Civil society organizations stand in solidarity with tech workers who speak out against oppression

We, the undersigned the undersigned Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights organizations, are in solidarity with tech workers, who speak out against corporations whose policies contravene international law, as well as business and human rights principles. We hear your anonymized voices. It is unacceptable to be marginalized for being Palestinian or for demanding your companies to respect human rights including Palestinian rights, and we stand in solidarity with you for speaking up, and against any retaliation by your corporation.

Large tech companies are continually investing in profits over people. We are witnessing an alarming trend of tech giants cozying up to repression regimes around the world, thereby exacerbating the digital divide, ongoing oppression, and existing racism toward marginalized and occupied communities, such as the Palestinian people. Google, for example, through its Nimbus project, provides very advanced AI tools that provides Israel with facial recognition, automated image categorization, and object tracking capabilities, in addition to sentiment analysis that is supposed to assess the emotional content of pictures, speech, and writing.

Palestinians have been living under Israeli military occupation, and seen these technologies used against them, for decades. Where Israeli authorities and surveillance corporations have been producing and testing surveillance technologies on Palestinians, technologies which are then sold internationally. Therefore, the experience of Palestinians has shown that such technologies are often used in a discriminatory manner, and weaponized for military purposes and to profit from human rights abuses. This raises the concerns of Palestinians and tech workers alike.

We are aware of how difficult it can be for workers to take an ethical stand against their employer for fear of losing your job. We also understand that given the recurrent anti-Palestinian smearing, there is an even greater self-censorship and censorship when speaking out about Palestine. However, we believe your internal activism, from within

large tech giants, is essential. We see this work as an extension of all human rights work and advocacy efforts that are taking place outside the companies. Therefore, we encourage you to keep up the great work to help us create a safe, fair and free digital world and to speak out openly/ non-anonymously whenever possible.

In Solidarity

The signatories

7amleh- The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media

USCPR – US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

Cairo Institute for Human Right Studies

ELSC – European Legal Support Center

JLAC – The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center

Makan

Al- Haq

Jewish Voices for Peace

MPower Change

PNGO – The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network

MIFTAH – The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

SMEX – Socila Media Exchange