During the Congressional antitrust hearing with tech CEOs Wednesday, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz grilled Google CEO Sundar Pichai about Google’s relationship with law enforcement and the U.S. military. At the end of the exchange, Pichai promised Google would continue to work with and support the cops.
“We are committed to continuing to work with law enforcement in a way that’s consistent with law and due process in the U.S,” Pichai said at the end of the exchange.
At issue was a letter 1,600 Google employees sent to Google execs June 22 in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. The letter called out Google for doing business with U.S. law enforcement agencies that were under civil and criminal investigation. In 2018, blowback from employees over Project Maven—an AI partnership between Google and the Pentagon—forced Google to leave the project and the Pentagon behind.
Gaetz led off his questions for Pichai by rehashing the Project Maven story. “You made the decision to pull out of that joint venture following receipt of a letter from thousands of your employees saying that Google should not be in the business of war,” Gaetz said. “Did you weigh the input from your employees when making the decision to abandon that project with the United States military?”
“We are deeply committed to supporting the military and the U.S. government,” Pichai said. “We have undertaken several projects since then. We do take our employees’ input into account but it’s one input.”
“They’ve asked you to stop doing business with American law enforcement, saying that police—broadly—uphold white supremacy and that Google should not be engaged with any services with police...will you take the pledge that Google will not adopt the bigoted anti-police policy that is requested in the most recent letter?”
“We are committed to continuing to work with law enforcement in a way that’s consistent with law and due process in the U.S,” Pichai responded.