by WorldTribune Staff, July 15, 2019
Peter Thiel, perhaps the lone major Silicon Valley ally of President Donald Trump, said a federal investigation of Google is warranted for its ties to the Chinese military.
Thiel, a billionaire investor and Facebook board member, in an address to the National Conservatism Conference on July 14 suggested that Google’s decision to work with the Chinese military is “seemingly treasonous” and that the tech giant’s management has likely been compromised by Chinese intelligence.
Last year, Google’s parent company Alphabet chose not to renew a contract with the Pentagon to develop artificial intelligence for the military.
Google employees protested the project, known as Operation Maven, out of concern that it would be used to improve the accuracy of drone strikes.
Google has also come under fire for agreeing to enable state censorship in China through its search engine as a precondition for accessing the Chinese market.
Thiel said there are “three questions that should be asked” of Google:
- 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 U.S. 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?
Thiel said the three questions “need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA, and I’m not sure quite how to put this, I would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”
During his remarks on July 14, Thiel praised President Donald Trump’s use of tariffs against China as a “signature achievement” and suggested that the current 25 percent tariff should be thought of as a “floor not a ceiling,” Bloomberg reported.