Google employees have been circulating an internal petition to push the tech giant to stop selling its services to police forces, following similar moves from other companies.
More than 1,600 employees are said to have signed the petition so far, seen by Reuters, which voiced disappointment with Google for not joining the “millions who want to defang and defund” police departments.
“We should not be in the business of profiting from racist policing,” the Google petition said. It referenced sales of the G Suite package, which includes products for email, document editing and file storage, to a police department in New York.
This is not the first time Google has faced criticism from its staff for working with government organisations, previously coming under fire for its contracts with the US military and perceived cooperation with authoritarian regimes in other countries.
The petition follows in the wake of a number of other tech firms reducing their relationship with police departments, specifically around the use of facial recognition technology.
Amazon said it would suspend all sales of its facial recognition tech to police forces for a year, while Microsoft said it would prohibit the practice entirely.
The petition, entitled No Police Contracts, asked Google chief executive Sundar Pichai to “take real steps to dismantle racism”.
Last week the company committed $175m to a fund that will go towards supporting black businesses, following widespread protests around the globe after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota.
“The protest movement that began with George Floyd’s murder has expanded across the US and around the world, developing into a rebellion against racism and police terror,” the Googlers wrote in the petition.
“Why help the institutions responsible for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more effective organisationally?”
A Google spokesperson said: “We’re committed to work that makes a meaningful difference to combat systemic racism, and our employees have made over 500 product suggestions in recent weeks, which we are reviewing.