- Stephen Lam/Stringer
- Microsoft is being criticized over its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for its cloud-computing software Azure Government.
- In a blog post in January, Microsoft said it was “proud to support” the agency with the software.
- ICE has been heavily criticized in recent days for enforcing a policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border and operating detention centers for separated family members and children.
Microsoft has come under fire after a blog post from January resurfaced detailing how the company is “proud to support” Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a contract for its Azure Government cloud software.
Azure Government is cloud-computing software that Microsoft sells to various government agencies, but the contract with ICE has received criticism in light of its enforcement of family-separation policies and operation of detention centers, some of which house hundreds of children who have been separated from their parents or family members.
Microsoft @azure is "proud to support" the work of ICE. This quote is from a page that was created this year. To all the people lecturing me recently on having negative feelings about MS buying Github: y'all are ok with this? I'm not ok with this. pic.twitter.com/vm26BmWF81
— taotetek (@taotetek) June 17, 2018
Friends who work for @Microsoft,
FIGHT THIS. Make the biggest noise imaginable about it.
Don't fall for the "all companies take government contracts" spin. Your company has THIS contract and is *proud* of it.
Resources are available to help you fight. I believe in you.???? https://t.co/P19aEWR45n
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) June 18, 2018
Around 1 p.m. ET Monday, the blog post’s section about ICE seemed to have been removed, though it reappeared about 20 minutes later.
Looks like Microsoft removed the part about being proud to support ICE (below) from its Azure blog post https://t.co/5uWXdVJ2ch Here's the archived version https://t.co/GlNcA8vIxS pic.twitter.com/DVfF3K4OEz
— Nitasha Tiku (@nitashatiku) June 18, 2018
Microsoft told the Wired reporter Nitasha Tiku that the removal of the portion referencing ICE was a “mistake” and attributed it to an employee who edited the blog after seeing discussions about it on social media.
Additionally, Microsoft issued a statement.
“Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,” the statement said. “Family unification has been a fundamental tenant 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.”
Amid the backlash against Microsoft on social media, a website developer named Mat Marquis wrote on Twitter that he would end his business with the company over its ICE contract.
They have an outstanding invoice which, upon receipt, I will be donating to https://t.co/TIlNWOGSQS
— Mat Marquis (@wilto) June 18, 2018