It's no secret that Google maintains a strong relationship with federal and local law enforcement agencies in the United States. Not only do they provide online search data in 88% of all requests received from law enforcement, but they can also be subpoenaed – without the need for a judge – and forced to give up information by certain agencies.
The Good and the Bad
All of this should come as no surprise and, in many cases, this is a good thing. Data obtained from Google has already been used in countless court cases and will continue to be used in the future.
However, a group of Google employees has recently sent a joint letter to their company's CEO, Sundar Pichai, to urge them to stop selling next-gen technology to law enforcement agencies within the United States.
In the letter, which has been signed by no less than 1,600 individual Google employees, specifically mentions Google's recent work with police and military agencies, most of which originates from their venture capital arm known as Gradient Ventures.
Founded in 2017, Gradient Ventures was launched to handle law enforcement relations and technology on behalf of the Google brand. One of their primary focuses revolves around next-gen artificial intelligence and information technology.
The letter reads, in part: ''"We're disappointed to know that Google 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."
In addition, Google's latest statement went on to state that they have strict policies regarding the use of their artificial intelligence systems, including platforms that are meant specifically for law enforcement.
A Case of History Repeating Itself
But this isn't even the first time that Google employees have spoken out against their employer and their relationship with law enforcement. In 2018, many workers publically opposed a contract between the search engine giant and the Pentagon, which ultimately resulted in Project Maven and the implementation of next-gen AI in aerial drones. Some workers even resigned over the matter.
While it's clear that Google plans on continuing their relationships with military and law enforcement agencies across the country, it's hard to ignore the pressure from employees and external critics alike. If the controversy continues to grow, it wouldn't be surprising to see them scale back their efforts and take a more streamlined approach. Until then, however, it appears that everything will continue as normal between Google and law enforcement.
For more information on Google, including recent news and headlines or details on any of their latest technological breakthroughs, please visit their official site at about.google.com.
Will Google Cease Partnerships with Law Enforcement?
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