Google employees are demanding greater transparency from their employer and confronting management with their ethical concerns about a project named Dragonfly, a controversial censored search app for the Chinese market.
Employees are circulating a list of demands for the company in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News (posted in full, below), calling for an ethics review structure with rank-and-file employee representatives, the appointment of ombudspeople, and an ethical assessment of Google projects including Dragonfly and Maven, Google’s contract with the Pentagon to build AI-assisted drone technology.
“Many of us believe that Dragonfly poses a threat to freedom of expression and political dissent globally, and violates our AI principles,” two employees wrote in an email distributing the demand list.
“But this is not about Dragonfly specifically,” the email continues. “While we support and will join with concerned Googlers in resisting this effort, we need to be clear: Individual employees organizing against the latest dubious project cannot be our only safeguard against unethical decisions. This amounts to unsustainable ethics whack-a-mole, and assumes employees know about a project to begin with.”