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[flagged] GitHub renews $200k contract with ICE (twitter.com)
37 points by timkpaine 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments





It would be interesting to know whether people living in a country with a broken political system, for example one characterized by oligarchy[1] and two eternal parties[2], are more likely to feel that it's the duty of employer to carry their political placard.

I definitely think companies have a moral duty to spend their efforts on good things, and there are many examples of deeply immoral companies.

But any society will also have political questions where people disagree, without there being a strong good/evil aspect to it. For example 'should the tax rate be 25%' or 'how should we organize our healthy system for the lowest cost / GDP'?

Forcing every company to debate these questions internally, and kicking customers off their product for violations, seems like an inefficient system.

But I think employee demand for such things will be higher in countries where they don't feel represented via the political system.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting#Cri...


Sure, 'should the tax rate be 25%' seems like an unimportant discussion for companies to debate internally. Do you think all political questions carry similar weights of debate importance or that some questions might be different?

Yeah, surely there is some continuum, from some boring federal museum to tax rates to Guantanamo.

My main point wasn't to argue which weight this particular topic should be given.

Rather, I'm curious whether employees in countries with non-functioning governments are more likely to try to influence policy through their job?

From a European perspective it seems like this may be the case.


Oh, I understand your question now. From an European perspective, there is hardly any reason to hold our governments standards as having the moral grounds to establish what's the most efficient way to act in ethical issues like this. Perhaps relative to the USA, yes, so you could be correct that certain government's ineptitudes have a correlation with how creative people get to get heard.

Either way, the whole question of dealing with ethics from the efficiency perspectice is one that bothers me and a whole discussion in itself.


This is disappointing.

Since the $200,000 is immaterial to you, just cancel that deal entirely. You’re certainly going to lose more than that now this this letter is public.

This shouldn’t be this hard to figure out.


Why would you assume they are against ICE? Even on hackernews, ICE has its supporters.

https://github.blog/2019-10-09-github-and-us-government-deve...

> Like many Hubbers, I strongly disagree with many of the current administration’s immigration policies, including the practice of separating families at the border, the Muslim travel ban, and the efforts to dismantle the DACA program that protects people brought to the U.S. as children without documentation. The leadership team shares these views. These policies run counter to our values as a company, and to our ethics as people. We have spoken out as a company against these practices, and joined with other companies in protesting them. You can read our public statements in the Keep the Families Together Act letter, the Muslim travel ban amicus briefs, and the DACA business leaders letter of support. We also joined an amicus brief last year to protect Sanctuary Cities.

> Our parent company, Microsoft, has also publicly opposed these same policies. Microsoft is the sole business that is a direct plaintiff in the litigation that will be heard by the United States Supreme Court next month challenging the rescission of the DACA program. Microsoft has a long history of advocating for migrants and immigration law reform. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spoken passionately about his own experience as an immigrant to the United States, and how Microsoft has consistently stood up for immigration policies that preserve every person’s dignity and human rights, and advocated for change.


Sometimes principles are worth more than the money.

My general position these days is against the current administration. I don't say that as a way to start another argument but to frame what I'm about to say.

I admit that I skimmed but I does say that they're not providing professional service aandthat this is an on premise install. So... self managed, contract renewal, no assistance... This one hardly bothers me. Can't any one do the same with the (not literal) swipe of a credit card? It doesn't seem that they're doing custom work for ICE. But it's hard to decide where to draw the line here. Should we also get mad at anyone who sells them pizzas?


There is also another side to that question. If you were a pizza maker and you loved what you did, would you sell your pizza to someone who wishes you and your loved ones die? Maybe that would make you uncomfortable.

These situations are usually framed on how it bothers us, as outsiders to these companies. We tend to put outselves only in the shoes of the pizza consumers, neither the evil entity, nor the pizza maker. But these companies have workers, who put their labor into some product, only then to see that product in the hands of entities that go directly against their core values and existence. I find very understandable that they are mad. Shouldn't we also question these problems from this perspective?

When there are many employees uncomfortable with things like this, maybe it's not a necessity, but I still think it's very nice for outsiders to support them.

However that was in the case where the product is something innocuous, like pizza. Because you know, it might also be case that the product is actually enabling or helping evil to be evil. Such as "being part of the critical toolkit to conduct invasive surveillance". So getting mad could be even more substantiated in those cases.


What is the problem people have with the ICE? I think most people would agree that it is important to have a department to handle immigration, and they are deporting significantly fewer people now that during the Obama administration.

It's become a political talking point. Your idea is valid: ICE was in place during the Obama years, too. But people allow themselves to be used as pawns, so they allow themselves to be deluded into a rage about it.

ICE = Immigration & Customs Enforcement

(not Internal Combustion Engine, which was the only thing that came to my mind...)


