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Google workers call for pledge not to work with US agencies

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It is not clear if Google expressed interest. The company did not return a request for comment.

SAN FRANCISCO: Hundreds of Google employees are calling on the company to pledge it won’t work with US Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s the latest in a year full of political and social pushback from the tech giant’s workforce.

A group of employees called Googlers for Human Rights posted a public petition urging the company not to bid on a cloud computing contract for CBP, the federal agency that oversees law enforcement for the country’s borders. Bids for the contract were due on Aug 1.

It is not clear if Google expressed interest. The company did not return a request for comment.

More than 800 Google employees had signed the petition by Friday morning. Citing a “system of abuse” and “malign neglect” by the agencies, the petition demands that Google not provide any technical services to CBP, ICE or the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which provides services for refugees, until the agencies “stop engaging in human rights abuses”.

“In working with CBP, ICE, or ORR, Google would be trading its integrity for a bit of profit, and joining a shameful lineage,” the organisers wrote. They cited federal actions that have separated migrant children from parents and set up detention centres with poor conditions.

Google employees have led a growing trend in which some tech-company employees have taken public stances against their employers’ policies. Thousands of Google employees walked out last fall to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims.

Employees also protested a Pentagon contract last year over work that used artificial intelligence technology to analyse drone footage.

The protests have chalked up some victories. After the walkout, Google announced new sexual misconduct guidelines, although some employees say they don’t go far enough.