In an open letter from Microsoft employees to senior leadership a call for technological integrity was called. The letter called out Microsoft for enabling ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in the separation of immigrant families. Based on the New York Times article titled ‘Zero Tolerance’ Roils the Workplace Microsoft has leveraged facial recognition, artificial intelligence to help ICE identify immigrants.
This issue brings to light a few critical issues as it relates to technology. The first is what should technology be used for? There are companies using drones for illegal surveillance and loss of life. The secondary issue is company vision. What path should a company choose when profits conflict with the company promise. Every company has made promises to its employees at the time of hire. One of Microsoft’s hallmark values is corporate social responsibility. The firm even goes as far as to specify “human rights” on it’s website. This is an opportunity for the organization to stand behind the priceless honor of integrity. A stance like this is never easy but critical to demonstrate true character.
The breakdown of a home will inevitably lead to the further decomposition of society. Microsoft is faced with a decision. Profits or values. Return on investment or integrity. The manner in which the tech giant responds will reveal its true commitments. Quite often actions speak louder than words.