Microsoft/ICE: Tech companies working with the bad guys is nothing new

Technology industry has long worked with questionable entities, and this will only accelerate in the future.

Last week saw the US government come under fire for its treatment of immigrants trying to cross the border. Amid the unpleasant scenes, Microsoft came under heavy fire for its involvement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But this is far from the only time a tech company has been involved with unpleasant actions. And in recent times this trend has only accelerated.

 

When tech companies supply questionable projects

In January the Redmond company was promoting ICE’s adoption of Azure as an example of how it can help government agencies modernize. However, this relationship was criticized online, and then saw Microsoft employees demand the company cancel its contract with ICE and ‘other clients who directly enable ICE.’

“We believe that Microsoft must take an ethical stand, and put children and families above profits,” read an open letter from employees to CEO Satya Nadella. “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit.”

In response, Nadella released a statement saying that he was “appalled at the abhorrent policy” while highlighting that Microsoft’s involvement with ICE was purely around supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads and “not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border.”

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