Tuesday, 19 June 2018 09:07

Microsoft caught changing blog over border child separation

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Microsoft excised some portions of a January blog post about its close association with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement — which is under fire for enforcing an US Government policy of forcibly separating asylum-seekers from their children — but then restored it after the deletion was spotted.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Buzzfeed, which first spotted the deletion, "An employee briefly deleted the blog after seeing commentary in social media.

"This was a mistake and as soon as it was noticed the blog was reverted to previous language."

The post referred to the use of Microsoft's Azure Government cloud service by ICE and the Department of Defence.

"ICE's decision to accelerate IT modernisation using Azure Government will help them innovate faster while reducing the burden of legacy IT," it said, in part.

"The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and we're proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud."

Earlier, before the blog deletion was pointed out, Microsoft, like other technology companies, had tried to distance itself from the child separation issue.

The company had issued a statement, saying it was dismayed by the events taking place on the border.

In an email to Motherboard, the company said: "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.

“We need to continue to build on this noble tradition rather than change course now. We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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