Neither the Institution of Civil Engineers :)

Nothing wrong.

This is blood money.
trhway 13 days ago [flagged]

many wonder/discuss what would they do say in 1936 in Germany when the illegals there were come for and taken away. I'm pretty sure that the people in that article would do https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/22/us/nashville-neighbors-help-p... . Unfortunately as history shows so far the people like this are minority. The rest of us - meh ... at best.

"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."

Let alone the mother of all unrelated controversies and generic tangents.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


i think it is directly related - some people stand up to (including with a risk to themselves as one can only wonder what painful consequences may come from obstructing a federal officer), some take money from.

For some reason mentioning obvious and strong historic parallels to the Nazi Germany is considered controversial here in the US - well, i come from USSR, a country which lost close to 30M of people due to the Nazi Germany, among them millions of Slavic (my ethnicity) and Jews (both are "subhuman races" with Slavic slated for 90% extermination with the rest to be enslaved, Jews - for 100%), my grandmother was a highly decorated veteran of that war, and a number of the members of extended family fought in the war too with some getting killed, and i see no reason to forget the history. If anything, i think we have to be vigilant in discovering, highlighting and fighting today anything and everything (like the complacence and cooperation with sub-humanization of a whole class of people) that back then resulted in such a catastrophe. Identifying the historic parallels is among the main tools here.


It isn't about forgetting the history. I honor your family history that you've just described.

It's about the cheap and trivial dynamics of internet flamewar, which will flood everything if you let it and which has nothing at all to do with the noble things you're describing. Your comment upthread was guaranteed to provoke that, no matter how sincere your intention and how significant your reason for holding it.

If ever there was a case of "the medium is the message" this is it. No matter how elevated the material you put into that machine, you're going to get garbage out. We have many years of experience with this medium and others had decades of experience before us, and this experience teaches that if you throw Nazis into an arbitrary internet topic—especially one with any emotional charge, and especially if you do it quickly and glibly, as in your comment upthread—the forum will react like a chicken with its head cut off. What good or what honor does that do anyone? We need to be wiser about how we approach these things.


>quickly and glibly

and here i hoped it was short and to the point - contrasted the 2 behaviors and pointed to the context which historically shown the critical importance of that difference and its consequences. Seems to be another case when we'd perceive ourselves in one way, and the world would do it in a completely different way. Among many things on HN i find extremely valuable is that exposure to completely different, including critical, opinions/views/etc. I see your point and appreciate your detailed explanations in this case and the effort you put into your role here on HN in general.


I believe you. Short and to the point is usually a good quality for a comment to have. But in flamebait territory, the opposite is unfortunately the case—one needs to pack one's comment with enough flame retardant to disambiguate it from the cheaper sort of comment which is so much more common.

Thanks for the kind response. I appreciate it.


Please respond to trhway’s response. You’re being the generic HN person that misses historical understanding here. It’s not flamebait to be highly concerned about political developments, please try to understand.

I'm sorry, but everyone who's been around the internet for long has seen how disastrous such single-hop digressions from $very-important-topic into Naziland end up being. The guideline I quoted is written that way for good reason. It's guarding against the blight that most commonly destroys a thread.

I don't mean this personally; I'm sure that trhway is sincere. Sincerity isn't enough. The burden is on the commenter to distinguish the comment from flamebait, and when it comes to Godwin effects the bar for that on HN needs to be high. Otherwise we'll end up with the nastiest, most repetitive and stupidest of flamewar. (The GP comment failed to clear that bar. The response downthread is of course more substantive.)

I'm not denying what you say about political developments. I'm saying that such important things deserve better. There are constraints on what the medium of an internet forum can bring to them, and to maximize what's possible we must respect what is known not to work.


Are you implying that sending people from Mexico to Mexico is the same as sending them to a death camp? Mexico may not be 1st world but damn... that's a pretty harsh claim.

1. https://www.pbs.org/video/harsh-detention-1561160200/

"The Associated Press details grave conditions inside a Texas migrant detention facility where 250 infants, children and teenagers were being held without adequate food, water or sanitation during a recent visit"

2. not many knew back then that it were to become death camps, at least not at the beginning. For typical citizen back then it was presented and looked like a detention/concentration camp, and the citizens were ok with the people being taken there just on the mere basis of being some "other" people. It became death camps in the process and the populace complacence was a major factor here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camps#Pre-w...


I know your trolling since your username is literally throwaway but I’ll still bite - these facilities are for people who are fleeing the poor conditions in their countries for a better life in the USA. The poor conditions are a product of inadequate resources to deal with an influx of people not systemic desire to exterminate. Not to mention your fallacious slippery slope fallacy this is a problem all countries face when dealing with larger than baseline immigration (see Southern European countries a few years ago with Syria).



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