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.
We know who’s going to the Super Bowl, but do you know who you’re inviting to your party? It doesn’t matter who’s on the guest list when Jaclyn James is planning a party.
Two people were killed Monday when a roughly 75-foot- tall tree fell onto a two-story house in the Point Loma Heights area.
Union leaders and administrators with the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a tentative deal Tuesday that could send teachers back to the classroom Wednesday, ending the first Los Angeles teachers strike in 30 years.
Senate Republicans have released a measure designed around President Donald Trump's proposal for breaking a budget impasse, its centerpiece his demand for $5.7 billion to build a southern border wall all but guaranteeing Democratic opposition and no foreseeable end to a partial government shutdown.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer heads to Washington D.C. Tuesday to participate in the 87th meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), looking to improve San Diego's economy and create jobs.
A man who barged onto a school bus full of children in Campo and pulled a knife on the driver is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday at the courthouse in El Cajon. Matthew Douglas Barker, 37, pleaded guilty last month to assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor child endangerment.
Tragedy struck Monday in Point Loma Heights where a couple reportedly visiting from North Dakota died when a 75-foot tall Torrey Pine fell on the house. A fellow business owner from Grand Forks, North Dakota, identified the victims as Troy and Jessica Nelson – owners of Trojan Promotions.
Two women were killed and a man suffered serious injuries in a four-vehicle crash on State Route 76 in Vista, authorities said Tuesday.
Gusty winds are expected to continue Tuesday in parts of San Diego County, causing potentially dangerous driving conditions through Wednesday.