Microsoft discussed working with ICE on government cloud services in January this year publicly. It was going to be a collaboration contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Together, they were expecting to work on Azure Government enabled or ICE to process data on edge devices and utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification.
This arrangement invited sharp criticism from all quarters. On Tuesday, the company sought to allay all misgivings on the issue. The company wrote an elaborate blog post on it.
However, the post brought even more widespread condemnation to it. The reason being company’s attempt to keep the nature of its work it was doing with ICE behind curtains. It only criticized Trump administration’s decision to separate children from their parents at the borders.
Microsoft’s blog post, which says it was “proud” of the work it was doing, triggered widespread condemnation today on social media. The ICE section of the blog post was even briefly removed, which a Microsoft spokesperson said was a “mistake” made by one employee. The information has since been restored.
In a later statement, Microsoft said it was “dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,” and that it “has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents.”
However a public cry down at the matter made Microsoft issue s better statement. The revised one read, “In response to questions we want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or US Customs and Border Protection on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border, and contrary to some speculation, we are not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this purpose.”
It further added that family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II.