Thousands of Google employees are protesting the company’s involvement with a Pentagon surveillance program, sending a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, stating that, “We believe Google should not be in the business of war.”
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The object of the protest is Project Maven, a customized artificial intelligence surveillance engine that uses data captured by U.S. government drones to detect vehicles and objects and provide these results to the Department of Defense. According to Defenseone.com, the surveillance would be used to hunt for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Besides asking that Project Maven be canceled, the protesting workers want Google to draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neitherGoogle nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.
According to The New York Times, 3,100 employees have signed the letter saying that Google’s involvement will irreparably damage its brand and its ability to compete for talent. According to Statista, Google has 88,110 full-time employees.
“By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google,” the letter stated.
The employees added that the stands in direct opposition to its core values.