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Google employees demand company stop selling tech to police

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Google employees demand company stop selling tech to police

A rising group of greater than 1,666 Google staff is demanding Google cease promoting its know-how to police departments, TechCrunch has realized.

“We’re upset to know that Google continues to be promoting to police forces, and advertises its reference to police forces as in some way progressive, and seeks extra expansive gross sales quite than severing ties with police and becoming a member of the tens of millions who wish to defang and defund these establishments,” staff wrote in a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. “Why assist the establishments chargeable for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more practical organizationally? Not solely that, however the identical Clarkstown police drive being marketed by Google as a hit story has been sued a number of occasions for unlawful surveillance of Black Lives Matter organizers.”

Google, for instance, has publicized how Clarkstown Police Department makes use of G Suite for sharing info and digital proof. Meanwhile, Google can be a accomplice and donor to the Seattle police basis and its enterprise capital arm, GV, has invested in startups engaged on synthetic intelligence know-how for police.

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In the letter, staff go on to say they wish to be pleased with the corporate they work for. They additionally need Google to talk to their values, the letter says.

“The racist legacy of police throughout the United States goes all the best way again to its roots, when police forces emerged to guard the wealth gotten from slavery and genocide,” the letter states. “We have an extended approach to go to handle the complete legacy of racism however to start with — we shouldn’t be within the enterprise of making the most of racist policing. We shouldn’t be within the enterprise of criminalizing Black existence whereas we chant that Black Lives Matter. We, the undersigned Googlers, name on you to cease making our know-how obtainable to police forces.” 

Google staff have been capable of efficiently strain the corporate to drop contracts previously. After staff petitioned Google to cease engaged on Project Maven, Google determined to not renew its contract with the Pentagon for that undertaking. Then, in October 2018, Google dropped out of the operating for JEDI, the large cloud computing contract with the Pentagon.

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Google is just not the one tech firm that has contracted with police departments and different legislation enforcement businesses. Salesforce, for instance, has lengthy held a contract with Customs and Border Protection, regardless of protest from staff and others.

Some optimistic change, nevertheless, has occurred. Earlier this month, IBM stated it will now not promote its facial recognition know-how, which has change into a instrument for policing and mass surveillance. Meanwhile, Microsoft just lately stated it gained’t promote facial recognition know-how to police with out federal regulation and Amazon halted police use of its facial recognition tech for one yr. These had been direct responses to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

In response to Floyd’s loss of life, Pichai famous in an electronic mail to staff that “Our Black group is hurting, and many people are trying to find methods to face up for what we consider, and attain out to individuals we love to indicate solidarity.”

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He additionally outlined how Google will give $12 million to racial justice organizations. Since then, Pichai has elaborated on Google’s commitments to racial justice. Internally, for instance, Google dedicated to enhancing various illustration on the management degree by 30% by 2025.

“We need Google to take actual steps to assist dismantle racism,” staff wrote. “We as a society have moved previous the purpose the place saying Black Lives Matter is sufficient, we have to present it in our considering, in our phrases and in our actions that Black lives do matter to us.”

TechCrunch has reached out to Google and can replace this story if we hear again.

Unpacking tech’s response to the killing of George Floyd

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