Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Employees protest Google’s Israel contract – get fired

The situation in Gaza

Published 23 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The dismissed workers say they were fired as a direct punishment for their protests.

28 Google employees have been fired for protesting the tech giant’s cooperation with the Israeli government and military during the ongoing invasion of Gaza.

Google officials say that the employees “physically obstructed the work of other employees” and that this is the reason for their dismissal.

The fired employees are said to be members of or associated with the activist group No Tech for Apartheid – IT workers who believe that the technology they develop should not be used by regimes that commit genocide or other human rights crimes.

This week, a group of employees decided to “occupy” the California office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian – while another group staged similar protests at Google’s New York office and other locations associated with the tech giant.

The backdrop is Project Nimbus – a cloud services deal signed by Google and Amazon with the Israeli government that gives the Israeli Ministry of Defense a security gateway to Google Cloud and its AI services, technology that critics say can be used to monitor and map Palestinians.

According to Israel, the goal of the partnership is to provide “the government, the defense establishment, and others with an all-encompassing cloud solution”. The contract is valued at $1.2 billion.

There have also been reports that the Israeli military has a “secret” AI program called Lavender, which was used to identify human targets during the Gaza invasion. However, Israel claims that it did not rely on AI technology to select targets for elimination, but only on “analytical tools”.

“Unacceptable behavior

Some 34,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed since October 7. Aid workers and journalists have also been killed in the war, and opposition among young Americans to the United States’ broad support for Israel has grown in recent months.

As for the protesting Google employees, a spokesperson for the tech giant commented on their dismissal as follows:

“Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety.

The statement is dismissed by the activist group as illegal and “retaliatory” for employees protesting Google’s ties to Israel. It goes on to say that the employees “did not damage property or threaten other workers” and that they “received an overwhelmingly positive response and shows of support” from other colleagues.

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