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Hey Google: we need to learn more about your role in the war on Gaza

Amid recent revelations exposing the alarming use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems by the Israeli army to automate target generation for bombings in the Gaza war, Access Now is demanding transparency from Google regarding the company’s involvement. In an open letter addressed to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc. — of which Google is a subsidiary — on May 16, Access Now is calling on Google to clarify any involvement and complicity in human rights violations in Gaza.

We’re witnessing one of the most destructive and atrocious tech-enabled wars in modern history. With over 35,000 Palestinians killed, including one child dying every ten minutes, Google can no longer enjoy conducting business as usual with a client responsible for such death and destruction. Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Director at Access Now.

Recent investigations have uncovered the Israeli military’s disturbing use of AI systems in Gaza. For instance, the “Lavender” system analyzes Gaza’s population data to rank people’s likelihood of Hamas affiliation and automatically generates “kill lists” to be bombed. Another dystopian system, called “Where’s Daddy?,” is used by Israel’s army to track marked individuals in real time and bomb their family homes once they enter the building.

In light of these extraordinary investigations, Google must disclose how their technologies are being used by Israeli authorities, including through Project Nimbus, particularly as Google has expanded its services to the Israeli Ministry of Defence during the war.

By deepening a partnership with and providing services to a customer that is using similar tools to perpetrate human rights abuses, Google risks being directly linked to those abuses. It’s time for Google to live up to its own human rights commitments and demonstrate how it will ensure that its tools are not being used to carry out human rights abuses in Gaza. Isedua Oribhabor, Business and Human Rights Manager at Access Now.

With the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the ongoing hearings addressing Israel’s military actions and human rights violations in Gaza, Google must disclose its Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) processes and outline measures it has taken to mitigate any adverse human rights impacts, and avoid possible complicity in genocide.