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Citing Google's Deal with Huawei, US Lawmakers Imply Tech Giant Favors Chinese Communist Party

A neon lamp is designed after Google's logo. Credit: mjmonty (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Every time Huawei scores a deal with another tech giant based in the United States — this time, it is Google — U.S. lawmakers and government agencies are quick to issue letters of concern with demands to break up the partnership.

And with the recent events between Google and the U.S. government, the disgruntled lawmakers are implying that it is as if Google has chosen the Chinese Communist Party over the U.S. military department.

A June 20 letter signed by congressmen and senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties was sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, discouraging the company from pursuing a corporate partnership with Huawei. Signatories of the letter include Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as Congress members Mike Conaway (R-TX 11th District), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD 2nd District), and Liz Cheney (R-WY At-large District).

“We write to express our concerns about Google’s ‘strategic partnership’ with Huawei Technologies,” the letter reads. The lawmakers directly call out Huawei’s “extensive ties” with the Chinese Communist Party and are worried that a U.S.-based company such as Google is partnering with it.

The senators and representatives were disappointed “that Google did not want to continue a long and fruitful tradition of collaboration” with the U.S. military and that it was “more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party.” The forfeited partnership with the Pentagon is widely known as the Project Maven, which the lawmakers describe in the letter as a “project [that] uses artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy of U.S. military targeting.”

It can be recalled that Google’s participation in the so-called Project Maven stirred controversies and dissent among its employees over concerns that Google’s AI was being used for the improvement of war weapons. Google later issued a statement maintaining that they would never let their products be used to make weapons that could lead to massive casualties.

The lawmakers add that Google’s partnership with Huawei “pose[s] a serious risk” to the country’s national security. They also cite previous investigation results where Huawei products were believed to be the causes of security issues experienced by American consumers.

Meanwhile, in a statement to Reuters, Google defended its partnership with Huawei and other tech corporations saying, “Like many U.S. companies, we have agreements with dozens of OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, including Huawei. We do not provide special access to Google user data as part of this agreement, and our agreements include privacy and security protections for user data.”

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