Github users call Microsoft: Give up ICE or will lose Github users
Recently, over 200 GitHub contributors signed an open letter on the site requesting Microsoft to terminate its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about cloud computing and low learning services or to give up Github.
Previously, the government implemented a stringent parental separation policy for illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border. Although the Trump administration made concessions after the sensational fermentation, the operation of ICE still caused strong dissatisfaction from all walks of life.
Microsoft is one of the major technology companies that has partnered with ICE. This incident first caused a stir inside Microsoft. More than 300 employees asked Microsoft to cancel the cooperation with ICE. They wrote in the petition: “…I hope Microsoft will stand on the moral side and bring children and families together.” Put above profits…”.
Soon after, members of the GitHub community also came forward to ask Microsoft to terminate cooperation with ICE, otherwise, they would shift existing open source projects to other platforms.
In early June of this year, Microsoft acquired GitHub for US$7.5 billion, which caused a large number of development projects to flee. At present, because of the cooperation with ICE, Microsoft is faced with the moral dilemma similar to Google, Amazon and other US technology giants, and is also facing the threat of user loss again.
In the petition in, Github user wrote:
“Earlier this year Microsoft proudly announced that it was working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to “deliver such services as cloud-based identity and access” in order to “help employees make more informed decisions faster” and “utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification.” (Emphasis added.)
As members of the open source community and free software movement who embrace values of freedom, liberty, openness, sharing, mutual aid, and general human kindness, we are horrified by and strongly object to the Trump administration’s policies of detainment, denaturalization, deportation, and family separation as carried out by ICE.
With Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, many in the GitHub community were fearful of what new ownership from a company once openly hostile to open source would spell for the future of GitHub, and many of those people chose to leave the siterather than entrust Microsoft with their software. Those of us who remained, because we were willing to give Microsoft a chance to become a steward of the open source movement, will not continue to do so should Microsoft continue to abet the trampling of human and civil rights by this administration and its law enforcement agencies.
We call on Microsoft to end its relationship with ICE and any federal agencies engaged in enforcing the cruel policies of this administration, which is destroying families and jailing asylum seekers, undocumented long-term residents, and even naturalized citizens under threat of deportation. Or, we will simply take our projects elsewhere.”
On June 20, Trump was forced to sign an executive order under pressure from all walks of life and suspended the move to dismantle immigrant families. I believe that Microsoft’s thinking on the ICE contract may soon appear.