Tech Engineers to Trump: We Will Not Surveil Muslims

WASHINGTON – More than 200 employees and engineers in major tech companies, including Google, IBM, Slack, and Stripe, have pledged never to build a database of people based on their religious beliefs.

“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,” reads the letter, signed by a mix of engineers, designers and business executives and cited by Reuters on Wednesday, December 14.

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The signatories of the letter drew comparisons between Donald Trump’s suggested Muslim surveillance and the Holocaust and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Signing the open letter at neveragain.tech, they rebuked ideas floated by Trump during the campaign trail.

The protest, which began with about 60 signatures but had more than tripled within hours of publication, comes a day before several technology company executives are due to meet with the real-estate developer in New York City.

They also vowed to not participate in creating databases of identifying information for the US government on the basis of race, religion or national origin.

“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 read.

Trump clashed with Silicon Valley on several issues during the campaign, including immigration, government surveillance and encryption, and his victory last month alarmed many companies who feared he might follow through on his pledges.

Those concerns have not been assuaged in recent weeks, as Trump has said he intends to nominate individuals to senior posts in his administration who favor expanding surveillance programs, , and this is now being reflected in many of his nominees so far to the top security jobs.

Alphabet chief executive officer Larry Page, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook, Facebook Inc chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Amazon.com Inc CEO Jeff Bezos and Oracle Corp CEO Safra Catz are among those expected to attend the summit with Trump’s transition team, according to two technology industry sources.