NYACT questions Google chief’s call for drones regulation

Israel/Palestine

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According to a BBC News report, on April 13, 2013 Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, Incorporated, told a reporter from the UK’s Guardian newspaper that drone technology should be regulated, citing privacy and security concerns.

What Schmidt failed to mention in the interview is that Google is currently hosting classes for a new applied science and technology campus being planned for New York City’s Roosevelt Island. Cornell NYC Tech is a collaboration between Cornell University and one of Israel’s largest weapons research and development institutes, The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. This collaboration will cost New York taxpayers at least $100 million, and was largely conceived without public oversight.

The Technion plays a key role in developing drones and other technologies used by the Israeli military to enforce the Israeli occupation of Palestine and monitor the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law. The Technion is therefore complicit in war crimes against the Palestinian people. Affiliation with and support of the Technion makes any institution or company, including Google and Cornell, likewise complicit in those crimes.

The worldwide deployment of drones is expanding dramatically: the U.S. military has recently used drones in attacks waged in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, killing hundreds of innocent people and sparking outrage against the United States. Furthermore, U.S. law enforcement and security agencies have been given a green light to deploy drone technology internally. Just this past week, two Israeli drones violated Lebanon’s airspace. With more money being pumped into weapons research, drone technology has become more advanced, with drones themselves getting smaller, more intricate, and more deadly. The rationale being supplied for this increasing and broader use of drones is that they are controlled remotely and thus decrease the likelihood of military/police casualties. It is, however, also important to consider the lives and rights of people who are actually being targeted by drones.

Although Eric Schmidt’s call for regulation of drone technology is a welcome admission of its inherent danger, he cleverly directs his criticisms only against the private use of drones. Governments, however, must also be scrutinized and restricted in their use of drones, whether for military deployment or police surveillance purposes. By ignoring Technion’s involvement in drones development, Schmidt has evaded Google’s complicity in the Israel Defense Forces’ deployment of drones in the occupied Palestinian territories.

New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership therefore asks that Eric Schmidt admit the full scope of Google’s relationship to drone technology through the company’s association with Technion, and that he direct his criticisms of drone technology towards military as well as private use. Anything less is a show of hypocrisy that no one should take seriously, much less users and customers of Google.

About Terri Ginsberg

Terri Ginsberg is a film scholar and Palestine solidarity activist. She is co-author of Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema (2010), author of Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology (2007), and co-editor of A Companion to German Cinema (2012).

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2 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    April 16, 2013, 5:13 pm

    RE: “Google is currently hosting classes for a new applied science and technology campus being planned for New York City’s Roosevelt Island. Cornell NYC Tech is a collaboration between Cornell University and one of Israel’s largest weapons research and development institutes, The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. This collaboration will cost New York taxpayers at least $100 million, and was largely conceived without public oversight.” ~ New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership

    MEANWHILE, SEE: “BDS Roundup: University of Sydney student council passes academic boycott resolution”, by Nora, electronicintifada.net/blogs, 04/15/2013

    [EXCERPT] In this latest roundup of news from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement:
    - University of Sydney’s student representative council passes academic boycott resolution to cut ties with Israel’s Technion, citing complicity in violations against Palestinian rights .
    – US Mennonite church passes motion to not invest in companies which profit from Israel’s occupation.
    – BDS activists protest . . .
    . . . Sydney, Australia: On 10 April, the Student Representative Council at the University of Sydney voted to pass a resolution calling on the university administration to cut ties with Israel’s Technion. Technion is an educational institution that has close ties to the Israeli government and its military, and with weapons manufacturing companies whose weaponry is used against Palestinians under military occupation.
    ‘The Australian’ reported that the passage of the resolution by the Student Representative Council was hailed by Professor Jake Lynch, who is the director of the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies Center. He is a proponent of the BDS movemement.
    The article added:
    Professor Lynch … hailed the move by the SRC, claiming that Technion University, apart from assisting Israeli weapons production, had done work for the Israeli department of foreign affairs on public diplomacy to develop strategies to deflect attention from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
    Professor Lynch said that if Sydney University academics co-operated with Technion, “they risk condoning and in a sense internalising” such alleged anti-Palestinian practices. . .

    SOURCE – link to electronicintifada.net

  2. Anna Calcutt
    April 17, 2013, 8:12 am

    Join NYACT outside Google’s office in NYC where every 2 weeks since January we’ve been handing out these: link to bit.ly

    Our next protest is on Tuesday 23 April 2013, 5-7pm at 111 8th Avenue, New York, NY: link to on.fb.me

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