“In picking James, Google is making clear its own version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants,” the petition states. “Such a position contravenes Google’s stated values.”
James’ inclusion on the plank —formally referred to as the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC)–alongside business insiders and ethicists was met with criticism since the board was announced last week.
Update: This post has been upgraded to reflect the growing number of Google employees signing the petition, from more than 80 to over 830. The number of all non-Google signees has grown from 35 to 145.
Objection to James’ inclusion on the plank centers on her prior statements on transgender rights, especially calling transgender women”biological males” at a statement contrary to the US Equality Act, a statement which would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
I love to share that I've declined the invitation. While I m committed to investigate grappling with essential ethical issues of rights, equity & inclusion in AI, I don ' t believe this is the forum for me. I thank (1/2)
One member of this council, Alessandro Acquisti, stepped down this weekend, according to a statement on Twitter on Saturday (March 30). Acquisti was vague about why he didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and resigned.
More than 830 anonymous Google workers, as well as 145 employees and professors in the tech sector possess signed a petition asking Google to remove the president of the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation, Kay Coles James, by the company’s external ethics advisory board.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.