Over 100 employees of Microsoft sent CEO Satya Nadella an open letter asking to terminate the company’s contract of $19.4 million with ICE recently. As a response, the boss sent out a company-wide email saying that the contract only includes email, calendar and messaging!
Now, executives are saying that the Microsoft ICE contract does not involve the technology of face recog. Jason Zander, the VP for Azure Cloud platform gave an internal message to the employees stating that the contract only includes email. Nadella’s letter echoes this message.
The concerns involve the Trump administration going with a zero-tolerance policy for undocumented immigrants, and this includes taking over 2,300 children from their parents. There have been tensions within Microsoft that reached a peak yesterday, June 19. Then came Nadella’s letter at night, clearly stating that the ICE contract does not involve separating children from parents.
Last month, Microsoft said that it is to provide cloud services to the American government and intelligence services, collaborating with Dell.
I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border. Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads. Like many of you, I am appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border of the U.S. As both a parent and an immigrant, this issue touches me personally. This new policy implemented on the border is simply cruel and abusive, and we are standing for change. – Satya Nadella’s Letter
The open letter from his employees also demanded that the company should not be in concert with clients that do not remain abide by the international human rights law. They are further scrutinizing the ICE contract.
In the context, ICE has its efforts lined up to separate children from parents while crossing the border. Brad Smith, company president, and the chief legal officer wrote in a blog post that the two current bills in Congress do not sit well with the ideals of the company in terms of immigration. The bills in question are Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, and Securing America’s Future Act.
In response to Nadella’s letter, the employees condemned the content for the improper revealing of the contract details, and for the company refusing to lose ties with ICE. An employee let out his frustration pointing out that it remains unexplained why Brad Smith’s blog features face recognition when they are only dealing with mail and other data.
Children are future and they need their parents at present like it has always been in the past. This simple societal notion may not be enough inspiring to ICE and the Trump-inclined Congress, but we do hope that a tech leader like Microsoft remains clean and comes out beaming of the current internal concerns.