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We Need A New Approach To Giant Tech Firms Like Google

Since the 1970s, economists buying into the Chicago School of Antitrust have waved off the dangers of lax antitrust policies, professing that “the market” would sort out issues of competition and punish companies that abuse size and power. The Chicagoans’ narrow focus on direct consumer costs as the sole measure of harm didn’t consider the impact of consolidation on small businesses, start-ups, workers, or, for that matter, democratic norms. Nor did it raise red flags for tech platforms that were touted as “free” for users (while monetizing our attention and personal data). A growing number of critics argue that these basic assumptions are both wrong and outdated, as evidenced by the fact that in many industries, particularly technology, companies have been growing to gargantuan proportions and, as anybody who owns a smartphone is painfully aware, they seem free to gobble competitors, hinder innovation, and serve up crappy, overpriced products.

Lessons On Workplace Activism From Winning Campaigns At Google

On Sept. 14, 2020, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a blog outlining the company’s “Third Decade of Climate Action,” with its escalated commitments to addressing the crisis. Among them were an elimination of Google’s entire carbon legacy, a commitment to run all of its campuses and data centers on carbon free electricity, and promises to invest in tools to promote energy efficiency. The announcement came on the heels of an escalating pressure campaign from Google workers for the tech giant to do better on climate change. Like many campaign victories, it was an imperfect one. Many of the Google workers’ demands, like a commitment to cease funding for climate-denying think tanks, remained unaddressed.

Former Israeli Spies Work Top Jobs At Google, Facebook And Microsoft

A MintPress study has found that hundreds of former agents of the notorious Israeli spying organization, Unit 8200, have attained positions of influence in many of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. The Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Unit 8200 is infamous for surveilling the indigenous Palestinian population, amassing kompromat on individuals for the purposes of blackmail and extortion. Spying on the world’s rich and famous, Unit 8200 hit the headlines last year, after the Pegasus scandal broke. Former Unit 8200 officers designed and implemented software that spied on tens of thousands of politicians and likely aided in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

No Tech For Apartheid Israel

In this episode of The Watchdog, former Google employee Ariel Koren joins Lowkey and articulates her experience at the big tech giant, claiming it has gradually developed an institutionalised pro-Israeli bias. She also reveals ways in which employees attempting to hold the company accountable for unethical contracts, such as that of Project Nimbus, are being targeted and intentionally silenced. Google, alongside Amazon, has signed a contract worth $1.2 billion, titled “Project Nimbus”, which will provide a cloud system service for both the Israeli military and the Israeli government. Disturbingly, the project was announced May in 2021, the same month Israel killed at least 260 Palestinians in Gaza. Adding insult to injury, it was during this period that Amnesty International found Israel guilty of practising Apartheid against the Palestinian people.

YouTube Pushing Pro-Bolsonaro Content To Brazilians, Study Finds

Folha de São Paulo reports that the YouTube algorithm has found to be giving prominence to videos in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in its recommendations. The findings were published by NetLab, a special unit at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). According to opinion polls, Bolsonaro is on course to lose the coming election, after a catastrophic first term, and the far-right president and his military dominated government has attempted to cast doubt on the electoral process itself, as a means to remain in power. The UFRG study finds he is being aided in this by YouTube, owned by US tech giant Google. It is not the first time the company has faced criticism for apparent political interference in Brazil.

No Tech For Apartheid

Tech workers held actions in multiple cities Sept. 8, demanding Big Tech drop its Project Nimbus contract with the apartheid police state of Israel. Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion-dollar contract Amazon and Google have with the Israeli government and military for “cloud computing” that aids in surveillance and persecution of the Palestinian people through artificial intelligence. Actions were held in Seattle, New York City, San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina. In Seattle, activists spoke about reasons why workers will not support the Zionist project and oppose the cooperation of Israeli forces with the Seattle Police Department. The Palestinian people face untold horrors of oppression by the Israeli government.

