Home Strategy GitHub users threaten exodus unless Microsoft cancels ICE contract

GitHub users threaten exodus unless Microsoft cancels ICE contract

GitHub developers have given Microsoft an ultimatum. GitHub developers have given Microsoft an ultimatum. Pixabay Featured

Ninety-seven open-source developers have threatened to move their projects from the source code repository GitHub, which is now owned by Microsoft, unless the software behemoth ends its contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a letter sent to the company, and posted on GitHub, the developers said: "As members of the open source community and free software movement who embrace values of freedom, liberty, openness, sharing, mutual aid, and general human kindness, we are horrified by and strongly object to the Trump administration's policies of detainment, denaturalisation, deportation, and family separation as carried out by ICE."

Microsoft purchased GitHub for US$7.5 billion (A$9.79 billion) in Microsoft stock on 4 June. At the time, several open-source developers expressed reservations about continuing to host their projects on the site.

Employees of Microsoft sent a letter to chief executive Satya Nadella on Wednesday, asking him to end the ICE contract. The company had been caught out a day earlier, altering a January blog post about its contract with ICE.

The blog post specifically mentioned that Microsoft's technology could "help (ICE) employees make more informed decisions faster, with Azure Government enabling them to process data on edge devices or utilise deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification".

The GitHub users made reference to this portion of the blog post, adding: "We call on Microsoft to end its relationship with ICE and any federal agencies engaged in enforcing the cruel policies of this administration, which is destroying families and jailing asylum seekers, undocumented long-term residents, and even naturalised citizens under threat of deportation. Or, we will simply take our projects elsewhere."

Nadella and Microsoft president Brad Smith  responded with blog posts on Wednesday, but said nothing about cancelling the contract.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday cancelling the separation policy for the next 20 days. About 4000 children have already been taken from their parents and there is no sign of their being returned.

The full letter sent by the GitHub users is below:

Microsoft: Drop ICE!

Tell Microsoft to drop ICE as a client or lose us as GitHub users

Earlier this year Microsoft proudly announced that it was working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to "deliver such services as cloud-based identity and access" in order to "help employees make more informed decisions faster" and "utilise deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification." (Emphasis added.)

As members of the open source community and free software movement who embrace values of freedom, liberty, openness, sharing, mutual aid, and general human kindness, we are horrified by and strongly object to the Trump administration's policies of detainment, denaturalisation, deportation, and family separation as carried out by ICE.

With Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, many in the GitHub community were fearful of what new ownership from a company once openly hostile to open source would spell for the future of GitHub, and many of those people chose to leave the site rather than entrust Microsoft with their software. Those of us who remained, because we were willing to give Microsoft a chance to become a steward of the open source movement, will not continue to do so should Microsoft continue to abet the trampling of human and civil rights by this administration and its law enforcement agencies.

We call on Microsoft to end its relationship with ICE and any federal agencies engaged in enforcing the cruel policies of this administration, which is destroying families and jailing asylum seekers, undocumented long-term residents, and even naturalised citizens under threat of deportation. Or, we will simply take our projects elsewhere.

Signed,

  • Lea Verou @leaverou (MIT, W3C CSS Working Group, Prism, Mavo, Dabblet)
  • Sindre Sorhus @sindresorhus (AVA, XO, Awesome)
  • Thomas Fuchs @madrobby (Zepto, Script.aculo.us, Ruby on Rails)
  • Laurie Voss @seldo (LGBTQ.technology)
  • Jamie Kyle @jamiebuilds (Babel, Yarn, Flow, Parcel, Marionette, Lerna)
  • Orta Therox @orta (Artsy, CocoaPods, Danger)
  • Rick Waldron @rwaldron (Ecma/TC39, Johnny-Five, Bocoup)
  • Anna Henningsen @addaleax
  • Daniel Sieradski @selfagency
  • Nicholas Sahler @nicksahler
  • Gavin Morgan @quavmo
  • Abram Stern @aphid
  • Libby Horacek @emhoracek
  • Jeremy Low @jeremylow
  • Jacob Beard @jbeard4
  • Joshua Cook @joshuacook
  • Tomas Lycken @tlycken
  • Tobi Schäfer @p3k
  • Mijndert Stuij @mijndert
  • John Hann @unscriptable
  • Thijs van der Vossen @fingertips
  • Marc Hinse @MadeMyDay
  • Frank Bültge @bueltge
  • Bernard Lin @bernard-lin
  • vøid @makmm
  • Igor Buyanov @artifex404
  • Peter Benjamin @petermbenjamin
  • Eric Sandoval @emsando
  • David Seidenberg @davidseid
  • Jon Kuperman @jkup
  • Elin Angelov @zetxx
  • Titus Wormer @wooorm
  • Mikkel Malmberg @mikker
  • Yusuff Adeyemo @yusadolat
  • Filipe Kiss @filipekiss
  • Murilo Prestes @maclovin
  • Fabio Fernandes @fabiofl
  • Valentin Iovene @tgy
  • Jordan Danford @jdanford
  • Shawon Ashraf @ShawonAshraf
  • Aaron Lichtman @alichtman
  • Vinicius Rodrigues @Suburbanno
  • Jason Palmer @palmerj3
  • Danilo Guanabara @danguafer
  • Alex Rapley @arapl3y
  • Shealan Forshaw @shealan
  • Sam Lloyd @binchicken
  • Elijah Cruz @elijahcruz12
  • Michael Bishop @miklb
  • Esteban Rocha @Esteban-Rocha
  • Aung Naing Oo @o92
  • zer0crash @CyberSpace7
  • Alexander Wallin @alexanderwallin
  • lfuelling @lfuelling
  • Nicolai Süper @nicolaisueper
  • Rodrigo Bermúdez @rodrigobdz
  • Jasper Haggenburg @jpunt
  • Martin Šťovíček @stovmascript
  • Petter Karlsrud @ptrkrlsrd
  • Emanuele Stoppa @ematipico
  • Adrien Antoine @adriantoine
  • Apostolos Christodoulou @tol-is
  • Arthur Guiot @arguiot
  • Antonio Nesic @mutantkeyboard
  • Christian Petersen @fnky
  • Jonah Meijers @theonejonahgold
  • Amal Karunarathna @r3b311i0n
  • Denys Vitali @DenysVitali
  • Daksh Miglani @DakshMiglani
  • Allen Hai @coetry
  • Mark Rabey @MarkRabey
  • Capi Etheriel @barraponto
  • Josh Waller @mdxprograms
  • Lisa Lamontagne @llamontagne
  • Charles Josephs @darkmyst
  • Daniel Dyssegaard Kallick @keevie
  • Olayemi H. Ibrahim @yobroyem0
  • Jim Kang @deathmtn
  • Dale Weiler @graphitemaster
  • Brian Yang @brianyang
  • Benji Bilheimer @benjibee
  • Raymond Cano @rayraycano
  • Victor Saiz @vectorsize
  • Stephen Rivas @sprjr
  • Jiří Špác @capaj
  • W.O. Boats @withoutboats (Rust)
  • Ian Ardouin-Fumat @iaaaan
  • Daniel Bennett @danBennettDev
  • Jad Sarout @xananax
  • Max Rittmüller @maxrimue
  • Don Bellenger @donnotron666
  • Celti Burroughs @Celti
  • Ted Dobyns @tedajax
  • TechdudeGames @techdudegames
  • Herman J. Radtke III @hjr3
  • Aiden Holmes @aidenholmes
  • Umayah Abdennabi @sudohalt

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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