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GitHub and US Government Developers (github.blog)
155 points by sabas_ge 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 133 comments

This is a measured and well-thought out response. I'm not really sure where the detractors of Github here think the "cancelling" should stop. Should everybody start building additional backdoors in their software that shuts it down if it detects some sort of "bad" thing is being created, or possibly hook it up to a Twitter feed and shut down if people are saying bad things about the software operator?

Github emphasized that they don't know what is being done with the on-premises, firewalled software they sold to ICE. What about the guy delivering pizza to ICE headquarters -- is he cancelled too? He doesn't know if the "must separate the children at the border" team or the "let's arrest the leaders of this slave trafficking ring" is eating the pizza.

At least to me, some of the other protests in regards to ICE have been even more obviously incoherent, like the demand for Wayfair to stop selling clean beds for detained people to sleep in.

There is a very good argument that any software ICE could potentially be using should be open source and subejct to public scrutiny. I wonder how far a FOIA request would go here, now that this headline has highlighted the existence of said hush hush source code.

This recently introduced legislation proposes to ensure some level of transparency in the specific context of algorithms used to process evidence used in criminal proceedings:

H.R.4368 - Justice in Forensic Algorithms Act of 2019

To prohibit the use of trade secrets privileges to prevent defense access to evidence in criminal proceedings, provide for the establishment of Computational Forensic Algorithm Standards, and for other purposes.


>Should everybody start building additional backdoors in their software that shuts it down if it detects some sort of "bad" thing is being created, or possibly hook it up to a Twitter feed and shut down if people are saying bad things about the software operator?

Why does there have to be a hard-and-fast trigger? Take it on a case by case basis, motivated by the values of the people who care.

This technocratic reflex where everything in society must be dehumanized and automated (how come CFOs haven't been yet?) or otherwise algorithmatized is very "what a lazy person thinks a smart person is like."

The pizza guy is not going to get...cancelled (are you trying to make the term meaningless?), but any pizza place that advertises that they don't serve racist jackboots will get my phone call and dollars.

Do you think the government shouldn't have to think about and account for the optics and politics of their needs? Declining to supply concentration camps is an honorable reduction in one's own financial situation as a private citizen, which may not be an intelligible ethic for you and thus appear "incoherent," but at the end of the day it's perfectly reasonable to tell ICE to suck it and deal with the problems they themselves created for themselves. It's not the nation's job nor responsibility to help them steal and kill children, among other things.

And they can write their own software, too. That's what taxes are for, when they are allowed to exist.

This is do nothing social signaling from a neutered Github. Enjoy the money, hubbers.

> This is a measured and well-thought out response.

No, it's a repulsive hypocritical corporate PR that tries to justify putting profits over people suffering.

We need total non-cooperation with ICE. No one should even deliver a pizza for them. They are the American gestapo. They put people in concentration camps (there have been deaths!) and tear families apart. They use sneaky tactics to kidnap people, even people who have been here most of their lives and then deport them to places they have never known.

This one story alone is chilling:

"Diabetic Man Dies After Being Deported To Iraq: ACLU Jimmy Aldaoud reportedly came to the U.S. as a baby and didn’t speak Arabic. He died after he was unable to get insulin, his family says."


> They are the American gestapo.

They're really not. It is possible to not like (some of) what ICE does and also recognize that they are not rounding up a lawless autocrat's political enemies for torture, indefinite imprisonment and execution.

Is the nebulous idea of "illegal aliens" (often the people in ICE facilities are legally applying for asylum) not political enemies here? And is the separation of families, including death of people in ICE custody and the "losing" of children, with no information on how long any individual will be kept under ICE custody, not altogether even remotely matching this idea you depict?

If ICE were rounding up Democrats now (or Republicans under Obama) that would be "political enemies". ICE is doing no such thing. Part of its mission is enforcing US immigration laws, and it's doing that in a manner that's largely consistent with what our democratically enacted laws say it can and should do. You don't have to like it (I certainly don't) but it's not in any way analogous to the Gestapo.

