Microsoft employees protest company's work with ICE | Tech News
More than 100 Microsoft employees have signed an open letter protesting the company’s work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and asking the company to cease operations with the agency, which has been separating members of families that cross US borders illegally.
“We believe that Microsoft must take an ethical stand, and put children and families above profits,” said the letter, which was addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The letter republished by the New York Times, notes that Microsoft has a $19 million contract to provide cloud storage and artificial intelligence services.
“As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit,” the letter says. “We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”
The letter is part of theover President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which aims to separate children from their parents when they cross US borders illegally. The move has resulted in the US government sending thousands of children to holding camps around the country, images of which have sparked international outrage, even from within Trump’s own party.
Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter. The company said Monday it’sand is asking the government to change its policy. It also said its services aren’t aiding the agency’s actions regarding families at the border.
“Microsoft is not working with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or US Customs and Border Protection on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border, and contrary to some speculation, we are not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this purpose,” Microsoft said a statement.
A host of prominent tech leaders have publicly condemned the policy in the last couple of days. Apple CEO Tim Cook calls it “inhumane,” while Google CEO Sundar Pichai called stories and images of families being separated “gut wrenching” and urged the US government to find a “better, more humane way.”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, himself an immigrant, called the policy “immoral,” saying, “families are the backbone of society.” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki also found the stories “heartbreaking” and recommended ways for her nearly 200,000 followers to help.
Silicon Valley speaking out against Trump: This isn’t the first time tech CEOs have disagreed with the president.
Trump and Silicon Valley: How politics and tech are changing in the age of Trump.