Microsoft has managed to avoid much of the scrutiny other large technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon have been dealing with, and one of the reasons may be that they have been aligning themselves very closely with government, as they seek to increase their lucrative role as IT vendor to the armed forces.
This has however attracted the attention of protestors who accusing them of profiting from work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department, responsible for enacting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
“By knowingly and willingly providing technology support to ICE, XYZ Corporation is colluding with ICE and its racist mission to tear apart families, and mistreat children,” activist Andy Ratto said. “This is a moment of life-or-death for 11 million undocumented people in the United States, and we will not remain silent as American corporations profiteer from — and enable — human suffering.”
Today hundreds of protestors invaded their 5th Avenue New York Microsoft Store to highlight their concerns.
?? New Yorkers just SHUT DOWN the @Microsoft store in Manhattan, demanding the corporation cancel their $19.4 million contract with ICE.
— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) September 14, 2019
The event was organized by the “Close the Camps NYC” coalition who said:
“Close the Camps NYC coalition led hundreds of protestors to peacefully march on the premiere retail location of Microsoft on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, staging a sit-in to demand that the tech giant stop allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use its technology in the racist campaign against immigrants and legal asylum seekers.”
76 protestors were arrested at the event. In a statement to CNN Microsoft said:
“We’re grateful to the NYPD for their help with protestors at our store on 5th Avenue. We’ve closed the store for the rest of the day and look forward to opening our doors again soon.”
Microsoft has largely hidden behind the veil of patriotism, and has abdicated any responsibility for using their own judgement by calling very loudly for government regulation and guidance instead. It would be wise for the company to note that simply saying you are following orders is not a real protection against your duty to make proper moral choices.