Religion

Tech Workers Pledge To Resist Trump's Muslim Registry

| by Robert Fowler

A collection of prominent engineers, designers and business executives of major Silicon Valley companies have pledged to resist President-elect Donald Trump's potential Muslim registry. The group has announced that they will advocate against any data collection that could help make such a registry possible.

On Dec. 13, a group of nearly 60 tech employees released a signed pledge asserting their refusal to cooperate with a Trump administration on using data collection to register Muslims and deport undocumented immigrants, BuzzFeed reports.

Posted on NeverAgain.tech, the pledge stated that the signatories will "refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable."

The group cited technology company IBM's cooperation with the Nazi regime during the Holocaust as an example for their concerns. If the Trump administration followed through on the president-elect's previous calls for a registry, they would likely seek the help of Silicon Valley companies, who already have a trove of data on Americans.

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The Never Again pledge was organized by former Google software engineer Ka-Ping Yee and security engineering manager Leigh Honeywell of Slack.

"What's important to me is that individuals who care about the ethical use of technology can step forward, show how many of us there are, and say that there are lines we will not cross," Yee said.

The pledge's signatories have committed to refusing to participate in a discriminatory registry and to advocate within their companies the scaling back of any data collection that could be used to create such a registry in the future.

The signatories added that if they discover that their companies are collaborating with the Trump administration on such a registry, they will work to disrupt the effort. If they exhaust all of their options and have no further recourse, they will simply resign.

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The Never Again pledge arrives after the majority of major data collection companies have remained silent on whether or not they would help the Trump administration construct a Muslim registry.

As of Dec. 2, only Twitter had offered an answer to that question, stating that they would refuse to cooperate. Other companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Booz Allen Hamilton have declined to comment, The Intercept reports.

On Dec. 14, Trump will meet with some of the most high-profile leaders of tech industry in Manhattan. The summit will be attended by Silicon Valley titans such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Recode reports.

One source familiar with the meeting has indicated that the majority of these tech leaders, many of them having supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, are not enthused about meeting with the president-elect but are compelled by precedent.

"Everyone in tech just wants to be invisible right now when it comes to this administration, but has to participate since we have done it before," the source said.

Sources: BuzzFeed, The Intercept, Recode / Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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