Last year, Google announced that it had finalized a deal to build a major new cloud-computing center called Google Cloud regions in Saudi Arabia. The company believes that this step will allow businesses there to “confidently grow and scale their offerings in this market.”
The company has already Google Cloud regions in the US, Indonesia, and South Korea. In the second phase, along with Saudia Arabia, the search engine giant plans to open them in Spain, France, Italy, and Qatar.
However, as far as the Arab country is concerned, human rights campaigners are not happy with Google’s decision. In a recent statement, they said that the company will be allowing one of the world’s worst human rights abusers to better spy on its citizens.
Rasha Abdul Rahim, director of Amnesty Tech, said in a press release:
In a country where dissidents are arrested, jailed for their expression and tortured for their work — Google’s plan could give the Saudi authorities even greater powers to infiltrate networks and gain access to data on peaceful activists and any individual expressing a dissenting opinion in the Kingdom.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others, have called on Google to:
Immediately halt work on the project until the company can publicly demonstrate how it will mitigate adverse human rights impacts.
The campaigners don’t believe Google will directly assist Saudi authorities’ attempts to silence dissent but considering the country’s history, it has never shown any second thoughts while infiltrating technology companies.
Google has not responded to the demands yet.