Google had designed a "defection tracker" tool to help Syrian rebels bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton's emails leaked by WikiLeaks reportedly reveals. The tool was apparently designed to encourage opposition rebels and give them confidence.
The revelation about Google's defection tracker is believed to come from an email by Jared Cohen, adviser to Clinton until 2010. In the email, the tool has apparently been described as a "pretty cool idea," by senior adviser Jake Sullivan. Google, in the mail, said it had teamed up with Al-Jazeera, which would take ownership of the tool, and track the data and broadcast it in Syria.
In the email, sent on 25 July 2012 to members of Clinton's team and forwarded to the US secretary of state, Cohen says: "Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from."
"Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition," the email reads.
Cohen had asked Clinton's team if there was anything else that the company needed to think about before the launch of the tool, and added, "We believe this can have an important impact."
Clinton's thoughts about the defection tracker were not published by WikiLeaks, but she reportedly instructed an aide to print out the email for future reference, reports the Independent. Thousands of Clinton's personal emails have been published by WikiLeaks, revealing details about the relationship between the State Department and corporations.
The defection tracker was published on Al Jazeera's portal in English and Arabic and it became one of the most viewed visualisations on the website of Jigsaw, the team created by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in 2010. The think tank within Google, which researched issued at the intersection of technology and international security, was then known as Google Ideas.