Google Workers Are Demanding That the Company Stop Working With Police

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP

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In a new letter, more than 1,600 Google workers are demanding that the company end its work with police departments across the country.

“The past weeks have shown us that addressing racism is not merely an issue of words, but of actions taken to dismantle the actual structures that perpetuate it,” the workers wrote in a draft of the to-be-released letter addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and obtained by Mother Jones. The letter was signed by 1,670 employees, according to a screenshot that was shared with Mother Jones by someone with access to the signature list, and was organized by Googlers Against Racism, an advocacy group within the company.

“While we as individuals hold difficult but necessary conversations with our family, friends and peers, we are also incredibly disappointed by our company’s response,” the letter continued, referencing Google’s lip service to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The letter also demands that the company “stop making our technology available to police forces.”

Google employees singled out the company’s work with law enforcement through its venture capital arm, Gradient Ventures, which the Intercept reported in 2019 funds CAPE Productions, a startup that makes AI software to help police surveil the public with drones.

The employees also pointed to Google’s touting of its work with the police department in Clarkstown, New York. According to Google’s website, it contracts G-Suite cloud computing services to the police department, like email, calendars, and digital storage.

“Google is profiting off of these racist systems, and we believe this means Google is part of the problem,” the workers wrote. 

Google employees had previously organized in 2018 against the company’s Project Maven, its contract to provide AI to the Department of Defense’s military drone program. The company announced that it would end the program after sustained pushback from workers across the company.   

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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