Some of the more subtle voices in the tech industry are probably wondering whether this isn’t a re-run of McCarthyism. That’s what happens when someone like Peter Thiel--Facebook board member, co-founder of Palantir, and huge cheerleader for Trump--goes on a rampage, calling Google “seemingly treasonous” and decidedly unpatriotic.
It’s also rich coming from the director of a company at the heart of a data-sharing scandal that can hardly be called “patriotic”.
But it makes sense when you consider that Palatnir, the company Thiel, in all of his right-wing zeal, co-founded, is a surveillance and data mining company that contracts for ICE and other federal agencies. That, in the Trump view of things, is the heart of patriotism.
Google, on the other hand, as Thiel is very keen to point out, is unpatriotic because of its relationship with China and its attempts to re-enter that market with a censored search engine dubbed “Project Dragonfly”.
Google is also “seemingly treasonous” for refusing to work for the US military in Artificial Intelligence (AI), because its employees pressured it to drop the contract.
Thiel isn’t just calling Google unpatriotic. He’s urging the FBI and CIA to investigate whether the Chinese have infiltrated the company. He’s suggesting Google has been compromised by Chinese intelligence.
“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI (artificial intelligence)?” Thiel asked, according to Axios. “Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?”
“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military,” he added.
Thiel found support to keep his damning indictment public from Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, who told CNBC Monday that Thiel was “courageous” for pointing this out and that he agreed: “Google is not a patriotic company”.
This soapbox takes form just days before Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook are set to be grilled by Congress, and specifically as Facebook’s plans for the Libra cryptocurrency come under fire.
All four of the Silicon Valley giants will basically be on trial, and the end goal here is to determine whether the government should regulate them more heavily.
It’s a political issue if it’s anything at all--hence Thiel’s jump on this bandwagon in a very dramatic--and poignant way: He’s making it about patriotism, and he’s hoping to polarize America further ahead of 2020 elections.
He’s also hoping to take some of the heat off Facebook as it faces down Congress.
With Google “treacherous” and possibly “infiltrated” by the Chinese, Facebook’s Libra looks much less threatening than it did a week ago. The media will latch on to Google’s alleged treachery with full fangs. The masses don’t understand cryptocurrency, but they do understand any type of “red scare”.
If you thought tech giants didn’t have much of a say in 2020 elections--think again. A major election campaign issue will be how the government will regulate this industry. And both sides of that debate are going to try to play the ‘democracy’ card--one through patriotism, and one through freedom--but none through privacy.
All of these tech giants are ominous.
Amazon has a market cap of over $994 billion.
Apple’s is the same.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has a $798 billion market cap.
This is nearly three trillion dollars of power that isn’t going to protect your privacy.
And now they’re going after each other’s throats. The line in the sand has been drawn, and it looks a lot like McCarthyism.
By Charles Benavidez for Safehaven.com
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