Friday, September 20, 2019

Google employees sign petition asking leaders to stop working with immigration agencies

More than 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition as of yesterday asking company leaders to declare they won’t work with U.S. immigration and border control agencies, citing mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

The petition calls for Google to withdraw any existing and potential infrastructure, funding or engineering resources for Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. “Google’s AI Principles state that Google will not build technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights, ” the petition reads.

“By any interpretation, CBP and ICE are in grave violation of international human rights law.” The petition is the latest example of pushback from increasingly vocal employees against Google leaders, who have struggled to balance a values-based culture with lucrative business deals.

Google, along with Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, already provide existing cloud infrastructure to CBP, according to a website posting by the agency. The U.S. government states that it is readying a new, long-term cloud contract for a strategy called Cloud Smart, which aims to modernize its legacy systems starting in 2020.

The petition argues that the agencies are responsible for mistreating asylum seekers, separating children from parents and illegally detaining refugees. It also points to 2017 when Google co-founder and Alphabet president Sergey Brin joined protesters in opposition to President Trump’s immigration order.

“In working with CBP, ICE, or ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement), Google would be trading its integrity for a bit of profit, and joining a shameful lineage,” the petition says. “In January of 2017, thousands of Googlers, including our executives, joined together to protest the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban, this was the right thing to do and we are proud to work at a place that reflects these values.”

CNBC