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Google employee arrested after 9 hours of protest at Cloud CEO office

Google employee arrested after 9 hours of protest at Cloud CEO office


Nine Google employees were arrested on trespassing charges Tuesday night after holding sit-ins at the company's offices in New York and Sunnyvale, Calif., including a protest at Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's office. .

The arrests, which were streamed live on Twitch by protesters, followed rallies in front of Google offices in New York, Sunnyvale and Seattle that drew hundreds of protesters, officials said. The protests, led by the “No Technology for Apartheid” organization, are aimed at Google and Project Nimbus, which provides cloud computing services including artificial intelligence tools, data centers and other cloud infrastructure to the Israeli government and military. Focused on Amazon's joint $1.2 billion deal.

Sunnyvale protesters sat in Kurian's office for more than nine hours before being arrested, writing demands on Kurian's whiteboard and wearing shirts that read “Googlers Against Genocide.” was. In New York, protesters sat in a common area on the third floor. Five workers in Sunnyvale and four in New York state were arrested.

Chayne Anderson, a Washington-based Google Cloud software engineer, told CNBC: “On a personal level, no matter what government they're affiliated with or what exactly the terms of the contract are, I don't know if Google is going to do it in the military.'' “I am against signing a contract,” he said. “And I hold that opinion because Google is an international company and no matter what military branch you're in, there's always going to be people on the receiving end…Google's employee base and… These are the people who are represented by the user base.'' Anderson flew to Sunnyvale to protest at Kurian's office and was among the workers arrested Tuesday.

A Google spokesperson told CNBC: “Google Cloud uses publicly available cloud computing services to support many governments in the countries in which we operate, including the government of Israel. “This initiative is not intended to target sensitive or classified information,” he added. Military workloads related to weapons and intelligence services. ”

The demonstrations show that Google is facing increasing pressure from workers who oppose military uses of AI and cloud technology. Last month, Google Cloud engineer Eddie Hatfield interrupted a keynote speech by Google's managing director of Israel operations and said, “We refuse to build technology that promotes genocide.” Mr. Hatfield was subsequently fired. The same week, a company message board was shut down after a Google employee posted a comment about military contracts with Israel. A spokesperson at the time described the posts as “divisive content that is disruptive to the workplace.”

On October 7, Hamas carried out a deadly attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages. The next day, Israel declared war and began a siege of Gaza, cutting off access to electricity, food, water, and fuel. At least 33,899 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since that day, the enclave's Health Ministry announced in a statement on Telegram on Wednesday. In January, Israel dismissed genocide charges against South Africa at the United Nations Supreme Court.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has reportedly sought consulting services from Google to expand access to Google Cloud services. According to the New York Times, Google Photos is one of the platforms used by the Israeli government to conduct surveillance in Gaza.

“I think what happened yesterday is proof that Google's attempts to suppress all voices opposing this deal are not only not working, but are actually having the opposite effect,” said former Googler. said Ariel Collen, an employee who resigned in 2022 after leading the contract effort. He told CNBC that he opposes the Project Nimbus deal. “It's really just creating more agitation, more anger and more engagement.”

The New York sit-in began at noon ET and ended around 9:30 p.m. ET. Hasan Ibraheem, a New York City-based Google software engineer and one of the arrested workers, said security guards began working to remove the two-story banner about an hour into the protest. asked the person.

Hasan Ibraheem, a Google software engineer based in New York City, told CNBC: “'Oh, the place I work is very complicit in this genocide, and I have a responsibility to fight against it. “I realized that there is,” he said. Ibraheem added, “The fact that I'm receiving money from Google and Israel means I'm paying Google. I'm receiving a portion of that money, so that's very important to me. It was a heavy burden,” he added.

The New York workers were released from the police station about four hours later.

Nine workers arrested in New York and Sunnyvale told CNBC that during the protests, they were locked out of their workplaces and offices, given time off, and told to wait to return to work until contacted by human resources. Ta.

The workers are also protesting working conditions, demanding that the company stop harassing, threatening, bullying, silencing, and censoring Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Google employees, and that the company stop harassing, intimidating, bullying, silencing, and censoring Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Google employees, and that the company stop harassing, threatening, bullying, silencing, and censoring Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Google employees. “Address workers whose safety is at risk, especially Google Cloud employees.” They are facing more potential repercussions for their work, according to a campaign release.

A Google spokesperson told CNBC that “a small number of employee protesters entered several of our locations and caused disruption.” “Physically interfering with the work of other employees and preventing access to our facilities is a clear violation of our policies and we will investigate and take action. They were placed on administrative leave and their access to our systems was blocked, and after refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement efforts were made to remove them to secure the office. .”




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