To: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM

Tech should not be in the business of war

WHEN WE ORGANIZE, WE WIN!!

Thank you for signing on to amplify the call for our employers to say NO to tech for warfare.

Today we learned that Google will not renew its AI contract with the Department of Defense. (Read the story here https://gizmodo.com/google-plans-not-to-renew-its-contract-for-project-mave-1826488620)

We, employees of the tech industry claim this as our victory, but we also acknowledge this is just step one. We will continue to fight for Microsoft, IBM and Amazon to follow Google’s lead, and we will continue to fight for the tech industry’s commitment to no more future military contracts.

We are tech industry employees concerned about the lack of accountability, accuracy, and safety in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in offensive capabilities of the U.S. Military. Many of us signing this petition are faced with ethical decisions in the design and development of technology on a daily basis. We cannot ignore the moral responsibility of our work. We believe that tech companies should not be in the business of war, and that we as tech workers must adopt binding ethical standards for the use of AI that will let us build the world we believe in. Google should break its contract with the Department of Defense (DoD).

We invite all supporters to join us in amplifying our demand for private tech companies to stay out of the business of war.

Why is this important?

Over three thousand employees at Google recently wrote a letter to their CEO explaining their opposition to Project Maven [1], after learning that their work was part of a US Department of Defense contract being considered.

We are employees of the tech industry who invite all supporters to join us in amplifying their demand to break these contracts across the industry.

The DoD contracts under consideration by Google, and similar contracts at IBM, Microsoft [2] and Amazon [3] break user trust, and signal a dangerous alliance between the US military and the tech industry. Tech companies that have vast quantities of sensitive data from users across the globe shouldn’t build offensive technology for one country’s military.

Google says its technology will only be used to “non-offensive” ends. Our last few years working in the tech industry has issued reminder after painful reminder of the unintended outcomes of even benignly-designed tech.

We can no longer ignore our industry’s and our technologies’ harmful biases, large scale breaches of trust, and lack of ethical safeguards. These are life and death stakes.

We risk potentially catastrophic outcomes if we continue to deploy global technical systems without care, deliberation, and a clear understanding of our significant responsibility.

In signing this petition, we represent a growing network of tech workers who commit to never “just follow orders”, but to hold ourselves, each other, and the industry accountable.

Sign on and join us as we demand that Google break its contract with the DoD, urge our employers at IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon to stay out of the business of war, and call upon our peers to adopt binding ethical standards for the use of AI.

1. "‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon" https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/technology/google-letter-ceo-pentagon-project.html
2. "Ungrateful Google Plebes Somehow Not Excited to Work on Military Industrial Complex Death Machines" https://futurism.com/google-maven-drones-military-contract/
3. "Google is Pursuing the Pentagon’s Giant Cloud Contract Quietly, Fearing An Employee Revolt" https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/04/google-pursuing-pentagons-giant-cloud-contract-quietly-fearing-employee-revolt/147407/

*No names will be visible on the petition until the petition reaches 100 signatures. At that point your first name and last initial only will appear, not your workplace. Tech Workers Coalition may reach out to you on the basis of your workplace.*

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Reasons for signing

  • A transnational company has transnational responsibilities. Technologies always carry expectations about humans. Developers and users must first ask "Who's in there?" and then explicitly address the ethical obligations that become visible. Google has acquired many ethical obligations to its transnational users that make selling itself to one country's military a clear violation.
  • Because Google needs to be a responsible actor: https://www.change.org/p/sundar-pichai-dear-google-grant-a-crime-victim-privacy
  • We need to make peace around the world.

Updates

2018-06-01 17:10:44 -0400
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Petition is successful with 332 signatures

2018-04-20 14:28:31 -0400

100 signatures reached

2018-04-19 23:43:35 -0400

50 signatures reached

2018-04-19 20:11:43 -0400

25 signatures reached

2018-04-19 18:34:54 -0400

10 signatures reached