Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel torched Google and Apple for ties to China at an event hosted by the Richard Nixon Foundation.
Thiel raked Big Tech companies over the coals at an April 6 seminar for ignoring the United States of America’s interests while appearing friendly to an authoritarian foreign power like China. “There's something about the woke politics inside these [tech] companies, the way they think of themselves as not really American companies,” Thiel commented. “And it's somehow very, very difficult to, for them to have a sharp anti-China edge of any sort whatsoever.”
Thiel recounted damning conversations he had with Google employees, where they seemed strategically indifferent about whether their technology was being used to run concentration camps for ethnic minorities. “I had a set of conversations with some of the Google people in the DeepMind [artificial intelligence] technology,” he explained. He said he asked “Is your A.I. being used to, you know, run the concentration camps in Xinjiang?” to which Thiel said Google employees replied: “‘Well, we don’t really know and don’t ask any questions.’”
Thiel condemned Google’s staff for “pretending that everything’s fine” and “wishful thinking.” He suggested Big Tech is full of “useful idiots” and “CCP fifth columnist collaborators."
The Richard Nixon Foundation’s official transcript quoted Thiel specifically contrasting Big Tech’s lack of cooperation with America to its overt cooperation with China:
“You know, I criticized Google a few years ago for refusing to work on its AI technology on Project Maven with the U.S. military, but working with Chinese universities and Chinese researchers. And since everything in China is a civilian- military fusion, Google was effectively working with the Chinese military, not with the American military.”
A Google spokesperson reportedly denied Thiel’s claims and told CNBC: “These allegations are baseless. We do not work with the Chinese military. We are proud to continue our long history of work with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.”
Google’s ties with China are a common source of scandal for the company.
Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) publicly slammed Google for enabling Chinese tyranny during a Congressional Antitrust Hearing hearing in July 2020. Buck commented on how Google removed itself from the bidding process to work with the American military, but continued to work with China. He also mentioned Google’s embarrassing involvement with Project Dragonfly, a search engine that was being developed for the communist Chinese regime “to spy on its own people and enforce draconian security laws.”
Google was not the only Big Tech company Thiel called out at the Richard Nixon Foundation seminar.
“Thiel also said that Apple was unlikely to confront China because of its massive supply chain to manufacture iPhones and other products in the country,” CNBC reported. Thiel also reportedly called for “the U.S. to put a ‘lot of pressure’ and scrutiny on Apple because of its labor supply chain in the country.” Apple’s reliance on China for manufacturing are well known, addressed by outlets such as The Wall Street Journal as a “dependency.”
Thiel co-founded PayPal, has a seat on Facebook’s board, and has a history of being a comparatively conservative-friendly voice in the Big Tech world.
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