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Google and Amazon Workers Protest Tech Giants’ Contract with Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

On Tuesday, Google and Amazon employees staged protests in Seattle and other major tech hubs, denouncing the tech giants’ collaboration with the Israeli government in a cloud services contract. Approximately 50 workers and pro-Palestinian activists congregated outside Google’s Seattle offices in South Lake Union, adjacent to Amazon’s headquarters.

The $1.2 billion Project Nimbus, which encompasses cloud services and data centers for the Israeli government, has sparked dissent in the past. However, amidst Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza, concerns have escalated.

Tariq Ra’ouf, a protest organizer representing the Palestinian Youth Movement and also a tech worker at Apple, emphasized the protesters’ demand to terminate the project. He stated, “We want to stop the funding for AI, machine learning towards government programs that are actively participating in a genocide against innocent civilians.”

Google and Amazon employees in Seattle joined the demonstration, while protests unfolded in other locations. In California, demonstrators staged a sit-in at the Sunnyvale office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. Additionally, workers in New York City occupied a common area in one of Google’s buildings, with similar gatherings in San Francisco, organized by the group No Tech for Apartheid.

Recent reports from Time have underscored the Nimbus contract’s role in bolstering military operations. Google Cloud’s provision of services to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, facilitating data storage, processing, and AI access, has raised alarm among protesters. They fear the potential utilization of AI-enabled technology for military purposes such as drone guidance and bombing.

Ra’ouf emphasized the critical importance of scrutinizing the deployment of AI and machine learning, particularly in wartime contexts.

During the Seattle protest, participants brandished signs and vocalized their opposition to the tech companies’ involvement with Israel, with the demonstration lasting approximately two hours. Preceding this, protesters obstructed a thoroughfare leading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for three hours, resulting in the arrest of 46 individuals by police, as reported by the Seattle Times. This action was part of a nationwide series of demonstrations.

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