Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Microsoft takes a stand against ICE separating parents from children

Microsoft takes a stand against ICE separating parents from children

Without clarifying the exact details of the work Microsoft is doing for ICE, and what manner of computation the company's Azure cloud computing platform is providing for the government agency, Microsoft did clarify that it was not working "on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border", and that it was "not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this objective". According to the post, the Microsoft's Azure service would help ICE "process data on edge devices or utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification".

Smith wrote about Microsoft's stance on immigration, noting that the company "is something akin to 'the United Nations of Software.'" He said one House bill, the Securing America's Future Act (H.R. 4760), "plainly represents the wrong approach", while picking apart another bill - the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 (H.R. 6136) - particularly for the separation of children from their families.

As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border.

"The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching". "Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads".

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The letter comes after critics tweeted out a Microsoft blog post from January highlighting its contract with ICE.

The letter from Microsoft employees was first obtained by the New York Times and verified by Gizmodo. Will Trump change his policy?

The controversy over Microsoft's involvement with the ICE stems from an Authority to Operate (ATO) that the agency granted to Azure Government earlier this year. We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families. The migrant children issue has struck a similar chord, prompting executives and employees from other tech companies, including Facebook and Google, to condemn the practice. It did not address the company's contract with ICE or the employee letter. That means standing with every immigrant who works at Microsoft and standing for change in the inhumane treatment of children at the USA border today. "We will continue to have this dialogue both within our company and with our stakeholders outside". Now it is back, and Microsoft has issued a statement clarifying its position about border policy.

In a Facebook post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "we need to stop this policy right now", The Verge reported on Tuesday.

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