Microsoft facing workforce turmoil
This week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has created controversy over its separation of families at the border and confinement of children in cages. News also surfaced that Microsoft has ties to ICE and may be indirectly assisting them with these efforts, much to the frustration of its employees.
The company’s partnership with ICE has never been private news, as they announced it in January; however, because of the size of the company, the news may have slipped through the cracks with many Microsoft employees. Now, because of recent chatter of ICE’s controversial practices, employees have taken notice and expressed their disagreement with the partnership.
Neither ICE nor Microsoft have released details about the nature of the partnership, but many employees have expressed concerns about the technology that the Azure cloud computing offers ICE. Further, some suggest that the government can use Azure for facial recognition software to more easily target immigrants. Others have even stipulated that the partnership supplies ICE with artificial intelligence technology, which the government has been targeting for quite some time.
These assumptions are not too extreme either. Moreover, in the past month, the American Civil Liberties Union discovered that Amazon gave government agencies access to Rekognition, their facial recognition software.
Microsoft has discounted these accusations, stating that the company “urged the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families.”
However, employees don’t seem too convinced. Some of the tech giant’s workers told Gizmodo that they would consider leaving the company if they learned that the accusations were true.
Regardless of what the truth may be, Microsoft will need to work wonders in PR to appease its employees and avoid significant damage to its workforce.
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