Last year, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) signed a $1.2 billion contract with Israel to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government, allowing them to surveil and unlawfully collect data on Palestinians as well as support the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements by providing data to the Israel Land Authority (ILA), the government agency that manages and allocates state land. Project Nimbus, as it’s called, went into effect in May 2021, just as Israel began a siege on Gaza, killing 250 Palestinians.
A number of Google employees signed a letter of protest at the time and raised further concerns that they had witnessed a “disturbing pattern of militarization” that saw similar contracts in place between the likes of Google – Amazon, Microsoft and other tech giants and the US military. Contracts where they would be providing similar services to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other policing agencies. It’s surely not too much of a stretch of the imagination to assume that similar contracts might have already been struck or may be in the process of being negotiated with other governments around the world.
Google employees who dared to speak out were immediately ostracised and even fired. One Google employee who helped generate the letter of protest, Ariel Koren, explained how Google quickly retaliated and gave her “an ultimatum” in which she was told that she had two choices – accept a post in Brazil or lose her job. It’s understood that other employees were given similar ultimatums.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper recently revealed that Project Nimbus is the “most lucrative tender issued by Israel in recent years” and describes how other international tech companies have now also smelt blood and are clamoring over themselves “to be part of Israel’s technology drive, with the ultimate aim of keeping Palestinians entrapped, occupied and oppressed”.
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