More than 1,200 software engineers and tech workers from a veritable
who’s who of the tech world have signed an on-line pledge not to
participate or help any Donald Trump administration initiative to design
or build a proposed database to track people in the US based on their
race, religion or national origin.
|Pres. Donald Trump|
Signatories have come from within
a wide range of companies, including, Google, IBM, Twitter, Mozilla and
NVIDIA, Facebook and Twitter. Readers should note that these are
individuals working in these companies and do not represent the firms
The pledge came in an open letter published on Neveragain.tech
website, where the workers criticized the president-elect for campaign
commitments and comments he made while trying to gain as many votes as
One of the most xenophobically minded promises Trump made while
campaigning was the one that preyed on the mostly unfounded fears of
deep within certain layers of the US population; specifically the one
where Trump called for the creation of a registry system to track Muslims in the US.
“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 letter reads. “We 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 letter goes on to clarify that
it recognizes the role that technology has had in aiding horrendous
abuses of human rights abuses in the past. It highlights the fact that
IBM had worked with Nazi Germany. The pledge also includes a commitment
for the signatories to engage in whistle-blowing if necessary.
“We recognize that mass deportations precipitated the
very atrocity the word genocide was created to describe: the murder of
1.5 million Armenians in Turkey,” the pledge continues. “We
acknowledge that genocides are not merely a relic of the distant past –
among others, Tutsi Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims have been victims in
our lifetimes. Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and
However, it is yet, unclear as to whether Donald Trump’s incoming government will ask the tech sector to build such databases, or even attempt to ban Muslims from entering the US.
In the weeks following Trump’s victory, the president-elect has
started backtracking from some of the wilder promises and statements he
made while campaigning.
While the Trump website still calls for “total and complete shutdown
of Muslims entering the United States,” his wall across the US-Mexico
border may now be partly fenced, and he no longer is shouting for
Hillary Clinton to be ‘locked up,’ and the keys thrown away, as he was
vocally advocating less than two months ago.