Home Tech Amazon beefs up security to prevent protests against Project Nimbus

Amazon beefs up security to prevent protests against Project Nimbus

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Amazon appeared to have significantly increased security for its Amazon Web Services Summit in New York on Wednesday, two weeks after activists disrupted the AWS Summit in Washington, D.C., in protest against Project Nimbus, Amazon and Google. $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with the Israeli government. The crackdown in New York thwarted plans by several activists to disrupt the keynote speech by Matt Wood, vice president of artificial intelligence products at AWS.

Amazon only allowed authorized individuals to attend the keynote. Activists, who had registered online to attend, received emails before the conference informing them that they would not be allowed to attend the keynote due to limited space.

In addition, there was a heavy presence of private security guards and personnel from the New York Police Department and the New York State Police at the conference. Despite being barred from the conference, activists did enter the building, where security officers confiscated posters and flyers during bag checks, which not all attendees were subjected to.

Amazon has already said before that it respects “the rights of its employees to express themselves without fear of retaliation, intimidation or harassment,” in reference to the Project Nimbus protests. However, the heightened security shows that the company is taking action in an attempt to thwart further dissent. Google, for its part, fired 50 employees after a high-profile protest in April over the company’s cloud computing contract with the Israeli government.

The activists behind the planned disruption with the keynote conference are all organizers from No Tech for Apartheid (NOTA), a coalition of tech workers, organizers from the Muslim grassroots group MPower Change, and members of the anti-Zionist Jewish group Jewish Voices for Peace. (NOTA was created in 2021, shortly after the News about Project Nimbus (It was made public.) The group planned the sit-in protest against Google and other recent actions targeting Project Nimbus.

Those seeking to disrupt Wood’s speech include: Zelda Montesformer YouTube software engineer, and Hasan Ibraheem, a former Google software engineer. Both were among 50 Google employees laid off in the spring. Jamie Kowalski, a former Amazon software employee who worked at the company for six years, Ferras Hamad, a former Meta employee who was Recently fired after expressing concern about anti-Palestinian censorshipand another tech worker, who did not publicly reveal his name, had also planned to protest.

Five other NOTA activists stood just outside the AWS Summit, behind a series of barricades, and handed out informational leaflets. They carried large signs reading “Google and Amazon workers say: Leave Nimbus, end occupation, no apartheid technology” and “Genocide powered by AWS” over an image of a Gaza neighborhood reduced to rubble.

Photography: Caroline Haskins

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