Google I/O: Protesters accuse Google of unfair evictions and building killer robots

Google's annual developer conference highlighted its tech innovations - but also its growing list of sins in the eyes of its critics

Among the announcements and unveilings at Google’s developer conference this week there were two voices that stood out – protesters who twice interrupted Google employees mid-speech, shouting that the company needed to “develop a conscience”.

According to reports from The Verge, both individuals were part of San Francisco activists groups trying to stop the eviction of local residents in favour of new, better-paying tenants - usually well-heeled youngsters employed by Google and other tech firms.

The first protester, a third-grade school teacher named Claudia Tirado (above), is currently sharing a seven-unit Victorian building with a top Google lawyer Jack Halprin – who is reportedly trying to evict Tirado from the building he now owns.

Mr Halprin is reportedly using a controversial piece of local legislation - the 1986 Ellis Act – that has been described by local news site SFGate as a “law used by speculators in the city as a way to buy affordable properties, evict tenants and flip a property for profit”.

While interrupting the speakers at Google I/O, Miss Tirado shouted “Google is evicting me from my house. Jack Halprin is a millionaire. He is evicting me and my family from my house”. Miss Tirado currently shares her two bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and their two-year-old son.

After Miss Tirado was removed from the event, Google engineer David Burke – who had been on stage describing new battery-saving features – joked that the extended battery life on Android handsets would come in useful during a “long protest”.

Two quadrupedal robots built by Boston Dynamics to assist infantry by carrying equipment

A second protester interrupted by shouting “You all work for a totalitarian company that builds robots that kill people” – a reference to Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics, a US company that develops a range of robots to assist the military.

After buying the company Google said that it would honour existing contracts that Boston Dynamics held with the US military (including one worth $10.8 million in funding) adding that it did not plan to become a military contractor itself.

Both protests show how the public’s perception of Google (especially around the San Francisco area where the company’s headquarters are based) have changed - from Google as an independently-minded start-up to a typically profit-focused corporation.

As well as the protest at the conference itself, ten individuals were also arrested at Google’s headquarters earlier in the week for trespass. The group was protesting Google’s perceived lack of support for Net Neutrality legislation in the US, with the company responding that they were "happy to have protesters on campus" but only from "sunrise to sunset (5:39am to 8:33pm to be exact)".

The protestors themselves said that although Google had "come out in support of preserving a free and open web," they believed that "much more can be done" to support an "internet that is free from censorship, discrimination, and access fees."

Although the legitimacy of these protests will be judged on a case by case basis, the list of Google's sins in the eyes of its detractors is growing. As the company pushes its technology further into customers' lives (introducing computers for the home and for the car - as well as our computers) objections to its intrusion are likely to increase as well.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower