Google CEO commits to keep working with police despite internal backlash
Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to keep working with police departments despite internal company opposition to the arrangement during Wednesday’s House hearing on competition in the digital marketplace.
“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 after questioning from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) about collaboration with the U.S. military and law enforcement.
They were his first comments on an internal letter signed by more than 1,600 Google employees that circulated last month calling for the company to cancel its contracts with the police amid new scrutiny on law enforcement after the killing of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests.
“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,” read the letter written by the group Googlers Against Racism. “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 specifically cited Google’s Cloud contract with the Clarkstown, N.Y., police department, which has been sued for illegally surveilling Black Lives Matter organizers.
It also called out Google’s indirect support for an Arizona sheriff’s department program tracking people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
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