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Thursday, Sep 19th

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You are here: English BoingBoing ibag Many of the key Googler Uprising organizers have quit, citing retaliation from senior management

Many of the key Googler Uprising organizers have quit, citing retaliation from senior management

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The Googler Uprising was a string of employee actions within Google over a series of issues related to ethics and business practices, starting with the company's AI project for US military drones, then its secretive work on a censored/surveilling search tool for use in China; then the $80m payout to Android founder Andy Rubin after he was accused of multiple sexual assaults. Tens of thousands of Google employees participated in the uprising, including 20,000 who walked off the job in February. The activist Google employees moved from victory to victory, including the ouster of a a transphobic, racist, xenophobic ideologue who had been appointed to Google's "AI Ethics" board. Two key organizers, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, publicly accused the company of targeting them for retaliation in April (to enormous internal uproar). Now, Whittaker has resigned (on the thirteenth anniversary of her employement with Google), along with Celie O’Neil-Hart, who had been global head of trust and transparency marketing at YouTube Ads, and Google News Labs' Erica Anderson. In Whittaker's farewell note to her colleagues, she calls on them to "unionize — in a way that works," "protect conscientious objectors and whistleblowers," "demand to know what you’re working on, and how it’s used" and "build solidarity with those beyond the company." She says that Google's entry into "new markets" like "healthcare, fossil fuels, city development and governance, transportation, and beyond...is gaining significant and largely unchecked power to impact our world (including in profoundly dangerous ways, such as accelerating the extraction of fossil fuels and the deployment of surveillance technology)." Whittaker will devote her work to AI Now, the group she co-founded to build and promulgate critical, ethical frameworks for AI research. Read the rest

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