Our Concerns Over Google’s Recent Hire

October 23, 2019

On October 21st, it was revealed that Google hired Miles Taylor, a former top staffer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to be their government affairs and public policy manager. While at DHS, Taylor served as the chief of staff to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. In their roles at DHS, Nielsen and Taylor oversaw implementation of the Muslim Ban, the new public charge rule, and the Trump administration’s myriad border policies and broader family-separation policies. Taylor himself argued in favor of a more “tough” and “tailored” version of the Muslim Ban, as well as more extreme vetting at the border

We are deeply concerned with this hire. Taylor has a demonstrated history of supporting and helping to implement egregious policies which have caused serious harm. The Muslim Ban has been detrimental to thousands of families. It has separated families from their elders, separated spouses, forced individuals and families to put their career and life and even prevented families from accessing quality care for their loved ones. The Trump administration’s family separation policies led to myriad horrors, including deaths, mental health issues, and public health crises for those subjected to them. Kirstjen Nielsen defended these policies vehemently, even going so far as to deny the reporting of them, and Taylor was with her every step of the way. 

Not only is Google’s decision deeply problematic given Taylor’s history with DHS, but it undermines the heavy criticism of and public opposition to the Muslim Ban which have come from Google’s senior leadership, most notably from CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin. These public stances from top executives seemed to indicate that Google was taking seriously its role as one of the biggest tech companies and thought leaders in the world. Earlier this year, they reorganized their global policy division in order to meet the challenge of their “increased responsibilities.” However, the decision to bring on Taylor raise serious questions about Google’s commitment to those goals, and particularly about its ability to responsibly combat online hate speech. 

Google has taken steps in recent years to build relationships with external partners who can help it achieve its responsibility to build an online platform conducive to the safety of all users. Their decision to hire Miles Taylor casts serious doubt on their commitment to make good on the responsibility they have to their partners and to all who use their services. We look forward to engaging Google on this, and other issues.

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