Hundreds of Google employees urge company to resist support for Ice

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Petition demands that the company not provide any technical services to US immigration agencies, citing ‘system of abuse’

Tech giant Google is facing a demand from hundreds of employees for an assurance that it will not bid on a government cloud computing contract that could be used to enforce US immigration policies on the southern border.

A group of employees called Googlers for Human Rights posted a public petition overnight Thursday urging the company to resist tendering for a US Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract.

It is not clear if Google or its parent Alphabet has already applied – the application deadline was 1 August – but the tech giant has previously drawn employee protests after signing cloud-computing or data storage deals with the government.

The company confirmed in March 2018 that it was involved with Project Maven, a $250m Department of Defense artificial intelligence initiative designed to provide 3D mapping that could be used for improved drone-strike battlefield accuracy.

Over 3,000 Google employees signed a petition in protest against the company’s involvement.

Google allowed the Project Maven contract to lapse in March this year.

In the latest dispute, more than 800 Google employees have so far signed a petition citing a “system of abuse” and “malign neglect” by US immigration agencies. The petition demands that the company does not provide any technical services to CBP, Ice or the Office of Refugee Resettlement until they “stop engaging in human rights abuses”.

“In working with CBP, ICE or ORR, Google would be trading its integrity for a bit of profit, and joining a shameful lineage,” the organizers said, pointing to federal Ice raids that have separated large numbers of migrant children from their parents and poor detention conditions that may have led to the deaths of minors from neglect.

Action by Google employees is not limited to protests over government contracts. Last fall, thousands walked out in protest at the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims. That protest succeeded in forcing the company to publish new sexual misconduct guidelines.

References:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/16/hundreds-of-google-employees-urge-company-to-resist-support-for-ice

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