Whether or not their actions are consistent with our laws, and whether or not they are similar to the gestapo is orthogonal to the morality of their actions, and the morality of knowingly dealing with them. That's the real question to be asked.

I think there is a distinction between illegal immigrants (people who are not in the country legally as citizens or on a visa, regardless of country of origin) and asylum seekers. One has support of legislation (asylum seekers), the other does not (without disregarding the idea of national sovereignty; this thread should not be where the merits of borders and sovereignty is debated though). Regardless, everyone in ICE custody should be treated humanely and with dignity.

That's why I'm making the quote "illegal aliens". The majority of people who are in ICE custody are, as far as I understand, legal asylum seekers. However, they're depicted as illegal.

https://www.ice.gov/detention-management#tab2 appears to be a canonical statistics data source, although I admit it will take me more than a cursory glance to have an understanding of the data, and I don't want to make a statement that isn't accurate due to not having a full understanding of said data.

Indefinite imprisonment is ICEs mainstay.

I do not see how one could not characterize undocumented immigrants as being the scapegoat of the woes of the currently empowered right-wing political movement. The conditions have been bad and are ratcheting up. Don't be blind to the atrocities that are already happening just because they aren't performing mass executions yet.

The immigration police are filled with racists, killers, and white nationalists. This CBP agent was literally a serial killer:


CBP != ICE. I'm very wary of this recent push to vilify anyone who enforces immigration laws or the integrity of our borders. It seems to be a very emotional, knee-jerk reaction that completely ignores the inevitably serious consequences that would result from lack of border and immigration enforcement.

CBP != ICE, but CBP and ICE are components of a single system. An engineer should appreciate that.

Our democracy has enacted laws that ICE is tasked with enforcing. ICE agents are not really the bad guys here for following those laws -- the American voting public is the problem. Your (and my) representatives made this possible, and continue to allow it, because you (and I) have not made it a priority when we vote.

No one in Nazi Germany could vote to rein in the Gestapo, and the Gestapo did not follow anything resembling fairly applied laws. ICE targets a well-defined legal category of people and follows well-defined legal processes. The Gestapo could arrest almost anyone for any reason and mistreat them however it pleased with impunity. That is obviously untrue of ICE, which cannot tomorrow kidnap Joe Biden.

"Just following orders (to "kidnap" and indefinitely contain people in prison camps)" is not a valid defense

With separation of power between law enforcement and legislative branches of government, it is indeed the job of the law enforcement officers to enforce laws even they do not agree with. Of course, there is a threshold beyond which anyone in deep moral disagreement with a policy can and should protest in a variety of civil ways (including quitting such law enforcement jobs), and this is a normal part of how the checks-and-balances of power works.

But you must acknowledge that there are many who do not fundamentally disagree with the underlying laws, at least not to a magnitude such that they believe it is worth protesting. And as such, we have officers who enforce those laws, who have not (at this time) quit their roles.

Therefore, to the extent that one believes this form of government with checks and balances yields more humane results (on average, over time) than one which merges legislative/judiciary/executive power, and to the extent that you acknowledge legitimate moral opinions exist that are different from your own, it definitely can be argued that it's moral to continue enforcing laws you do not personally agree with -- up to a point.

The question is, what is the breaking point where a law enforcement officer protests against a horrible law by refusing to enforce it, quits, or otherwise?

Take almost any politically divisive issue, and you will find there's not a very easy answer here -- especially because each person will have a slightly different moral opinion on the matter.

> Should everybody start building additional backdoors in their software that shuts it down if it detects some sort of "bad" software is being created, or possibly hook it up to a Twitter feed and shut down if people are saying bad things about the software operator?

No, I think changing license terms to "won't be used by a company which separates families or violates international human rights laws," and not renewing the contract is fine enough.

> Github emphasized that they don't know what is being done with the on-premises, firewalled software they sold to ICE.

You don't have to know what ICE is doing with your software to know what they're doing more generally.

