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Workers’ Rights, Silicon Valley-Style

In the technology industry, labor organizing can get tricky.
relates to Workers’ Rights, Silicon Valley-Style
Robert Galbraith/Reuters

When Eric started at Google a few years ago, he thought it would be different from other tech companies—more careful about its impact on people around the world. Google, after all, was the firm that had (until recently) put “Don’t be evil” in its official code of conduct. But his idealized vision of the company has clouded recently.

Earlier in 2018, around a dozen Google employees resigned in protest after learning of their company’s involvement in the U.S. military’s Project Maven, which integrates artificial intelligence into existing drone warfare technology. After pushback, Google did not renew its contract with the Pentagon. The company has been hit with charges that its search algorithms regularly highlight false and politically motivated sources of information. And in Auguest, The Intercept reported that Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese government, internally called Project Dragonfly. According to the New York Times, a letter with around 1,400 employee signatures circulated on internal forums at Google, demanding more transparency and discussion around the ethical consequences of the company’s decisions.