Google engineers refused to make a tool which would win the company military contracts, according to a report.
“Earlier this year, a group of influential software engineers in Google’s cloud division surprised their superiors by refusing to work on a cutting-edge security feature. Known as ‘air gap,’ the technology would have helped Google win sensitive military contracts,” reported Bloomberg. “The coders weren’t persuaded their employer should be using its technological might to help the government wage war, according to four current and former employees.”
Following the protest by employees subsequently known as the Group of Nine, the tool was “postponed,” and the company reduced “the scope of the feature.”
Employee rebellion has become more common at the search giant, and other Silicon Valley companies including Microsoft and Amazon, with several employees leaving Google over their drone contract with the Pentagon.
Employees requested that the company cancel their contract “immediately,” declaring, “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war.”
“This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent. Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust,” the employees expressed. “This contract puts Google’s reputation at risk and stands in direct opposition to our core values. Building this technology to assist the US Government in military surveillance – and potentially lethal outcomes – is not acceptable.”