Microsoft came under fire on social media for its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that's separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.
The company now says it's "dismayed," by new actions by the Trump administration to jail immigrant parents who attempt to come to the U.S. without going through legal channels, and take their children away into detention facilities.
"As a company Microsoft has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents," it said in a statement.
In a January blog post, Microsoft touted a contract with ICE for its cloud-based software Azure, saying it would help ICE process data faster. The line that resonated with social media over the weekend was Microsoft saying it was "proud to support," the work of ICE in the post.
On Twitter, Microsoft drew outrage in posts that mention how CEO Satya Nadella was also an immigrant, and asked Microsoft to take a stand on what's happening on the border with families being separated.
Microsoft employees chimed in. Larry Osterman, a Microsoft engineer, asked company president Brad Smith how working for ICE jibes with "our ethical stances....Not cool."
Agreed. @BradSmi, how on earth does this align with our ethical stances w.r.t. family separation and our public stance on using AI for only ethical purposes. This seems completely antithetical to our public stances. Not Cool.— Larry Osterman (@osterman) June 18, 2018
As a former @Microsoft employee, I’m appalled to see this news. The projects we take on matters, they have real world implications. We can’t hide behind code without thinking about the ethical implications of our work. Do better. https://t.co/PuXQX5oBqS— Niles Guo (@powerguo) June 18, 2018
Tech Workers Coalition, an advocacy group, urged on Twitter for Microsoft employees not to "be complicit," in working with ICE.
If you are a worker building these tools or others at Microsoft, decide now that you will not be complicit. Then, talk to a trusted coworker. Begin building power. If you don't feel like you know how to begin those conversations, our DMs are open. https://t.co/I6dScfxqlb— Tech Workers Coalition (@techworkersco) June 18, 2018
Tech companies are finding themselves in the cross hairs over government contracts as employees increasingly vocalize their disagreement over the far-reaching consequences of their technologies.
The American Civil Liberties Union and civil rights groups recently demanded hat Amazon stop selling a facial recognition software tool, called Rekognition, to police and other government entities because they fear it could be used to unfairly target protesters, immigrants and any person just going about their daily business.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, after being contacted by media organizations about the statement of support for ICE, the blog post was amended to take out the "proud" reference, but it's been since updated to the original statement,
Microsoft didn't back down from its support of ICE, but while noting that it didn't support the new "zero tolerance" immigration policy, did urge Congress "to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families," the company said in a statement.
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft's contract with ICE is worth $19.14 million.
On LinkedIn, Microsoft's Smith penned a Father's Day post in which he said the news of migrant children being taken from their families was "especially poignant."
"When we keep children with their parents, we not only follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s oldest and most important humanitarian traditions, we help build a stronger country," he wrote.
A suspected drunk driver was shot by sheriff's deputies after leading them on a pursuit across North County freeways Friday night, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.
Fire crews responded to a fully involved building fire in the 7000 block of Amherst Drive in Rolando.
The woman fatally shot at an Oceanside apartment Friday afternoon was identified as a Navy corpsman, and a suspect is in custody.
Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at Comic-Con with an army of stars, surprises and new footage from films like "Aquaman," ''Shazam!" and even "Wonder Woman 1984," which is only three and a half weeks into production.
Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding a man who died Saturday morning on a sidewalk in Old Town.
Fire crews have reached full containment of a wildfire that spread over hilly rural terrain east of Ramona Friday afternoon, officials said.
A strong high pressure ridge will slowly strengthen and expand, putting Southern California underneath it's dome of hot air.
For years, Honor Flight San Diego has fulfilled its mission to fly San Diego’s war heroes to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to their service.
Day two of Comic-Con has come and gone, but tens of thousands of people are still hitting the streets of downtown San Diego – pumping thousands of dollars into the local economy.
A 2-year-old girl is in the hospital Friday with serious injuries after she fell from a fourth-floor window at an apartment complex in San Diego's University City neighborhood, police said.