3,000+ Google Employees Demand Company End Work on Pentagon Drone Project

(CD) — More than 3,000 Google employees have signed a letter that’s circulating in the company demanding that the tech giant end its involvement in Project Maven, a Pentagon program that could be used to develop drone technology.

The project, the workers argue, runs counter to the company’s stated mission and motto.

“By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics,” wrote the employees, who include senior engineers. “The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto ‘Don’t Be Evil,’ and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.”

The letter (pdf) comes weeks after reports surfaced that Google was implementing Project Maven, an artificial intelligence surveillance tool, to interpret video imagery—likely in order to improve the targeting of drone strikes. Some Google employees condemned the company’s involvement in a recent company-wide meeting, before circulating the letter, according to the New York Times.

“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” wrote the employees. “Therefore we ask that Project Maven be canceled, and that Google draft, publicize, and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”

Google has said the technology it’s developing is “non-offensive,” while former chief executive Eric Schmidt, who still sits on the board of Google parent company as well as the Pentagon advisory board, claimed in November that the military would use artificial intelligence like Project Maven “to help keep the country safe.”

The Google employees issued a clear rejection of Schmidt’s suggestion, writing, “This contract puts Google’s reputation at risk and stands in direct opposition to our core values. Building this technology to assist the U.S. government in military surveillance—and potentially lethal outcomes—is not acceptable.”

By Julia Conley / Creative Commons / Common Dreams / Report a typo

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

Since you’re here…

…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us

    5