On Wednesday July 29, the Judiciary Committee of the House held a hearing with the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple over the companies’ antitrust practices as well the censorship on social media platforms aimed at conservatives, Fox News reported.
While Democrats focused mainly on these companies’ unfair competition practices that are destroying small business or making them completely reliant on social media platforms, Republicans seized the opportunity to go after Facebook’s censorship and Google’s biased against American values.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) addressing Sundar Pichai, Google and YouTube CEO, recalled Google’s pulling out from Project Maven in June 2018 due to “ethical concerns.” Project Maven was a joint effort with the U.S. military to improve the accuracy of drones strikes using Google imagery. Some 3,000 employees wrote a letter to Pichai claiming Google “should not be involved in the business of war” and the company should withdraw its participation citing ethical concerns.
“Did you weigh input from your employees when making the decision to abandon the project with the U.S. military?” Gaetz asked Pichai.
Google’s CEO replied that since then the company has been involved in many projects with the military and that employees’ input is taken into account among others.
However, Gaetz went through Google’s history of collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from an AI center, to the participation in Chinese universities and currently working on targeting capabilities of J-20 fighter aircrafts, which evidently is used in the “business of war.”
“So why would an American company with American values so directly aid the CCP military but have ethical concerns about working along sides the U.S. military on Project Maven?” Gaetz asked. He continued, “And I understand your point about cybersecurity and those things, but Project Maven was a specific way to ensure that our troops are safe on the battlefield, and if you have no problem making the J-20 Chinese fighter more effective in its targeting, why wouldn’t you want to make America as effective?”
Pichai’s reply was elusive, repeating the company’s commitment to work with the military at present and asserting it has limited participation in China.
According to a CNBC article, around 1,100 Google’s employees signed and a letter to request the company end contracts with the police, presumably responding to the “defund the police” infamous movement. Gaetz asked Sundar Pichai if the company would stop providing services to the police, to which the CEO replied it would not.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), also a critic of Google’s practices said to Fox News, “If Google wants to cozy up to Communist China, Sundar Pichai must answer for the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party.”
On the same day of the hearing, Buck introduce a resolution mirroring that of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), for U.S. corporations to be held accountable if the use of slave labor is found in its chain of production, a very bold move that’s welcome from religious and minority groups around the world that have consistently denounced the existence of labor camps throughout China.