Trump to investigate Peter Thiel’s accusation of Google colluding with China
Things are about to get hot for Google, the huge Internet search giant. President Trump himself explains in a recently posted tweet:
“Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese Government.’ @foxandfriends A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”
The story started over the weekend when Peter Thiel, an Internet billionaire and a supporter of President Trump, basically accused Google of committing treason against the United States. Thiel levied his accusations at the National Conservatism Conference, according to Axios:
“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI? Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?”
“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”
Google’s work to create a censored version of its search engine for China has proved troubling for many observers of the tech industry. The Internet and the ability to search for information has been one of the greatest boons for freedom ever developed. However, Google, apparently valuing profit more than ethical behavior, is working to help the Chinese government deny its citizens’ access to information on the Internet.
It should be noted that Google, along with other social media companies, has also moved to censor conservative websites in its search engine. Critics have suggested that the search engine giant is being motivated by political considerations in its failure to maintain a system that is available for all.
At the same time, Google recently backed out of a drone AI project called Project Maven because, it is said, a revolt by a small number of employees who believed that any work for the United States military is “evil.” The dichotomy of an American based company working with a hostile foreign power while refusing to work for the United States military is too stark to ignore. Add to that the censoring of conservative websites, and one can understand why Thiel and not President Trump are concerned.
Google has denied working for the Chinese military. However, considering the lack of transparency that exists at the search engine giant, the Trump administration would only be prudent by finding out for itself.
That China is busily robbing technological secrets from both the government and American private industry is a well-established fact. Chinese intelligence has used cyberwar techniques as well as human intelligence to steal intellectual property in its quest to supplant the United States as the dominant superpower. It is also using high tech secrets to establish what is called a social credit system, which uses internet monitoring, surveillance cameras, and other technology to control the behavior of its citizens.
Social credit is a system that seems right out of a dystopian science fiction novel. That Google would be helping to establish such a system runs contrary to its slogan, “Don’t be evil.” The slogan has become more of a joke as the high-tech company engages in demonstrably evil practices.
Thiel’s suggestion that Google has been infiltrated by Chinese spies is especially troubling. The question arises, are these spies confining themselves to stealing secrets or are they seeking to influence the decision-making of the search engine giant.
The notion that Google is being influenced by Beijing sounds like the scenario of a bad spy novel. But the idea explains a lot, from the “employee revolt” that led to Google withdrawing from an important military contract to the censoring of conservative websites.
President Trump is quite right to promise an investigation of the ties Google has with the Chinese government. Google, as with several other high-tech giants such as Facebook (of which Thiel is a board member), have an outsized influence on American business, national security, and society as a whole.
A possible Chinese infiltration of Google would be even more dangerous than Soviet spies in the Manhattan Project or a scenario in which the KGB was inside NASA during the Apollo race to the moon. An investigation to find out whether or not Thiel’s concerns are warranted should be of the highest priority.