Microsoft employees revolt over firm's 'proud support' of US ICE

Lloyd Doyle
June 20, 2018

While Microsoft didn't tackle the subject of its cloud platform being used by the ICE, it was fairly adamant that Azure isn't being used to facilitate the rather nasty and dystopian activities of the ICE.

"In a clear abdication of ethical responsibility, Microsoft went as far as boasting that its services "support the core [ICE] agency functions" and enable ICE agents to "process data on edge devices" and 'utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification, '" the letter says. On social media, critics called on Microsoft employees to demand that their employer drop the government contract.

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

As first reported by the New York Times, more than 100 of the company's staff have signed an open letter to CEO Satya Nadella requesting to stop working with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Now it is back, and Microsoft has issued a statement clarifying its position about border policy. It was actually briefly removed but then later restored after a Microsoft spokesperson explained the removal was an employee "mistake".

Microsoft's full statement is below.

Federal agencies involved with immigration have been under particularly heavy scrutiny recently as more aggressive policies have been implemented at the direction of the Trump administration, like confining kids in cages, separating kids from their families, and deporting parents before their kids have been released from confinement.

Other tech companies are also sounding off on the immigration policy. "Family unification has been a fundamental tenant of American policy and law since the end of World War II".

Microsoft has been politically active on immigration issues in the last couple years, opposing the Muslim travel ban and supporting Dreamers, young people who came to the USA illegally as children, in statements and court cases.

Microsoft has come under fire after a blog post from January resurfaced, detailing how the company is "proud to support" Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a contract for their Azure Government Cloud software. "We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article