Google senior exec Regina Dugan violated ethics rules whilst at DARPA

Google senior executive Dr Regina Dugan violated ethics whilst head of the Defence Advanced Research Project Agency [DARPA] after a US Defence Department Inspector General [IG] probe indicated she did so.

The Verge reports that a paper from the IG accuses her of having “conflicting financial interests” whilst in the role due to a relationship with RedXDefense, a firm she founded back in 2005 and headed up as CEO for a number of years.

Dugan took up a position at DARPA back in 2009 and even though she retained a significant stake in RedXDefense, Dugan never tried to conceal or hide the ties to the company and excluded herself from all matters involving the firm.

RedXDefense, however, was awarded $1.75 million [£1.05 million] worth of contracts under Dugan’s watch and a watchdog requested the probe back in 2011 to make sure “DARPA selects and awards grants and contracts with integrity”.

The investigation began only a few months later with both Dugan and DARPA stressing all along that there was no favouritism due to the fact that RedXDefense lost out on a number of contracts in the same period. This didn’t wash with the IG.

“We determined that Dr. Dugan violated the prohibition against using her government position for the stated or implied endorsement of a product, service, or enterprise,” said the IG report.

The IG finished its investigation over a year ago with no action taken against Dugan and there was no recommendation that any action should be carried out for breaking the rules.

“This matter was closed over a year ago.  At no time did Dr. Dugan use her position as the Director of DARPA to make any endorsement – explicit or implied,” a spokesperson for Dugan told The Verge.

Since arriving at Google, Dugan and her team have produced various innovations such as electronic tattoos and vitamin authentication for Motorola and she is remaining at Google despite Motorola being sold to Lenovo.

Image Credit: Flickr (nosillacast)