a common thread to be pulled…
*ahem* So, if you weren’t aware Google is helping the Department of Defense analyse the intelligence data gathered by military drones. Google’s employee’s are rightly upset about this, sending a letter to Google’s CEO.
The interesting part is Google’s talking points…
A Google spokesperson sent the following response to the letter (my paraphrasing of corporate doublespeak is in blue under the response):
An important part of our culture is having employees who are actively engaged in the work that we do. We know that there are many open questions involved in the use of new technologies, so these conversations—with employees and outside experts—are hugely important and beneficial.
“We’re open and honest and love the feedback!!! Thanks guys!!!”
Maven is a well-publicized DoD project, and Google is working on one part of it—specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes and using open-source object-recognition software available to any Google Cloud customer. The models are based on unclassified data only. The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.
“There’s nothing to worry about! It’s a public thing! It’s not some super-duper secrety killy thing! We’re saving people time!!!
Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine-learning technologies.
I don’t actually understand how military intelligence is gathered and used but here I am saying it’s okay and nobody will be hurt!!! We’re engaged! Also we aren’t responsible for our own actions but experts say its okey doke!
Google is developing software to analyse data gathered by military drones, that data is then fed to military analysts and if something interesting is found and is actionable the information is sent upwards, that information then drives decisions like “can we get a missile through that window?”
Google is in fact becoming one of the first links in the kill chain (identify, dispatch, assess, attack, destroy). Google will be present in the identify part of the kill chain regardless of anything the Department of Defense or Google’s executives say and believe.
Ultimately, Google’s managers are either incredibly ignorant, incredibly intellectually lazy, or simply do not care that they are part of the military’s kill chain.
And that’s the thread to pull on. Regardless of the why, Google’s executives are refusing to accept responsibility for their actions and are attempting to justify their actions.
Here we are in the year of our lord 2018 and it is quite apparent that everything is everybody else’s fault, the only thing that matters is that I get what I want, and killing people is in fact okay and making money off of it is even more okay… I mean… you worked hard to help kill them didn’t you? You deserve compensation.
Anyways let’s move on to Facebook and their firehose spewing out incredibly personal data to anybody with a credit card. In response to Cambridge Analytica’s use of millions of people’s personal information gotten through Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote a public post…
…This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.
In this case, we already took the most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people’s information in this way. But there’s more we need to do and I’ll outline those steps here:
I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.
Ultimately, the post is a non-apology explaining why nothing is actually Facebook’s fault because they already addressed various issues years ago and they super-duper promise your incredibly personal data will be just fine in future!
That’s the thread to pull on.
Once again, people who are supposed to be responsible refuse to truly accept responsibility. Every word uttered is just another justification for their actions. It is like saying “I’m sorry but…” What follows the but is always a justification people give for their atrocious behavior.
We can do this all day, we can keep pulling, we can keep examining the million and one recent examples of the people with power from moderate to large engaging in hurtful, abusive, and immoral behavior.
The buck never stops with the people responsible. That needs to be acknowledged, that needs to be changed.