U.S. Markets closed

Google Workers Demand Company Not Work With Border Agencies

Gerrit De Vynck

(Bloomberg) -- Some Google employees called on the company to publicly promise not to work with U.S. immigration authorities, which they said are abusing human rights.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently said it was looking for proposals from companies to supply it with cloud-computing services. Google is a leading cloud provider. Activists and politicians have accused the agency of human rights abuses along the border with Mexico. The agency has separated children from their families, and is detaining migrants for indefinite periods of time.

The Google workers, who said Wednesday they have a petition with 70 employee signatures, want the company to commit to not bidding on the contract, as well as to refuse to work on projects for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Spokesmen for Customs and Border Protection and Google didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

“We demand that Google publicly commit not to support CBP, ICE, or ORR with any infrastructure, funding, or engineering resources, directly or indirectly, until they stop engaging in human rights abuses,” the protesters wrote. “By any interpretation, CBP and ICE are in grave violation of international human rights law.”

Google employees have led multiple public campaigns to shape the company’s behavior over the last two years. A major walkout last year eventually led to the company stopping its practice of making employees sign away their right to bring claims against it in court. Google also didn’t renew a contract to supply the U.S. military with artificial intelligence technology after outrage from employees.

(Updates with background information in fifth paragraph.)

--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew Pollack

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.