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Google staff demand the corporate cease promoting its tech to police


Greater than 1,600 Google staff are demanding the corporate “take real steps to help dismantle racism” and finish its police contracts. In a letter that started circulating internally final week, staff wrote that they had been “disappointed to know that Google is still selling to police forces, and advertises its connection with police forces as somehow progressive.

“The racist legacy of police across the United States goes all the way back to its roots, when police forces emerged to protect the wealth gotten from slavery and genocide,” the letter reads. “We have a long way to go to address the full legacy of racism but to begin with — we should not be in the business of profiting from racist policing. We should not be in the business of criminalizing Black existence while we chant that Black Lives Matter.”

The letter comes a couple of days after firm Chief Government Sundar Pichai introduced Google was committing greater than $175 million to “support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers.” Google is among the many many tech firms which have spoken up in assist of the Black group since George Floyd was killed whereas in custody of Minneapolis police. However these statements stand in stark distinction to these firms’ information on the therapy of Black staff and prospects in addition to how their merchandise have an effect on the Black group.

“We’re committed to work that makes a meaningful difference to combat systemic racism, and our employees have made over 500 product suggestions in recent weeks, which we are reviewing,” Google spokesperson Cynthia Horiguchi stated in an announcement. “On this one, we were the first major company to decide, years ago, to not make facial recognition commercially available and we have very clear AI Principles that prohibit its use or sale for surveillance. We have longstanding terms of use for generally available computing platforms like Gmail, GSuite and Google Cloud Platform, and these products will remain available for Governments and local authorities, including police departments, to use.”

Within the letter, the employees, who name themselves Googlers in opposition to Racism, wrote that they had been “disappointed” by the corporate’s response.

“The past weeks have shown us that addressing racism is not merely an issue of words, but of actions taken to dismantle the actual structures that perpetuate it,” the letter reads. “While we as individuals hold difficult but necessary conversations with our family, friends and peers, we are also incredibly disappointed by our company’s response.”

Google staff have waged a protracted inside battle in opposition to the corporate’s enterprise with legislation enforcement and authorities companies with combined outcomes. In 2018, staff demanded the corporate cancel — and a few stop in protest of — its contract offering synthetic intelligence to the Division of Protection. Ultimately the corporate introduced that it might not re-up its relationship with the division when it was up for renewal. Nevertheless, when staff caught wind of an effort to create a censored search engine for China, lots of of them demanded Google finish these efforts. Although Pichai insisted there wasn’t a product prepared for launch, he wouldn’t commit to not create “a tool for surveillance and censorship in China” when requested by members of Congress.

Within the letter, Google staff particularly pointed to the corporate’s work with the Clarkstown Police Division in New York, which has been sued “multiple times for illegal surveillance of Black Lives Matter organizers.”

“Why help the institutions responsible for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more effective organizationally?” the open letter to administration learn.

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By Punit Nirankari

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