Search Maven Google Secretly Remains in Military Deal It Publicly Eschewed
Google’s hand will remain in a controversial, secret–and lucrative– Pentagon program that uses drone technology to identify targets for military strikes. In 2018, Google faced resignations and a massive internal protest with thousands of employees signing a petition urging the company to sever ties with Project Maven. Google Cloud’s chief executive at the time, Diane Greene, announced at a company town hall meeting that the contract was only for $9 million. Google at first relented to their employees’ backlash to the contract last June when they publicly announced they would not renew their contract to work on Project Maven. But since then, Project Maven has been allocated another $100 million by the U.S. and will likely reach $250 million in years to come.
Project Maven is solely focused on a military drone based on artificial intelligence in order to detect images caught on the battlefield. Critics say the public should be informed but the government claims that Project Maven is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Government officials claim that with the disclosure involving Project Maven could not only lead to possible destruction, but also death.
Sam Biddle, “Pentagon Says All of Google’s Work on Drones Is Exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, ” The Intercept, March 25, 2019, http://www.theintercept.com/2019/03/25/google-project-maven-pentagon-foia/
Lee Fang, “Google Hedges on Promise to End Controversial Involvement in Military Drone Contract.” The Intercept, March 1, 2019, http://www.theintercept.com/2019/03/01/google-project-maven-contract
Lee Fang, “Leaked Emails Show Google Expected Lucrative Military Drone AI Work to Grow Exponentially,” The Intercept, June 1, 2018, http://www.theintercept.com/2018/05/31/google-leaked-emails-drone-ai-pentagon-lucrative/
Diane Greene, “Incorporating Google’s AI Principles into Google Cloud,” Google, June 7, 2018, http://www.blog.google/products/google-cloud/incorporating-googles-ai-principles-google-cloud/
Paresh Dave and Heather Somerville, “UPDATE 1 — Google to scrub U.S. military deal protested by employees -source,” Reuters, June 1, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/alphabet-defense/update-1-google-to-scrub-u-s-military-deal-protested-by-employees-source-idUSL2N1T320P
Student Researchers: Matt Aliberti, Matt Fausch, Reneé Francolini, and Molly Slyman (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Faculty Evaluator: Allison Butler (University of Massachusetts Amherst)