Reading Time: 2 minutes

Google employees in two different offices protested the company’s work with the Israeli government on Tuesday, objecting to a billion-dollar contract it signed with the U.S. ally in 2021. 

The protestors organized sit-ins in two locations, one in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the other in one of New York City’s offices.

The sit-in Sunnyvale office was organized by the activist group No Tech for Apartheid. They entered Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s office, demanding they would not leave until the tech giant backed out of its $1.2 billion contract.

The contract, known as Nimbus, that Google shares with Amazon provides cloud computing services to the Israeli government. It was signed in 2021. The contract faced backlash from workers and activists since its inception, but the objections have escalated with Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza caused by Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

Google Software engineer Emaan Haseem and her colleagues object to the company’s involvement with the Israeli government despite the possible repercussions.

“I would not like to lose my job,” Haseem told ABC 7 News. “But I think that it is impossible for me to continue coming into work every week without acknowledging and loudly condemning Project Nimbus and any support for the Israeli government.”

The contract, known as Project Nimbus, was structured to allow sharing of Google and Amazon services to various branches of the Israeli government. When signed in 2021, the contract raised concerns among some employees since Israeli officials said the companies could not shut down their services and could not bar services to particular government branches. 

Time Magazine reported last week that Google has provided cloud computing services to the Israel Defense Ministry. 

“Google Cloud supports numerous governments around the world in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our generally available cloud computing services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.

“We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial cloud by Israeli government ministries, who agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy,” the spokesperson said. “This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Google spokesperson said the protests involved organizations and people who “largely” do not work at the tech company. 

The company said it would investigate and “take action” regarding the employees who were put on administrative leave. 

“A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a couple of our locations,” the spokesperson 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.

These employees were put on administrative leave, and their access to our systems was cut. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety.”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source link