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Police Enter Google Offices, Arrest Nine Employees After Some Refuse To Leave Google CEO’s Office For Hours

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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Nine Google employees were arrested following an eight-hour sit-in at the company’s New York and California offices Tuesday, according to The Verge.

Police arrested nine Google employees following a protest centered around Google’s involvement in Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with the Israeli government, which has sparked internal opposition at Google and Amazon, The Verge reported. Protesters in California allegedly occupied the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, while their colleagues in New York staged a sit-in on the 10th floor of the Chelsea office.

The New York protest ended around 9:45 PM when police, accompanied by a Google representative, arrested four employees after revoking their building access and placing them on administrative leave, the outlet stated. The California group, which was live-streaming their protest on Twitch, was also arrested. Video footage shows a security guard warning them before six officers arrived to take five employees into custody. (RELATED: Hundreds Of Google, Amazon Workers Call For Ending Contract With Israel)

The employees involved have been vocal in their opposition to Project Nimbus, arguing that it contradicts Google’s stated AI Principles and their ethical standards.

“We did not come to Google to work on technology that kills. By engaging in this contract leadership has betrayed our trust, our AI Principles, and our humanity,” said Billy Van Der Laar, a Sunnyvale-based software engineer, The Verge reported.

Project Nimbus has been a point of contention since its announcement in 2021, with over 600 Google workers previously signing an open letter urging the company to reconsider its sponsorship of the Mind the Tech conference due to the project. The recent resurgence of protests follows a TIME report alleging Google’s services are being used by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, contrary to previous company statements distancing the project from military applications, the outlet stated.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: The exterior of the new headquarters of Google is seen at 550 Washington Street in Hudson Square on January 09, 2024 in New York City. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the 1.3-million-square-foot project involved the restoration and expansion of the St. John’s Terminal building along the Hudson River waterfront. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 09: The exterior of the new headquarters of Google is seen at 550 Washington Street in Hudson Square on January 09, 2024 in New York City. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the 1.3-million-square-foot project involved the restoration and expansion of the St. John’s Terminal building along the Hudson River waterfront. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Google spokesperson Anna Kowalczyk reiterated that Project Nimbus is intended for non-military use by Israeli government ministries, complying with Google’s terms of service. “We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial cloud by Israeli government ministries, who agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy. This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services,” Kowalczyk said, according to The Verge.

Despite Kowalczyk’s claims, TIME revealed that Google is reportedly supplying cloud computing services to the Israeli Defense Ministry. A document reviewed by TIME shows that the ministry has a specific “landing zone” in Google Cloud. The document also reveals that the ministry enlisted Google’s consulting services to expand its cloud capabilities, TIME reported. As part of the “Nimbus framework,” Google provided a 15 percent discount on these services, resulting in the ministry spending over $1 million. Although the contract was not finalized, a note on the document linked it to the “Israel/Nimbus deal.”