News Release

Is Google Really Ending its Military Contracts?

YASHA LEVINE, [in NYC] mail at yashalevine.com, @yashalevine
Levine is an investigative journalist and author of the new book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet. He recently wrote the piece “Know your history: Google has been a military-intel contractor from the very beginning,” which includes excerpts from the book that document specific contracts Google has with the CIA; and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, in partnership with Lockheed Martin.

He has been commenting on the scandal surrounding Google’s military contracting work on Project Maven, a Pentagon initiative to develop AI visual recognition capability for drones and was quoted in the recent Wired piece on the story.

He said today: “The public should not fall for Google’s announcement that it will not be renewing its contract for Project Maven, which came as a result of public criticism and the resignation of dozens of Google employees. The company is still a military contractor. …

“Sure, Google might not renew this specific AI drone contract. But what about the rest of the company’s military contracting work? What about its work with predictive policing outfits?

“Head of Google’s AI (who also runs Stanford’s AI lab) doesn’t mind building weapons for the military. What she worries about is the optics.

“Co-founder Sergey Brin wants Google to be a military contractor. Says it will be better for peace if Google does this military work rather than traditional military contractors.

“It’s great that Google employees are protesting their company’s Pentagon AI drone research, but that’s hardly the only work Google does for militaries and law enforcement. Google has been building more efficient systems of surveillance and death for generals, spies and cops for 15 years and counting.”