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The billionaire investor raised the issue at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C., where he said Google should be asked three questions regarding its relationship with China, Axios reported.
"Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI [artificial intelligence]?” Thiel questioned. “Number two, does Google's senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?”
For his third question, Thiel slammed Google for its work with China.
“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military,” Thiel said at the conference. “Because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn't go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?"
Thiel, one of President Trump's most vocals supporter in Silicon Valley, said the FBI and CIA should present these questions to Google, adding that he “would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”
The investor seemed to be referencing Google’s decision in June 2018 to not renew a contract with the U.S. Defense Department that would help it dissect drone videos through artificial intelligence, CNBC reported. The tech company decided to end the partnership, which expired in March, after thousands of employees protested the work and signed a petition urging Google to step away.
Google was also criticized last year when reports emerged it was working to develop a censored search engine for China. The company also reportedly shut down that project.