Microsoft Workers “Do Not Want to Become War Profiteers” Protest Company’s $480M US Army Contract

Workers at Microsoft are calling on the tech giant to cancel a $480M contract with the US army to provide them with augmented reality headsets, saying they “do not want to become war profiteers.”

“We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” reads the petition circulated inside the company, a copy has been published on Twitter. Many are warning these technologies will turn war into a video game.

More than 50 workers had signed the letter as of Friday afternoon, according to someone familiar with the letter.

The protest is the latest manifestation of a growing movement in the US technology industry. Workers at Microsoft, Google and Amazon are increasingly speaking out about the unethical ways the companies use and sell technologies developed by unwitting workers.

In addition to canceling the HoloLens AR contracts, the letter calls on Microsoft to stop working on “any and all weapons technologies.”

In June 2018, more than 100 workers signed a petition protesting against Microsoft’s contract with ICE. In October, anonymous workers wrote an open letter calling on Microsoft not to bid on military contracts for the defense department to build cloud services.

 

 

Photo: “170711-N-PO203-057” by Office of Naval Research is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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