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A massive protest erupted among Google employees calling for the abandonment of government contract bidding

via:新智元     time:2019/8/16 15:22:57     readed:171

Wen/Xiaoqin and Pengfei

According to foreign media reports, more than 700 Google employees collectively petitioned to ask Google not to participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) cloud computing contract bidding.

Protesters in Medium issued a letter entitled“Google must oppose human rights violations” The petition indicates the CBP'sCloud servicesThe contract has sparked controversy among ordinary Google employees because the agency recently ignored human rights in dealing with immigration issues on the southern border of the United States.

Google employees made the petition public on media

"Bidded cloud providers will streamline CBP infrastructure and facilitate human rights violations," the petition wrote. "We ask Google to make a public commitment not to provide any infrastructure, funds or engineering resources directly or indirectly to CBP, ICE or ORR until they stop violating human rights."

They also mentioned in their petition the Trump government's policy of family separation and the recent deaths of children in the custody of immigration officials. The petition states: "Under international human rights law, these abuses are illegal and immoral by any standard."

The petition continued to read:"History is clear;Now is the time to say no.We refuse to be accomplices."

It is reported that hundreds of employees signed the petition within hours of its release. So far, there have been769 Google employeesand58 non-Google employeesSignature support.

Google employees include software engineer, data engineer, user experience engineer, designer, marketing, brand manager and many other positions.

External supporters are mostly college teachers and students and Amazon employees, and some former Google employees are also involved.

The contract is "huge" and Google has been accused of violating AI principles.

According to the bidding website, the contract was first announced on July 10 and the deadline for bidding was August 1.

A spokesman for Google declined to answer whether the company had participated in the cloud service contract bidding.

CBP's "Cloud Service Provider" Bidding Page

From the list of "interested suppliers" on the bidding website, it is not clear whether Google is among the 21 suppliers that are applying for it. It's not clear what the potential value of the contract is, butGoogle employees called the contract "huge."

In the petition, employees pointed out that Google's AI principle was one of the reasons why they could not cooperate with CBP, which they said was "a serious violation of international human rights law".

In June last year, after thousands of employees wrote to CEO Sundar Pichai asking the company not to engage in war business, Google decided not to renew its Maven contract with the Pentagon and issued the seven principles used by AI.

Last year, Sundar Pichai wrote a personal article to publish Google's "AI Use Principles"

In a job statement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security pointed out that CBP's "enterprise infrastructure" has used Amazon Web Services (AWS), andMicrosoftAzure, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Google Cloud Platform. The contract seems to be aimed at integrating all cloud services for CBP.

"The government is seeking a cloud strategy to increase cloud innovation and reduce the shortcomings of multiple cloud service providers / distributors," the statement said.

Government contracts are an important source of revenue for cloud computing leaders Amazon and Microsoft, but Google's attempts to enter the field seem to be hindered internally. In a similar petition in June 2018, Microsoft 500 employees also called on Microsoft to terminate its cloud service contract with ICE, which is known to be worth $19.4 million.

Although it is unclear whether Google has actually bid for CBP contracts, employee petitions show how difficult it will be to seek major government deals as the technology giant tries to expand its cloud computing sector. Because for Google employees, their protests were effective and successful.

4,000 Google employees protested the resignation of more than a dozen people, and Google's military contract was protested.

Google employees are very sensitive to whether the company can maintain a neutral attitude and whether they will participate in political and military projects. Similar protests are common to Google.

Since Diane Greene became CEO of Google Cloud Computing in 2015, the relationship between Google and the U.S. government has improved significantly. Diane Greene hopes that "Google will cooperate with the government for a long time". She took the lead in competing with Amazon, Microsoft for more than $6 billion in cloud contracts with federal agencies and the Defense Department.

However, last year, the Maven project, which Google worked with the Pentagon, was exposed to a lot of protests both inside and outside the company. After a short period of fermentation, more than 4,000 employees signed an internal petition asking Google to withdraw from the project, and even more than a dozen employees resigned collectively!

At that time, the International Commission on Robot Weapons Control (ICRAC) also sent an open letter to Google founders Page, CEO Pichai, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene and Li Feifei, calling on Google to withdraw from military projects and promising not to weaponize its technology.

It is reported that Maven is the U.S. Department of Defense's initiative to apply artificial intelligence to UAVs. The project aims to build a monitoring system similar to Google Earth that allows Pentagon analysts to "click on buildings to see everything about them" and create images of vehicles, people, land features and large numbers of people for "the whole city".

Eventually, Google announced that it would not renew its contract after it expired in 2019 and withdrew from the Pentagon cloud computing contract JEDI. It is reported that the contract may last for 10 years, with a value of up to $10 billion. At the same time, Greene left Google Cloud in January, replacing her with Andrew Moore, former president of CMU Computer College.

Google Employee Petition Exposure: Now is the time to say no, we refuse to become accomplices

Finally, the contents of the Google employee petition are as follows:

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and the Department of Justice's Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR) have not fulfilled their due responsibilities, but are helping the perpetrators and attacking those who deserve help. Not only is it morally immoral, but it also violates relevant international laws.

Recently, it has been reported that CBP is preparing to bid for a large-scale cloud computing contract. Winning cloud providers will streamline CBP infrastructure and facilitate human rights violations. Now is the time to stand together again and make it clear that we will not work for any such contract.We ask Google to make a public commitment not to provide any infrastructure, funds or engineering resources directly or indirectly to CBP, ICE or ORR until they stop violating human rights.

Google has repeatedly publicized its commitment to ethical protection of technology. Google's AI principles state that it will not build technology "whose purpose is to violate widely accepted principles of international law and human rights". By any standard, CBP and ICE are in serious violation of international human rights law. Google also promises to create a diverse, inclusive and psychologically safe workplace for all employees, including immigrants and Latinos, whose communities, families and friends are being intimidated by CBP and ICE.

If it cooperates with CBP, ICE or ORR, Google will trade its integrity for profit. We need only look at IBM's role in collaborating with the Nazis during the Holocaust to understand the role of technology in automating mass atrocities.

History is clear: it's time to say no. We refused to be accomplices. It is unreasonable for Google or any other technology company to support institutions that imprison and torture vulnerable groups. We are not alone. The whole world is watching. The facts are clear. We stand with workers and supporters throughout the industry, demanding that the technology industry refuse to provide infrastructure for mass atrocities.

Links:

Https://medium.com/@no.gcp.for.cbp/google-must-stand-against-human-rights-abuses-nogcp for cbp-88c60e1fc35e

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