> What about the guy delivering pizza to ICE headquarters -- is he cancelled too? He doesn't know if the "must separate the children at the border" team or the "let's arrest the leaders of this slave trafficking ring" is eating the pizza.

"Cancelling" isn't a real thing, not distinct from "public opinion," anyway. If people want to direct ire to pizza delivery employees they can, but they're not, so I don't know why you're making this comparison.

> At least to me, some of the other protests in regards to ICE have been even more obviously incoherent, like the demand for Wayfair to stop selling clean beds for detained people to sleep in.

Any endeavor with lots of actors won't be entirely coherent, unified, or consistent. Some people think that Wayfair making profits on selling beds for prisons isn't some great altruism on Wayfair's part, and ICE would have a harder time building prisons if there weren't so many people eager to supply them; I don't know how much I'm on board with that as an effective protest, but I can at least understand it.

> No, I think changing license terms to "won't be used by a company which separates families or violates international human rights laws," and not renewing the contract is fine enough.

Good thing for ICE they can still use all FOSS.

> You don't have to know what ICE is doing with your software to know what they're doing more generally.

Yes, they're enforcing the laws currently on the books.

Those laws were created by our elected officials. The elected officials were selected by us, the people. In fact, if we want those laws changed we can elect new officials or compel our existing ones to make the changes we'd like to see.

There's plenty of people that disagree with our current immigration laws, our drug laws, our tax laws, our gun laws, our marriage laws, our healthcare laws, and just about any other part of our system. But if we as a society do not have a unified acceptance for the rule of law then things get ugly. Fast.

I'm convinced this whole "shaming" and "canceling" thing has become the public action method of choice not because the ideas being proposed are popular (they're not), but because they see bullying corporations and their potential customers as easier than trying to convince the public on the inherent value of their ideas. They're just loud voices in for another rude awakening after the public makes their picks next year behind the ballot curtain.

>No, I think changing license terms to "won't be used by a company which separates families

So, Child Protective Services shouldn't be allowed to license GitHub either?

Edit: I know this isn't what you meant. But such obvious clarity issues are a sign that there are many more subtle issues that limit articulation of your position and prevent engaging in a productive conversation over the internet.

You're making an excellent point that I think people are misunderstanding, unfortunately:

Let's say github's goal was to define license terms such that ICE is banned, but not other legitimate companies that do a lot of good for the world.

It would be great if solving this was as easy as saying "you can only use this if you never aim to separate children from their families", but it's not, because such a term would also require you to boycott Child Protective Services -- which can and does save children victims from horribly abusive parents and other terrible circumstances.

I've personally known people who were repeatedly raped by a family member throughout their early childhood. This is incredibly, devastatingly evil. It DOES happen, and if after acknowledging this, you seriously think there is still NO circumstance in which a child should be separated from their family -- then you are a horrible human being. But I don't think any of the downvoters think this, so I am genuinely curious: Why do you really think such a simple, un-nuanced license term would work without harmful side-effects?

Note: You can't just say "we'll enforce the license terms subjectively". Selective enforcement defeats the whole point of adding it into your terms of service or licensing terms -- because then, you might as well just go back to ad-hoc boycotting as per the personal ethics of your corporation's senior leadership. Aside from that, you do have to precisely define what you mean -- precisely which scenarios are or are not tolerable to you, etc.

> NO circumstance in which a child should be separated from their family

In fact, the reason ICE separates adults from children in the first place is to fight human trafficking and child abuse: they used to keep the children with their accompanying adults (who aren’t guaranteed to be their parents, which seems to be overlooked in these arguments), but they found that the children were being assaulted by the primary adult population, so they started creating child-only facilities to combat this.

Asserting that ICE made that finding and stopped detaining children with parents together based on it is false. ICE didn't even make the decision to stop family detention, the US District Court for the Central District of California in 2015 (in a decision appealed to and upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2016), applying rules from the 1997 Flores settlement, prohibited extended detention of children with adults (and ICE continues to operate family detention facilities within the limits of that court order.) This did force separation in detention when extended, but this was actively mitigated for the remaining part of Obama’s term, IIRC, by ICE not detaining adults or their children for illegal entry alone when that would result in separation of parents from their children (they didn't stop immigration proceedings against them, just didn't detain them during the process, unless there were additional reasons.)

