Will Google Be Investigated For Treason In India?

American President Donald Trump has kicked off a storm stating that he will initiate an investigation looking to “treasonous activities” by American multinational technology company Google. With Google having played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, will the India government investigate Google’s suspicious role in India as well?

Will Google Be Investigated For Treason In India?
Will Google be investigated for Treason in India?


Google committed to US Military

Google came under fire last year for its plans to build a censored search engine for China. Employees protested and after internal upheaval and political pressure, the project, called Dragonfly, was put on hold.

Meanwhile, Google decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon drone program after extensive protests from employees. Trump personally paid the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai a visit to get an assurance from him that “he is totally committed to the U.S. Military”.

Google infiltrated by Chinese Spies

Now recently, Peter Thiel, a billionaire Silicon Valley investor and political activist said on Sunday that Google needs to be investigated by the FBI and CIA for of the company’s “seemingly treasonous” decision to work with the Chinese military instead of the U.S. government.

Speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, Thiel said that Google is “working with the Chinese military” and the company has been “thoroughly infiltrated” by Chinese spies. Thiel argued that the kind of AI developed by DeepMind, which like Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., should be thought of as a potential “military weapon.”

“We’ve been a lot more dishonest about that in Silicon Valley than the nuclear physicists were in the 1940s,” he said in the opening speech at the National Conservatism conference.  “These questions need to be asked by the FBI and the CIA,” Thiel said, “And I’d like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

Facebook accused of Waging War against India

Peter Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund. He also sits as a board member on Facebook which created India’s troll armies for digital propaganda to influence elections and ironically a case has been filed against Facebook itself for waging war against India and is being accused of treason.

Facebook is also facing a record $5 billion settlement with the U.S. to end a privacy case involving Cambridge Analytica – a consulting firm now being investigated worldwide for meddling in elections including in India.

One of Facebook’s original funders Silver Lake Partners has also come under serious questioning in India for meddling in Indian elections via its subsidiary NXP Semiconductor whose chips were used in the Electronic Voting Machines in India.

Taking note of Thiel’s allegations against Google, Trump has said that his administration will look into the matter an initiate investigation against Google for “treasonous activities”.

Anti-trust Investigation against Google in India

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) launched a probe in April against Google for leveraging its dominant market position. If found guilty Google might be looking at a fine that could exceed Rs 136 crore (almost 10 million dollars).

Interestingly, as reported by The Print, an anonymous source told them that the investigation could take about two years to complete apart from the potential penalty. The investigation started off after the case was filed by contracted employees of the CCI. Now, the investigation will be taken over by permanent employees of the 30-member watchdog team.

The CCI had launched the investigation back in April and even though it called for a wider probe against Google, the company could still be cleared of any wrongdoing. The investigation needs to be completed within 150 days according to the order. Google appealed against the order stating that the ruling could cause it “irreparable” harm and reputational loss.

Role of Google in Mumbai Attacks of 2008

One of the terrorist involved in Mumbai attacks closely monitored by British GCHQ was technology chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba Zarrar Shah. Top Secret US NSA document on Mumbai Attacks show that Mr. Shah, the technology chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terror group, and fellow conspirators used Google Earth to show militants the routes to their targets in the city. He set up an Internet phone system to disguise his location by routing his calls through New Jersey.

Taiba Zarrar Shah LeT's Technology Chief
Taiba Zarrar Shah LeT’s Technology Chief

The result of this cross community effort confirmed that Zarrar Shah and his associate conducted reconnaissance and research using Google Earth and Wikimapia. Analysis of Zarrar Shah’s viewing habits… yielded several locations in Mumbai well before the attacks occurred and showed operations planning for initial early points into the Taj Hotel. Other locations included the adjacent Gateway of India, other tourists sites of interest, dams, power plants, and possible locations for boat landings.

Top Secret US NSA Document on Mumbai Attacks
Top Secret US NSA Document on Mumbai Attacks

Behaviour analysis of viewing is a new capability… This new capability… yielded a complete operations plan for the attacks. Detailed analysis of Zarrar’s complete viewing history has also led to other areas of interest that may be under threat of future attacks.

  • Top Secret US NSA Document on Mumbai Attacks

Both the Americans and the British were aware of Zarrar online activities, tracking his Internet searches and messages, according to former American and Indian officials and classified documents disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

It is no secret that technology giants Google, Microsoft and the likes works for the US military. Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, 2001 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 1978 the US Government and Intelligence Agencies can legally require a US based corporation to handover information that it either owns or has access to.

And recently the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai personally assured the US President Donald Trump about “Google’s commitment to the US military”. In the words of Snowden, “the rebranding of Surveillance as Social Media is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”

Whether Google colludes with Chinese military or has been already infiltrated by Chinese spies or whether the Americans are successful in getting it out of the Chinese orbit, Indians should be well warned that Google is a military front company and as was the case in Mumbai attacks it will be used as a weapon of war against India if a situation so arise.

GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations.

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