Durham Employees Call On Google And Amazon To Cut Ties With Israel

Google employees in Durham protested outside of their office Thursday afternoon, calling on Google and Amazon to stop working with the Israeli government and military. The protest, which included around 40 employees, was part of the national #NoTechforApartheid campaign, a movement based around a $1.22 billion project contract that Google and Amazon signed with the Israeli government in May 2021. Known as “Nimbus," the project intends to provide cloud support for Israel’s military and government. Google and Amazon signed the deal while Israel was conducting airstrikes in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip and forcibly evicting several Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Google Employees Protest Company’s $1.2b Contract With Israeli Military

Los Angeles, California - Google employees have protested their company’s $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government and military called Project Nimbus, which aims to silence and profile pro-Palestine voices in the high-tech company and around the world. “Google’s Project Nimbus will be an ugly moment in Google’s history and shameful and embarrassing engagement,” said one employee who preferred to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation. “I have found Google’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program to be a whitewash, it’s more of a tool for censorship and control than for truly supporting employees,” said another.

US Government Is World’s Worst Violator Of Freedom Of Press

The US government employs many strategies to try to justify its intervention in the internal affairs and violation of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Chief among these deceptive tactics is Washington’s weaponization of accusations that its adversaries violate the freedom of expression. This is quite ironic, given that the United States is the world’s leading violator of press freedoms, according to any consistent definition of the term. And unlike the countries that Washington claims supposedly repress the freedom of expression within their borders, US government censorship of independent media outlets and suppression of alternative voices is global, hurting people across the planet. The Joe Biden administration has in particular gone to great lengths to depict itself as a defender of civil liberties.

Court Rejects Google’s Attempt to Dismiss Rumble’s Antitrust Lawsuit

California - A federal district court in California on Friday denied Google's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Silicon Valley giant is violating federal antitrust laws by preventing fair competition against its YouTube video platform. The lawsuit against Google, which has owned YouTube since its 2006 purchase for $1.65 billion, was brought in early 2021 by Rumble, the free speech competitor to YouTube. Its central claim is that Google's abuse of its monopolistic stranglehold on search engines to destroy all competitors to its various other platforms is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it unlawful to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize…any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.”

An Intellectual No-Fly Zone

Mountain View, California – Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

How Amazon And Google Made Billions From Israel’s Occupation

Seattle, Washington - “We are anonymous because we fear retaliation.” This sentence was part of a letter signed by 500 Google employees last October, in which they decried their company’s direct support for the Israeli government and military. In their letter, the signatories protested a $1.2 billion contract between Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Israeli government which provides cloud services for the Israeli military and government that “allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land”. This is called Project Nimbus. The project was announced in 2018 and went into effect in May 2021, in the first week of the Israeli war on besieged Gaza, which killed over 250 Palestinians and wounded many more.

Amazon And Google: Partners In Israeli Apartheid

The best-selling Irish novelist Sally Rooney is openly shunning Israel after recent reports from human rights groups warned that Israel practices apartheid, systematically oppressing Palestinians under its rule. But while Israel risks becoming a pariah among some cultural producers, it is being aggressively embraced by globe-spanning corporations like Amazon and Google – among the wealthiest companies in history. The two tech giants are not just lining up to do business with Israel. They are actively working to build and improve the technological infrastructure Israel needs to surveil Palestinians and confine them to the ghettos Israel’s army has created for them. Through their collaboration on Israel’s Project Nimbus, both companies are helping to remove any pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and are instead becoming partners in Israeli apartheid.

Workers At Amazon And Google Condemn ‘Project Nimbus’

Google and Amazon workers have published a public letter calling on the two companies to cancel Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract for cloud computing services for the Israeli military and government. We know that the Israeli military apparatus will use these services to build weapons and surveillance technology to use against the Palestinian people. Such technology, once tested on Palestinians, is frequently exported back to the United States to be used against marginalized populations and protesters here. This public action by tech workers follows an increasing number of coordinated actions in the tech sector to pressure Big Tech companies to cancel government contracts for surveillance technology, censorship technology, and computing services for foreign states.

Google Workers To Form Global Union Alliance

The new alliance called Alpha Global, in recognition of Google's parent company Alphabet, was formed in coordination with Union Network International Global Union, a global union that brings together 20 million workers from various sectors in the service economy, according to a UNI Global Union post. Alpha Global comprises 13 different unions representing workers in 10 countries, with the United States, Britain and Switzerland, being among them, The Verge reported. It seeks to make Google live up to its ideals. "[Google] is a place where many workers came to change the world -- to make it more democratic -- only to find Alphabet suppressing speech and cracking down on worker organizing while consolidating monopolistic power," a joint statement announcing the alliance said.
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