More than 600 tech workers from companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Mozilla, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco and more pledged not to help Donald Trump's administration build a Muslim registry.
Donald Trump has instilled fear in immigrants, threatening to implement mass deportations to "make America great again." Hundreds of people working in the technology field have now signed a "Never Again" pledge, vowing to steer clear of the Muslim registry on fears of another genocide.
'Not On Our Watch, And Never Again'
With more than 600 signatures at the time of writing, the Never Again pledge cites a history of mass deportations and genocides to which businesses sometimes contributed by helping identify victims.
The pledge points out that IBM played a part in the deaths of 6 million Jewish individuals and millions of others by collaborating to digitize and streamline the Holocaust. It also recalls the mass deportations that paved the way to the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey, as well as the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
"Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and never again."
The people who signed the petition vow not to take part in building registries to identify data that the U.S. government can use to target people based on religion, race or national origin.
At the same time, those who signed the petition also pledge to make a difference within their company, aiming to reduce data collection and retention to a minimum so it would not make it easier for the U.S. government to target individuals based on ethnic or religious criteria. Existing datasets will be altered not to include unnecessary data on ethnicity, race and national origin, while high-risk datasets and backups will be destroyed.
Signatories further vow to set best practices for privacy and security, particularly aiming to implement end-to-end encryption as default. If the U.S. government demands user data, organizations should require appropriate legal process, adds the pledge.
Lastly, signatories pledge to take steps to correct any unethical or illegal misuse of data they discover within their organizations, and act as whistleblowers should the situation demand it. Those in a leading position will go to court if necessary to halt improper practices. Those who don't have such authority, but are forced by their organizations to support misuse of data, will choose to resign rather than comply.
All signatories pledge to increase awareness and be alert to ensure data and algorithms are used responsibly, even beyond their organization and industry.
Together We Stand, Divided We Fall
People who signed the pledge vow to side in solidarity with immigrants, Muslim Americans and all individuals threatened by the Trump administration's proposed policies on data collections.
Signatories range from data processing personnel to business executives, software engineers and more, spanning across a number of U.S. companies. The pledge aims to fight the creation of discriminatory registries hoping that if employers see that their employees are unwilling to cooperate, they will not move forward with potential plans to help the government in this endeavor.