THE TECH INDUSTRY has united in denouncing president Donald Trump's executive order banning travel for passport holders from seven countries for at least 90 days, along with a whole host of other draconian methods the president claims are in the interest of protecting the country from terrorism.
Google was one of the first companies to act, recalling around 100 staff likely to be affected by the ban, back to the US. The company went on to make a statement to Bloomberg saying: "We're concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S. We'll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere."
Airbnb has offered free accommodation to anyone with nowhere to go as a result of the ban.
Brad Smith of Microsoft sent a company-wide email stating: "As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called 'Dreamers'.
"We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people's freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings."
Satya Nadella, originally from Hyderabad, India, added: "As an immigrant and as a CEO, I've both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic."
Mark Zuckerberg, whose grandparents fled from Europe and whose wife's parents are from Asia said: "A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented. They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here."
Tim Cook of Apple told The Verge that: "There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday's immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them…And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company."
He ended with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr: "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now."
CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings said on Facebook: "Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies).
The post has already been "liked" 18,000 times, including one show of support from Mark Zuckerberg.
But although the vast majority of tech companies have shown a clear condemnation, taxi app Uber became the subject of a #deleteuber hashtag, after not only scabbing the strike by US taxi drivers who refused to serve JFK Airport after the first round of detentions, but actually went on to surge fare prices to capitalise on the lack of the cities famous yellow cabs.
The company has since apologised and agreed to set aside $1m to aid their drivers affected by the order. Rival company Lyft meanwhile has already pledged $3m to causes aligned with banning the Executive Order.
Twitter's official statement, in under 140 characters, of course, reads: "Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always."
Some have questioned whether the company could go further in eliminating hate speech, extremist views and fake news from its platform.
Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X, who has previously described himself as some sort of go-between between the world and Trump, said: "The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country's challenges. Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They've done right, not wrong & don't deserve to be rejected."
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich tweeted: "As a company co-founded by an immigrant, we support lawful immigration. We will provide impacted employees with Intel's full support."
Anonymous is yet to react, but has already made threats to release more evidence of Trump's alleged criminal links. This may just tip them over the age.
And then there's us. Technology is built on people from around the world coming together to create something beautiful. Anyone who is involved in open source will know that it's a utopian ideal of people bringing different skill-sets to the table.
The "real world" should be the same. And yes, there are bad apples in every barrel, but fundamentally, people are good and to discriminate against them, and treat them as second-class citizens or persona non grata because of their country of origin, is not only wrong, it's evil and it's non-constitutional. Eight days in and Trump has defiled the oath he took when went into office. Next, he'll be banning cars in case they crash.
As you pass the Statue of Liberty on the way into New York, where Trump's empire is based, there is a poem, "The New Colossus", on a bronze plaque, which says, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Trump's unilateral actions are a giant steaming turd on that plaque.
The tech industry needs a hive mind from all over the world and rejecting people from the opportunity to work in the US is like removing vital cogs from a huge machine, and the whole world is worse for it.
For our part, in the UK, Theresa May finds herself in a painted corner, with Brexit leaving her isolated from some of our major historical trading partners and with the chance of a trading agreement with the US, of which technology will doubtless play a huge part.
Some news outlets are even reporting plans to enforce foreign nationals to show their social media accounts and dump their phone contacts on entry. If true, it amounts to a digital violation and serves no real purpose, setting a dangerous precedent to future privacy.
It seems appropriate, therefore, to finish with the words of Edward Snowden, in exile from his own country for speaking out against liberty: "In every moment, look around and ask yourself: 'Is this right?' There are no heroes, only heroic choices. Act accordingly."
But remember - if you believe what we believe, Don't hate. Don't retaliate. Just make your voice heard above the din of the echo chamber. Love trumps Hate. µ
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