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go-ogle Workers Call For Company To Cease Selling Technology To Police Departments

Over 1,600 go-ogle staff have signed a letter distributed internally to CEO Sundar Pichai urging him to stop the corporate’s enterprise dealings with police departments throughout the United States. 

The letter, revealed in full by Business Insider and confirmed by HuffPost, was signed by “Googlers Against Racism,” and reportedly started disseminating final week. It stresses that “go-ogle is profiting off of … racist systems,” referring to the corporate’s donations to police foundations and continuous supplying of know-how to legislation enforcement departments throughout the nation.

“We’re disappointed to know that go-ogle is still selling to police forces, and advertises its connection with police forces as somehow progressive, and seeks more expansive sales rather than severing ties with police and joining the millions who want to defang and defund these institutions,” the letter reads. “Why help the institutions responsible for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more effective organizationally? Not only that, but the same Clarkstown police force being advertised by go-ogle as a success story has been sued multiple times for illegal surveillance of Black Lives Matter organizers.”

The aforementioned police drive is the main target of a go-ogle Cloud “Customer Story” article highlighting how switching to G Suite and different go-ogle merchandise helped the police division of Clarkstown, New York, save “$20K to $30K a year on IT licensing costs alone.” According to native outlet The Journal News, in 2019 the Clarkstown Police settled a civil rights lawsuit filed two years prior alleging that the division had racially profiled and unlawfully surveilled members of Black Lives Matter, together with placing snipers on rooftops throughout rallies.

The letter additionally expresses disappointment with the corporate “helping law enforcement track down immigrants with drone surveillance footage.” This is a reference to Cogniac, an organization funded by way of go-ogle’s Gradient Ventures enterprise fund that has supplied software program to establish people crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

In a press release issued to HuffPost by a go-ogle spokesperson, the tech large won’t be ending its dealings with the police. 

“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,” the spokesperson mentioned. “On this one, we were the first major company to decide, years ago, to not make general purpose facial recognition commercially available and we have very clear AI Principles that prohibit its use or sale for surveillance. We have long standing terms of use for generally available computing platforms like Gmail, G Suite and go-ogle Cloud Platform, and these products will remain available for governments and local authorities, including police departments, to use.”

go-ogle’s assertion refers to its prolonged clarification of facial recognition know-how which argues that the corporate has been “cautious about deploying face recognition in [its] products, or as services for others to use.” In an early June interview with The New York Times, Timnit Gebru, technical co-lead of go-ogle’s Ethical Artifical Intelligence Team, argued that such know-how was harmful, because it might “still be used in a way that is detrimental to certain groups of people,” however added that whereas she believed the tech must be banned, she “didn’t know about the future.” 

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