Technology giants Google and Amazon have signed a contract to create a $1.2 billion cloud computing system with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Under the Nimbus project, the Google Cloud Platform created by Google and Amazon Web Services by Amazon will provide Israeli agencies with guaranteed sustainable cloud computing services, including artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, even if the tech giants come under pressure to boycott the country.
The project could also prevent Google and Amazon from denying service to certain Israeli government entities, such as the Israeli army.
Non-human rights groups have raised concerns that Israel will use the technology to monitor Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
They worry that the project will increase the Israeli military’s repressive actions against Palestinians. The project will give Israel capabilities for face detection, automatic image categorization, object tracking, and even sentiment analysis that can evaluate emotional content based on images, speech, and writing.
Besides that, the Google Cloud developer who gave an example of the potential usage and abuse of AutoML, Google’s AI tool offered in the Nimbus collaborative project, said that the technology could detect if someone is lying. Just imagine, in the future, the fate of a Palestinian arrested by the Israeli authorities will be determined by artificial intelligence.
The fear that Israel will misuse this technology to increase surveillance and oppress Palestinians will undoubtedly add to their misery. Space to move and argue that this artificial intelligence technology will increasingly undermine Palestinians.
Google marketing manager and prominent anti-Nimbus advocate Ariel Noren announced his retirement from the tech giant on Tuesday, August 30, after accusing Google of profiting from systemic harassment of Palestinians.
Noren, who has worked with the company for seven years, admitted that Google had tried to silence employees who opposed the controversial project.
Another Google employee who has also come out publicly as an opponent of Nimbus, Gabriel Schubiner, told The Jerusalem Post that Google should not provide technology for war or apartheid.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Google and Amazon employees are planning to hold a protest rally on September 8 outside the headquarters of the two companies to call for the cancellation of the Nimbus Project deal.
The #NoTechForApartheid movement, which will also be held in San Francisco, New York, and Seattle, will file a petition asking the management of both companies to stop doing business with Israel’s apartheid government and military and withdraw from the Nimbus contract. So far, about 40,000 people are known to have signed the petition.