MICROSOFT HAS COME UNDER FIRE from its own employees for its dealings with the Immigration and Customs Enforcemen (ICE), which has harsh policies including separating children from parents.
There have been numerous reports of US immigration separating immigrants entering the US from their children thanks to the policies put in place by the increasingly toxic - depending on your stance - Trump administration.
But in a post on its Azure Government Cloud blog back in January, Microsft touted how it was "proud to support" the work of the US' ICE.
Given the stories that have come to light, such support has rubbed some of Microsoft's employees up the wrong way, as Gizmodo reported that two are considering quitting the Redmond company if it doesn't handle its part in the situation correctly.
While Microsoft didn't tackle the subject of its cloud platform being used by the ICE, it was fairly adamant that Azure isn't being used to facilitate the rather nasty and dystopian activities of the ICE.
"Microsoft is not working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border, and contrary to some speculation, we are not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this purpose," Microsoft said in a public statement.
"As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border. Family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II. As a company Microsoft has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents."
While keeping to the rather neutral tones of such canned statements, Microsoft made it clear that it's not in favour of separating immigrants from their children at US borders. To be honest, whatever your views on immigration are, if you or your company agrees with such practices perhaps you need to take a long hard look at your empathy levels.
"We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families," said Microsoft.
No doubt Redmond wants to avoid the situation Google faced over its involvement in making artificial intelligence tech for US military drones, which saw a swathe of Googlers get up in arms about putting Google 'don't be evil' tech into machines of war.
Both situations raise the question as to how much the likes of Google and Microsoft should police how their tech is being used; should they take a hands-off approach, or intervene when their systems and software are being used for things that don't track with their company values? We suspect the latter may become more prevalent as tech firms hone their ethics. µ
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