Tech Workers Are Organizing Against the Atrocities of the Companies They Work for

Workers at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have demanded that the companies where they work to stop violating human rights, get out of the business of war and stop building tools that harm the world.

In April Google workers published a petition against an A.I. project for military drones. More than 4,000 workers had already signed onto the letter which begins “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” and ends with the demand that the company cancel the contract with the Pentagon. Google eventually gave in, announcing two months later that they wouldn’t renew the contract.

Soon after Microsoft workers published their own letter demanding that the company cancel its $19 million contract with ICE as the agencies policy of family separations became news. Their letter read, “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit. We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”

Days later, Amazon workers followed suit with their own petition against Palantir, a surveillance contractor that hosts databases of immigrants for ICE on Amazon’s servers, and facial recognition tools being sold to police departments.

Their petition said, “Technology like ours is playing an increasingly critical role across many sectors of society. What is clear to us is that our development and sales practices have yet to acknowledge the obligation that comes with this. Focusing solely on shareholder value is a race to the bottom, and one that we will not participate in….. We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights.”


Image: “Power To The People” by Nick Webb is licensed under CC BY 2.0