Google was accused of working with China when tech billionaire Peter Thiel called on the CIA and FBI to probe the search engine for its “seemingly treasonous” ties with China.
Thiel, a venture capitalist and member of President Trump’s White House transition team, suggested in a speech Sunday that the tech juggernaut has been actively working with the Chinese military — and that top management has become a hotbed for Chinese spies.
The speech, first reported by Axios, echoed a tweet by Trump in March accusing Google of “helping China and their military, but not the U.S. Terrible!”
In his speech before the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, DC, Thiel urged investigators to ask three questions of Google.
Meanwhile, former Barack Obama White House cybersecurity chief Richard Clarke backed Thiel’s claims, when he told CNBC on Wednesday that the venture capitalist was right to call out Alphabet’s Google for working with China.
“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?” Thiel said, referring to the DeepMind artificial intelligence project being developed under the Alphabet umbrella, which Thiel said should be considered a “military weapon.”
Google last summer pledged that it would not use artificial intelligence in ways that could be considered unethical, declining to renew a contract with the US military to use its AI technology to analyze drone footage.
“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?” Thiel asked.