STEM Students Refuse to Work at Google and Amazon Over Project Nimbus

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 to not take jobs or internships at Google or Amazon until the companies end their involvement in Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract providing cloud computing services and infrastructure to the Israeli government.

The pledgers 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 rally 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 career service College Transitions, which was compiled using publicly available data from LinkedIn. According to the data, as of 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 Muslim grassroots movement MPower Change and 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 pledge reads. “By expanding public cloud computing capacity and providing their state of the art technology to the Israeli occupation’s government and military, 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 that he signed the letter as a 2023 graduate of Cornell University’s master’s program for computer science and recent member of the tech workforce.

He tells WIRED that he was moved to act after watching friends from graduate school who “think one way privately,” but then “went on to take careers in these Big Tech firms.”

“I know a lot of people who—not to say they have a price, but when somebody looks at a starting salary, it’ll test your principles a little bit,” Sam said.

Naomi Hardy-Njie, a communications major and computer science minor at the University of San Francisco, said she heard about the letter while participating at the school’s three-week encampment demanding disclosure and divestment from companies funding the war in Gaza.

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

NOTA has organized several actions targeting Project Nimbus over the past several months. Eddie Hatfield, a NOTA organizer, was fired from Google in March after he interrupted the Google Israel managing director at a Google-sponsored tech conference in New York. More than 50 Google workers were later fired following a sit-in protest against Project Nimbus in Google’s New York and Sunnyvale offices, which was also organized by NOTA.

Google has claimed that Project Nimbus is “not directed” at classified or military work, but various document leaks have tied the contract to work for Israel’s military. Google and Amazon did not immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

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