WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his administration would “take a look” at Google, opening an investigation into the search giant out of concern that it has been breached by the Chinese government.
This came in a tweet that cited recent comments from Peter Thiel, a top venture capitalist and one of the president’s supporters, who this week called for the FBI and CIA to probe the company on grounds it may have committed treason for its operations in China.
The US President did not elaborate on what he intended to do but he gave a short thought of quotation he appeared to attribute to Fox and Friends. Even the White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
However, Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman released a statement: “As we have said before, we do not work with the Chinese military”.
But this threat of an investigation marks only his latest salvo at Google. In recent weeks, he has accused Google of silencing his conservative supporters online and seeking to rig US elections in favour of Democrats.
The company denied of those charges but Trump always appear to threaten that they will regulate, penalise and file lawsuits against Google and its Silicon Valley peers.
Meanwhile, Thiel this week has claimed that China’s top military and intelligence officials are “likely to have infiltrated Google”, he said in an interview.
He also criticized the tech giant for reportedly seeking to reintroduce its search engine in China, where it is banned, while at the same time allowing a contract with the a Defence Department on artificial intelligence to expire.
“There’s this very peculiar background where Google is working with the Chinese on Communist government and not with the US military,” Thiel said. He then blamed the decision to end the Pentagon contract, for a programme called Project Maven, on a “broad base of Google employees that are ideologically super left-wing, sort of woke, and think that China is better than the US, or that the US is worse than China.”