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".
As tensions simmered online, Microsoft, which is led by CEO Satya Nadella, released a statement saying it was "dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border".
The Trump administration this week enacted a policy that would separate the children of illegal immigrants at the border from their families, generating much controversy.
First, Google employees rebelled against the company's association with the US Military Project Maven and now Microsoft employees are protesting against the company's involvement with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
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Now Microsoft is getting slammed for that partnership; the same federal agency has been helping US authorities carry out the separation of families detained at the US-Mexico border. "Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads".
ICE isn't a new Microsoft client. On social media, critics of Microsoft have been calling on company employees to demand that their employer drop the government contract.
In the letter, Microsoft employees say that doesn't go far enough. It also urged the Trump administration to change that policy.
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.
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Other tech companies have been criticized for their working relationships with the government.
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 United States borders. "We will continue to have this dialogue both within our company and with our stakeholders outside". Microsoft also mentioned the need for legislation on the immigration issue and you can find their full statement below.
"As individuals and groups across the country have spoken up to recognize, this practice violates the fundamental humanitarian principles that define us as a people", Smith wrote.
"I'm very hopeful that our leadership will hear us and they will respond the right way - they will do the right thing", said one employee who signed Tuesday's letter.
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