Google employees protest company’s contract with Israel


Dozens of Google employees held sit-ins Tuesday at the tech giant’s New York City and Sunnyvale, Calif., offices to protest the company’s work with Israel.

Google and Amazon have a cloud computing and artificial intelligence contract with the Israeli government and military, a deal known as Project Nimbus that is worth $1.2 billion.

The employees participating in the sit-ins wore shirts that said “Drop Project Nimbus” and a banner was hung that read, “No tech for genocide.”

Protesters sat in the office of Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian on Tuesday and remained there for about 10 hours, according to the group.

They demanded Google and Amazon drop Project Nimbus and stop the “harassment, intimidation, bullying, silencing, and censorship” of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim Google workers who have expressed concerns about the company’s work in Israel and the Hamas war.

On Tuesday night, Google ordered the arrest of nine workers in Sunnyvale and New York, who were told they would be locked out of their accounts and offices and were not expected to return to work until contacted by HR, according to a statement from the No Tech for Apartheid campaign.

Google, in a statement, said a small number of employee protesters disrupted a couple of locations. “[A]fter refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety,” the company said.

“Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and we will investigate and take action,” the Mountain View-based tech company added. “These employees were put on administrative leave and their access to our systems was cut.”

Officers arrived at a Google facility in Sunnyvale around 10:30 a.m. after getting a call from Google about the protest and saw around 80 participants, wrote Capt. Dzanh K. Le in an email on Tuesday night.

Most of the participants left the area around 12:45 p.m., with five protesters remaining, Le added. When the protesters refused to leave at around 6:30 p.m., they were “arrested without incident for criminal trespassing,” Le wrote.

In a statement, the group of workers who were arrested said they had asked to speak to the Google Cloud CEO but were denied .

“Google executives have ignored our concerns about our ethical responsibility for the impact of our technology as well as the damage to our workplace health and safety caused by this contract, and the company’s internal environment of retaliation, harassment, and bullying,” the workers said in a Wednesday statement. .

Four people were arrested for trespassing at the Google office in New York, according to the New York Police Department.

Google last month fired a worker who protested a speech by Google’s top executive in Israel at a conference in New York.

“As a Software Engineer in Google Cloud, it is horrifying to think that the code I write could be used by the Israeli Military in the first ever AI powered genocide,” said Google Cloud software engineer William Van Der Laar from Sunnyvale in a statement. “We did not come to Google to work on technology that kills. By engaging in this contract leadership has betrayed our trust, our AI Principles, and our humanity.”

Google said in a statement to the Times that it supports numerous governments with its cloud computing services, including the Israeli government.

“This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services,” Google said.

Other tech workers, including at Amazon, have voiced concerns about their employers’ involvement in Project Nimbus.

The protests in the tech industry have escalated in the wake of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas-led militants in which about 1,200 people were killed and about 240 taken hostage.

More than 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in Israel’s air and ground offensive, according to Gaza health officials.

Source link

Leave a comment