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STEM students refuse to work at Google and Amazon over Project Nimbus

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STEM students refuse to work at Google and Amazon over Project Nimbus

More than 1,100 self-identified STEM students and young workers from more than 120 universities have signed a pledge not to accept jobs or internships at Google or Amazon until the companies end their participation in Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract providing cloud computing services and infrastructure to the Israeli government.

Taxpayers included undergraduate and graduate students from Stanford, UC Berkeley, the University of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. Some students from those schools also participated in an anti-Project Nimbus. demonstration on Wednesday Outside Google’s San Francisco office with tech workers and activists.

Amazon and Google are top employers for graduates from top STEM schools. according to data from the College Transitions career service, which was compiled using publicly available data from LinkedIn. According to the dataIn 2024, 485 UC Berkeley graduates and 216 Stanford graduates work at Google.

The pledge, which marks the latest backlash against Google and Amazon, was organized by No Tech for Apartheid (NOTA), a coalition of tech workers and activists from the Muslim grassroots movement MPower Change and the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace. Since 2021, NOTA has advocated for Google and Amazon to boycott and divest from Project Nimbus and any other work for the Israeli government.

“Palestinians are already harmed by Israeli surveillance and violence” the commitment says. “By expanding public cloud computing capacity and providing their cutting-edge technology to the Israeli occupation government and army, Amazon and Google are helping to make Israeli apartheid more efficient, more violent, and even deadlier for Palestinians.” “.

Sam, who asked to be identified only by his first name for fear of professional repercussions, says he signed the letter as a 2023 graduate of Cornell University’s computer science master’s program and a recent member of the tech workforce.

He tells WIRED that he was moved to act after seeing friends in grad school who “think one way privately” but then “pursue careers at these big tech companies.”

“I know a lot of people who, not to say they’re priced, but when someone looks at a starting salary, it’s going to test your principles a little bit,” Sam said.

Naomi Hardy-Njie, a communications and computer science student at the University of San Francisco, said she learned about the letter while participating in the school’s conference. three week camp demanding disclosure and divestment from companies financing the war in Gaza.

Hardy-Njie said he signed the letter because executives at Google and Amazon have been reluctant to address protesters’ demands. But change, he stated, “has to start from the bottom up.”

NOTA has organized several actions aimed at the Nimbus Project during the last few months. Eddie Hatfielda NOTA organizer, was fired from Google in March after interrupted the CEO of Google Israel at a technology conference sponsored by Google in New York. More than 50 Google workers were subsequently fired following a sit-in protest against Project Nimbus at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, which was also organized by NOTA.

Google has stated that Project Nimbus is “not targeted” at classified or military jobs, but several document leaks have tied the contract to work for the Israeli army. Google and Amazon did not immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

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