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Google employees ‘refuse to be complicit’ in border agency cloud contract

Workers are circulating a petition

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google employees are demanding that the company not bid on a cloud computing contract with US Customs and Border Protection in the latest act of protest inside the tech industry.

In a petition circulated today inside Google and on Medium, a group of employees said immigration officials are “perpetrating a system of abuse and malign neglect” at the border. The employees point to the Trump administration’s family separation policy and the recent deaths of children in immigration officials’ custody. “These abuses are illegal under international human rights law, and immoral by any standard,” the petition reads. In the hours after it was released, hundreds of employees added their signatures to the petition.

The employees point to a request for bids on a CBP cloud computing contract, which is a service Google provides. “The winning cloud provider will be streamlining CBP’s infrastructure and facilitating its human rights abuses,” the petition continues, and the employees demand that Google commit to not provide immigration agencies with any funding or work.

“History is clear: the time to say NO is now,” the petition reads. “We refuse to be complicit.”

The protest is the latest in a series of actions both inside Google and within the industry as a whole as employees question how their work contributions will be used. Many Google workers vigorously protested a plan to work with the US government on an AI system to analyze drone footage, known as Project Maven. In the face of protests, the company’s plan was eventually shelved.

Update, 1:27PM ET: Includes updated count of signatures, now in the hundreds.