More than 1650 Google employees signed an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that they stop selling their technology to police forces throughout the United States. The letter is related to protests that have been going on for 5 consecutive weeks, against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.
In a letter written by a group of employees is said that the past weeks have shown people: the fight against racism is not just words, but actions, which are taken to destroy such structures that «immortalize» it. While they personally conduct complex but necessary conversations with family, friends, and peers, there is a disappointment with the reaction of the company.
Googlers find it impossible criminalizing black existence while all cry that Black Lives Matter.
Employees pay attention to company’s current Cloud contract with one of the New York police departments. For this, back in 2015, they were sued for allegedly unlawful surveillance of Black Lives Matter demonstrators. They also highlight the company’s indirect support for the Arizona Sheriff’s department, which tracks people who cross the US-Mexican border.
Although the company promised $175 million to support black business owners and job seekers, and YouTube created a $100 million fund to strengthen the voice of black content creators, Google continues to profit from contracts with the police.
One of the reasons for writing this letter is that Google has not yet stated does the company intend to continue its cooperation with the police. This is especially important for face recognition technology. The bottom line is that 2 weeks ago, Amazon announced that for a year the police would not be able to use such technology from them called Rekognition.
At the same time, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna noted that the company does not encourage technologies that will be used for mass surveillance and violation of basic human rights and freedoms and noted that they will not continue to cooperate with the authorities on this project. Read more about this in our article.
Note that the letter was distributed among employees from last Wednesday, and in a short period of time gathered more than 1600 like-minded people. According to employees, an official response from management has not yet arrived.