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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

No Tech for Genocide

Tuesday , 21 May 2024
Photo credit: AFP
Google must drop Project Nimbus and end its retaliatory actions against workers protesting it

We, the MENA Alliance for Digital Rights and the undersigned civil society organizations, stand united and resolute in support of the Google employees who bravely protested Project Nimbus as part of the “No Tech for Apartheid” campaign. We strongly condemn Google’s retaliatory actions against its employees and reiterate their demand for an immediate cessation of the company’s involvement in Project Nimbus, given Israel’s current war on Gaza and its human rights violations in the West Bank.

Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government providing cloud computing services by Google and Amazon, has been implicated in Israeli operations that raise severe ethical, humanitarian, and human rights concerns. Details around Project Nimbus are obscure, but reporting on the contract and technology provided strongly suggests it is being used by the Israeli military, whose actions are currently under review by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the crime of genocide. Documents made public recently also reveal that Nimbus is deeply ingrained in the Israeli military industry apparatus. Nimbus is the obligatory provider for arms manufacturers and various military agencies, even providing a digital storefront for the Israeli government to make weapons purchases. Despite years of internal protest and dialogue attempts, Google has consistently failed to address or acknowledge these human rights concerns. Instead, the company provided its cloud computing services to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and went further to negotiate “deepening its partnership” during the war on Gaza.

This culminated in the recent series of mass dismissals of 50 employees, ostensibly under accusations of “bullying” and “harassment.” The employees were fired after participating in protests organized by the No Tech for Apartheid group at the Google offices in New York City and California. This mass retaliatory dismissal represents a severe and deeply troubling response to legitimate workplace dissent. Further problematic actions taken against the protesting employees include the involvement of law enforcement, the arrest of key protesters, and the use of surveillance tactics. They are not only excessive but also indicative of a broader pattern of behavior aimed at the suppression of legitimate protests against human rights abuses. Rather than taking disproportionate retaliatory action, Google must create space to take their concerns into account and adhere to its commitment to human rights.

We condemn Google’s extremely retaliatory measures against its workers exercising their right to free expression, and we salute their commitment to humanity as they reject working on a deadly technology such as Project Nimbus. We also remind Google of its international obligations to uphold human rights and its potential liability in contributing to the crimes of genocide. As mentioned, services provided under this contract may have been used in military actions currently under review by the ICJ for the crime of genocide. The prohibition of genocide stands as a jus cogens norm, a fundamental principle of customary international law that no entity, including corporations, is exempt from and may not derogate.

Corporations and their employees can face liability for their involvement in acts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, whether or not they are party to the Genocide Convention or other international legal frameworks. The complicity is often framed under “aiding” and/or “abetting” the provision of physical or material support to a party committing a crime.

Further, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed in 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, set out the human rights responsibilities of all business enterprises, including the Information and Communications Technology sector. The Guiding Principles specify that businesses have a responsibility to, inter alia:

  • Conduct human rights due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for potential negative human rights impacts of the company’s operations, including taking appropriate action to respond to identified human rights risks; and
  • Provide effective remedies to victims after causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts.

We also remind Google of their own human rights commitments. Google publicly commits that “In everything [they] do, including launching new products and expanding [their] operations around the globe, [they] are guided by internationally recognized human rights standards.” Moreover, Google pledges to respect the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including Articles 19 and 20 on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly. Google also states that employees can also raise concerns about human and civil rights, which are reviewed by the Human Rights Program and senior management, as relevant.” Google’s corporate grievance mechanism is not comprehensive and lacks protection mechanisms for employees to protect them from retaliation. Transparency is also included in their commitment as “core to our commitment to respect human rights.” Google has consistently ignored this commitment by refusing to engage with stakeholders on Project Nimbus.

We affirm our support for the right of all employees to protest and voice concerns about the ethical and human rights implications of their labor, free of fear and retribution. The ethical concerns raised by Google employees about Project Nimbus are valid and warrant serious consideration, not dismissal or punitive actions. The well-being and rights of employees, who face discrimination enabled by these corporate decisions, must also be prioritized and addressed.

We urge Google to immediately reinstate all employees unjustly fired, cease the surveillance and intimidation of these workers, and open channels of communication for genuine dialogue. Critically, we demand that Google terminate its involvement with Project Nimbus. Furthermore, as part of the global tech community, we demand accountability and transparency from all tech companies involved in Israel’s military actions and urgently call on them to refrain from aiding and/or abetting Israel in the crime of genocide and other atrocity crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.


  • Kandoo
  • SMEX
  • Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
  • ALQST 
  • Digital Action 
  • JOSA
  • INSM Foundation for Digital Rights
  • Masaar – Technology and Law Community
  • Tech Justice Law Project
  • impACT International
  • Digital Access
  • Digital Rights Foundation (DRF)
  • EuroMed Human Rights Monitor
  • India Civil Watch International 
  • Rinascimento Green
  • HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement
  • B.V. Alaka
  • Fair Vote UK
  • AI Forensics
  • YODET 
  • Centre for Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Governance in Africa (CAIEGA)
  • The Tor Project
  • India Civil Watch International (ICWI) 
  • Samir Kassir Foundation
  • Fight for the Future 
  • Hindus for Human Rights

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