Microsoft-owned GitHub will renew a $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, regardless of issues concerning the Trump administration’s insurance policies, in response to a leaked e mail.
GitHub CEO Nat Friedman stated in an internal email leaked to tech activist group Fight for the Future that ICE bought a license for a GitHub enterprise server in 2016, and that the acquisition not too long ago got here up for renewal. In the e-mail, Friedman stated the corporate doesn’t have an settlement to supply skilled providers to ICE, and it “has no visibility into how this software is being used, other than presumably for software development and version control.”
Friedman goes on to say that he personally, and the corporate usually, disagrees with Trump administration insurance policies, like household separation and the Muslim journey ban, as does Microsoft. But he goes on to say that ICE is a “large agency” tasked with duties like preventing human trafficking. He writes that, though the corporate doesn’t know the way ICE will use its instruments, the members of the corporate management crew “recognize it could be used in projects that support policies we both agree and disagree with.”
Friedman says the corporate makes a distinction between offering skilled providers and providing instruments. “We want software developers around the world to have the freedom to operate with a level of privacy,” he writes. “A world where developers in one country or every country are required to tell us what type of software they are creating would, in our view, undermine the fundamental rights of software developers.”
Friedman describes the $200,000 ICE contract as “not financially material” and says within the e mail that GitHub will donate $500,000 to nonprofits that assist immigrant communities affected by Trump administration insurance policies.
After the e-mail was leaked, GitHub posted the full text in a weblog submit Wednesday morning. “At GitHub, we believe in empowering developers around the world,” Friedman writes in a observe. “We also believe in basic human rights and treating people with respect and dignity.”
Providing software program to ICE has develop into a flashpoint within the tech business, as workers query how their work contributions can be utilized by the United States authorities. Hundreds of GitHub coders have signed on to a petition calling on Microsoft to cease offering providers to ICE or they may “take our projects elsewhere.”
Update, 10:40 AM ET: Includes weblog submit from GitHub with full textual content of the leaked e mail.