Tensions between the United States and China are steadily ramping up, with suspicions targeted at technology companies that operate in both nations.
For example, Huawei, who’s long tried entering the U.S. market, is now under scrutiny for espionage. U.S. officials fear that if Huawei devices reach local users, China might use them as a window to breach national security.
Ultimately, it is possible such concerns won’t be realized. But when considering how just last month Nokia phones were found secretly transmitting user data to China, worries have amplified. In their defense, it’s worth noting Nokia manufacturer HMD Global acknowledged the transmission as “an error in software packaging processes.” But regardless of this excuse, these incidents have cemented severe questions about China in the minds of many U.S. citizens.
Now, Google’s been called out for its relationship with China by Missouri’s newest senator, Josh Hawley. The Republican wrote an open letter to Google’s CEO, requesting the company reveal its intentions with the communist nation.
Hawley’s Letter to Google
The letter begins with Hawley expressing deep concerns about the US-based company’s partnership with the Asian superpower. He also chastises the Silicon Valley giant for its “unwillingness to partner with the U.S. Armed Forces, even while pursuing lucrative projects in China.”
Hawley also notes that he was told by an American general that companies which do business in China likely have “a cell of the Communist party” within their organization.
The Senator then expresses grave concerns Communist infiltrators could direct Google to pursue an agenda driven by the Chinese military. Hawley ends his point by speculating how most Americans would be shocked to learn the tech firm partnered with a national adversary.
Next, he mentions how Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) development in China is a threat to domestic data and privacy. More than that, he states Google is supporting China’s value system, which stands in opposition to U.S. ideals.
Hawley points out, despite Google’s excitement about innovation opportunities in China, the company don’t have enough information about its goals to have an ethically-informed relationship with the nation.
Ending with a Request
After presenting his case, Hawley wraps up by providing a list of “basic human liberties” violations ongoing in China. The country’s offenses include suppression of religion, infringement on free speech, and the detention of almost 1 million Uyghur Muslims.
The congressman closes his missive by making a final appeal to the tech giant. “Now meet with the American people by addressing publicly the work your company does in China.”
At the time of writing, Google has not made any public response to Senator Hawley’s inquiry.