US Joint Chief Chairman General Joseph Dunford insisted that US tech companies must understand the threat to their technology when they work with China. General Dunford specifically highlighted Google as a prime example following the opening of their AI laboratory in Beijing in 2017. Recently, the general had told a Senate hearing that Google “indirectly benefits the Chinese military” from its recent partnership.
On Thursday, he once again reiterated his fear that any tech company could be under threat from the Chinese government.
He added: “Chinese companies are automatically required to have a cell of the Chinese Communist Party in that company, and that it’s going to lead to that intellectual property from that company finding its way to the Chinese military.
“In my judgment, us assisting the Chinese military in advancing technology is not in US national interests.
“It could enable the Chinese military to take advantage of the technology developed in the United States.
“So it’s a debate we have to have.”
The issues with Google began when the tech giant pulled out of an AI defence contract with the Pentagon last year.
Google pulled out of the contract following protests from employees over its involvement in a controversial artificial intelligence programme which analysed drone footage.
The company was also attacked following its plans to launch a search engine in China where it ended most of its commercial services in 2010.
Donald Trump has also weighed into the matter recently tweeting: “Google is helping China and their military, but not the US. Terrible!”
In a statement responding to those claims, a Google spokesperson said that the company was not working with the Chinese military.
The statement read: “We are working with the US government, including the Department of Defence, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.
“We are not working with the Chinese military.”
Top US military leaders and Google representatives will reportedly meet in order to discuss the accusations.