as well. They simply want Google to stop doing business with the police, at least when it comes to present products.
This petition managed to get quite a few signatures, and the company will have to react. We don’t know what the reaction will be just yet, but Google may have to give in.
This is one of those complicated situations that requires careful thought by both Sundar Pichai and its colleagues. They need to find a way out of it without making a mess as a result.
Google goes to great lengths to get the best employees on its side, and it definitely doesn’t want to lose them because of something like this. On the other hand, this is the government we’re talking about, so… it’s complicated.