Google fires an engineer who protested an Israeli technology conference sponsored by the company

Google has fired a cloud engineer who interrupted Barak Regev, the managing director of its business in Israel, during a speech at an Israeli technology event in New York, according to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”. CNBC. “I'm a software engineer at Google and I refuse to build technology that supports genocide or surveillance!” The engineer was seen and heard shouting at video It was picked up by freelance journalist Caroline Haskins and spread online. As he was being dragged away by security – to jeers from the audience – he continued talking and referred to Project Nimbus. This is the $1.2 billion contract won by Google and Amazon to supply the Israeli military with artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.

Last year, a group of Google employees published an open letter urging the company to cancel Project Nimbus, as well as denouncing the “hatred, abuse and retaliation” faced by Arab, Muslim and Palestinian workers within the company. The engineer said: “The Nimbus project puts members of the Palestinian community at risk! I refuse to build technology that will be used for cloud apartheid.” After he was taken out of the place, Regev told the audience: “[p]“The art of being privileged to work for a company that represents democratic values ​​is to make room for different opinions.” He ended his speech after he was interrupted by a second protester who accused Google of complicity in genocide.

The incident occurred during the MindTheTech conference in New York. Its theme for this year was apparently “Stand with Israeli Technology,” because investments in Israel slowed after the October 7 Hamas attacks. Haskins He wrote a detailed account What she witnessed at the event, but she was unable to stay until it was over, because security kicked her out as well.

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The Google engineer who boycotted the event told Haskins that he wanted “other Google Cloud engineers to know that this is what engineering is about — standing in solidarity with the communities affected by your work.” He spoke to the journalist anonymously to avoid professional repercussions, but Google clearly discovered his identity. In a statement to Engadget, a Google spokesperson said: “Earlier this week, an employee disrupted a coworker who was giving a presentation — interfering with an official company-sponsored event. This behavior is not acceptable, regardless of the issue.” The employee has been terminated for violating our policies.”

Update, March 9, 2024, 1:58 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a statement from Google.

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