Neveragain.Tech


(From Neveragain.Tech)

Our pledge

We, the undersigned, are employees of tech organizations and companies based in the United States. We are engineers, designers, business executives, and others whose jobs include managing or processing data about people. 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. 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.

We have educated ourselves on the history of threats like these, and on the roles that technology and technologists played in carrying them out. We see how IBM collaborated to digitize and streamline the Holocaust, contributing to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others. We recall the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. 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. 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 never again.

We commit to the following actions:

  • We refuse to participate in the creation of databases of identifying information for the United States government to target individuals based on race, religion, or national origin.
  • We will advocate within our organizations:
    • to minimize the collection and retention of data that would facilitate ethnic or religious targeting.
    • to scale back existing datasets with unnecessary racial, ethnic, and national origin data.
    • to responsibly destroy high-risk datasets and backups.
    • to implement security and privacy best practices, in particular, for end-to-end encryption to be the default wherever possible.
    • to demand appropriate legal process should the government request that we turn over user data collected by our organization, even in small amounts.
  • If we discover misuse of data that we consider illegal or unethical in our organizations:
    • We will work with our colleagues and leaders to correct it.
    • If we cannot stop these practices, we will exercise our rights and responsibilities to speak out publicly and engage in responsible whistleblowing without endangering users.
    • If we have the authority to do so, we will use all available legal defenses to stop these practices.
    • If we do not have such authority, and our organizations force us to engage in such misuse, we will resign from our positions rather than comply.
  • We will raise awareness and ask critical questions about the responsible and fair use of data and algorithms beyond our organization and our industry.

Learn more

Learn more about the pledge or read more resources.

Comments

  1. says

    I would add:
    Leak
    Leak
    Leak
    Leak

    If any government tries to do this sort of thing in secret, we will wait until the most opportune time and leak information about what is being done, how, and by whom. McCarthy’s famous little list was secret. Yours won’t be.

  2. anat says

    Marcus, doesn’t the government already have the information about race and national origin? Race is in census data. Any immigrant creates a paper (and digital) trail whenever they change status. What the government may not have in a trivial manner is national origin of the parents of a US-born person.

    Other things I don’t think the government has in a trivial manner is information about religion, and information about specific ethnic groups coming from various countries.

  3. Jessie Harban says

    Yeah, good luck with that.

    It’s not the 1930s anymore; digitizing and streamlining a genocide no longer requires a purpose-built machine that people can refuse to make. We’re surrounded by general-purpose computers that are capable of streamlining genocide just as well as organizing protests against it, and the government has already acquired massive amounts of data which most people were OK with on the assumption that innocent people had nothing to fear.

    @Marcus Ranum:

    I would add:
    Leak
    Leak
    Leak
    Leak

    We’ve already tried that. People leak information proving flagrantly illegal conduct on the part of the US government, whether it be torturing political prisoners or knowingly assassinating journalists. What happens? The leaker gets tortured; the criminals face no consequences; the average American basically ignores it entirely.

    Given the extent to which whistleblowers were persecuted under Obama and the complete non-reaction by the public, why on Earth would anyone consider leaking evidence of Trump’s crimes?

  4. says

    anat@#2:
    It has a great deal of information. Things get interesting if they try to use it.

    I think the “neveragain.tech” guys’ heart is in the right place, but they are not radical or extreme enough. I posted it because others might be interested. I support their general idea but not their methods.

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