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Amazon, Microsoft workers sign "never again" pledge to oppose Trump"s call for Muslim registry

[ December 16, 2016 ] Houston: Some employees of Microsoft and Amazon.Com have joined their peers in Silicon Valley in pledging to never help US President-elect Donald Trump in his reported plan to register and create a database of all Muslim immigrants. A group of Silicon Valley technologists, engineers, designers and executives have co-signed an online pledge stating that they will refuse to participate in data collection that can be used to discriminate against Muslims in America. The "never again" pledge, which has drawn more than 1,300 signatures as of Thursday, invokes a history of genocides carried out, at times, with the cooperation of businesses in identifying victims, the Seattle Times reported. The signatories said they would "refuse to participate in the creation of databases of identifying information for the United States government to target individuals based on race, religion, or national origin." The open letter is a response to the election of Donald Trump, and particularly his campaign-season call for a mandatory registry of Muslims living in the US. In addition to dozens of people who identify themselves as employees of Microsoft or Amazon, signatories include employees of Google, Apple, IBM, Oracle, and a slate of other technology firms. Silicon Valley workers who signed the pledge promised to fight back or resign from their positions if their employers force them to conduct surveillance on minority communities or invade their constitutional rights to privacy. They also vow to ask their companies to minimise data collection and retention that could potentially be used to target minority communities. "We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration"s proposed data collection policies," the pledge states. The pledge was released on Tuesday, one day before technology industry executive meeting of the high-ranking Silicon Valley executives like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Larry Page. The leadership of most of those companies has been silent on the petition and the issues around it. Facebook, which gathers a trove of personal information about its users in the service of selling targeted advertising, on Wednesday said in a statement that no one had asked the company to build a Muslim registry, "and of course we would not do so." In a statement, Microsoft yesterday said the company has "been clear about our values. We oppose discrimination and we wouldn?t do any work to build of a registry of Muslim Americans." During his campaign, President-elect Trump proposed building a database of Muslims in the US. He later emphasised plans to look into deporting millions of illegal immigrants.
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