GitHub employees demand Microsoft cancels its contract with ICE

GitHub employees demand Microsoft cancels its contract with ICE
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Microsoft is set to enter into a controversial contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and GitHub staff are demanding it’s cancelled.

The contract is worth $200,000 but ICE has repeatedly come under fire from rights campaigners after a string of abuses, including the highly-publicised separation and detention of migrant children from their families.

Here’s the letter addressed to GitHub’s CEO and leadership team:

The letter was published a day after GitHub announced a $500,000 donation to nonprofits “working to support immigrant communities targeted by the current administration,” according to an all-staff memo sent by Friedman.

“Attempting to cancel a purchase will not convince the current administration to alter immigration policy,” Friedman wrote in the memo. “Other actions, such as public advocacy, supporting lawsuits, meaningful philanthropy, and leveraging the vast resources of Microsoft will have the greatest likelihood of affecting public policy. Our voice is heard better by policymakers when we have a seat at the table.”

Employees across Microsoft have previously voiced their disagreement with US administration contracts, including with the Pentagon.

In a 2018 memo, Microsoft staffers wrote: “We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub at the end of last year, employees from the world’s largest repository host are taking the opportunity to add their voices to the aforementioned growing movement.

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