Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Tech industry blasts Trump "zero tolerance" immigration policy

Tech industry blasts Trump Tech industry blasts Trump "zero tolerance" immigration policy
Nellie Chapman | 20 June, 2018, 22:14

According to a report by The New York Times, more than 100 employees posted an internal letter on the Microsoft's internal message board protesting over the company's work with the ICE which has been in light in the recent times for separating migrant parents from their infant children at the Mexican border.

Microsoft boasted in a blogpost in January it was proud to be supporting ICE's IT modernization and that Azure Government would give the agency the ability to process data on IoT devices and enable it to use "deep-learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification".

But he stressed: "I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the US government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border".

As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border. Microsoft's involvement comes from the company's Azure Government cloud computing platform: a segregated set of government-only data centers and cloud services operated exclusively by United States citizens, with certifications and approval to fulfill certain government needs.

Few images or sounds from the detention facilities where children are being held have emerged, but on Monday, Propublica published the first bit of audio that demonstrates what it sounds like when a young girl is separated from her father at the border that quickly vent viral and crashed the nonprofit news organization's website.

In the letter, Microsoft employees say that doesn't go far enough.

Nadella's post doesn't address the question of canceling its ICE contract, but states that "any engagement with any government has been and will be guided by our ethics and principles".

As furore over the immigration policy mounted, commentators argued that Microsoft was complicit in the actions of the USA administration.

Though Microsoft's post was from January, Microsoft only today was put under heavy fire. It also "urged" the Trump administration to change the policy. The company has since said that move was "a mistake", blaming the "brief" change on an unidentified employee who was responding to the mounting social media backlash. ICE's use of the company's services is limited to "legacy mail, calendar, messaging, and document management workloads". America is a nation of immigrants, and we're able to attract people from around the world to contribute to our economy, our communities and our companies.

"We will always stand for immigration policies that preserve every person's dignity and human rights", Nadella wrote.

Microsoft staff have also called on the company to develop and enforce "a clear policy stating that neither Microsoft nor its contractors will work with clients who violate global human rights law".