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Google employees petition company to cancel police contracts

Google employees are signing an internal petition, calling on the company to stop selling technology to police departments.

The letter, with the headline “No Police Contracts,” began circulating last week and has been signed by more than 1,100 employees, who identify themselves as part of “Googlers Against Racism.” The document, which CNBC viewed, asks CEO Sundar Pichai to “take real steps to dismantle racism,” and alleges that Google is “profiting” off racism with business contracts.

“We as a society have moved past the point where saying Black Lives Matter is not enough, we need to show it in our thinking, in our words and in our actions that Black lives do matter to us,” the petition says. “The past weeks have seen a renewed energy and momentum fighting racism. They have also shown us that addressing racism is not merely an issue of words, but of actions taken to dismantle the actual structures that perpetuate it. 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.”

Last week, Pichai said the company will commit $175 million towards supporting black businesses in response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer and the worldwide protests that followed. The company also said it plans to increase “underrepresented” people in its leadership and end peer-based badge checking, deferring to security teams.

Signers of the petition want the company to go farther. They say they’re disappointed that the company’s artificial intelligence technology is being used by law enforcement to “track down immigrants with drone surveillance footage” and claim that the company’s political action committee, funded by money from employees, donates “to racist politicians and white supremacists.” (Read more)