The real scandal here is that GitHub apparently calls their employees "Hubbers".

Cutesy names for your employees/coworkers always comes off as creepy and cult like to me. Huge red flag when choosing where to work.

Agree, it's a bit like being at school and having the teacher who wanted you to call him by his first name instead of Mr Whatever.

It's a bit David Brent/Michael Scott, probably quite well meaning but a bit off.

So every venture-backed company in SF/SV?

I agree I hate it, but there are some companies that do it more jokingly than others.

It's the same thing as giving fandoms names, pretty manipulative and creepy.

I agree - the reason why companies do this is because creating a unified culture, which this falls under, makes it easier to manage your rank-and-file.

Personally I avoid companies that talk about "culture" ad nauseam.

Personally, I agree.

I love working with other people, but NOT under those circumstances!

I don’t know, it works quite well for us here at Dickey’s

It's better than "Gits".

if I had to cherry-pick just one, that's probably not the one i'd choose. But I might need to rebase my priorities.

I shouldn't blame you, but maybe branch off to a better phrase like "the one I'd commit to."

You mean gitters? Or even go-gitters?


Hubbits, not to be confused with hobbits.

Why not just "Colleagues"?

When would a team name even be used? Just for those who don't have one yet. I'll tell you where: executive emails to allhands. So because CxO time is so valuable, everybody gets a team identity. I think Gavin de Becker wrote somehting about this.

Githubers could be a natural choice.

This internal letter was leaked last night on Twitter, via Fight for the Future. It seems putting it on the official GitHub blog is a response to that leak: https://twitter.com/evan_greer/status/1181745056698572802

Putting it on the official GitHub blog seems to violate GitHub's Privacy Policy. As much as I support GitHub's approach to dealing with ICE (and as much as I despise ICE) I have a problem with a company making the details of a customer's private transaction public. It's the government, and the government should be open and transparent, so that makes it a little easier to swallow but I still don't feel it's appropriate for GitHub to comment on a specific customer's services/total contract value.

Privacy policies generally applies to individuals, not corporations. Unless there's an NDA in place that Github can't speak about a particular customer, nothing apart from good will is preventing them.

This is a common misconception but is absolutely not true. If the scope of privacy policies were limited to natural persons then any website collecting data from a corporation would have no legal basis for doing so.

But regardless, ICE was looking to renew a contract so there was an agreement already in place and I can virtually guarantee the terms include some flavor of mutual non-disclosure.

>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.

Obama did the same crap, and here a CEO is blaming the current admin.

If this CEO had a clue about what is going on, he would realize that the PARENTS are in the wrong by bringing their kids. Thus, because of child predators they have to be separated. Obama even said so.


The sentence that you quoted cites three specific policies that this specific administration enacted ([1], [2], [3]). Trump campaigned on making two of these changes, explicitly juxtaposing them to what he considered to be the unacceptable Obama-led status quo. It is entirely rational for someone to "blame" an administration for the policy changes that they unilaterally enact. It's weird for you to be so defensive about this attribution, since you seem to agree with the changes.

It is not "the same crap" because you have decided that it is all on a spectrum of "bad things that happen to people I don't care about." That's not how reality works.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_administration_family_se...

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_travel_ban

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferred_Action_for_Childhood_...

Kudos to Github, it is so refreshing to hear a reasoned, nuanced response for once.

I guess you don't read much PR. PR is never sincere, it exists to manipulate public opinion.

How is donating $500k in response to making $200k from their sale a relevant response? Is this their way of bribing people to quiet down? Seems twisted.

As corporate responses go this one is pretty activist. Compare and contrast with other weasely statements made by other CEOs lately.

Presumably the $500,000 in donation specifically to help victims of controversial ICE practices will have significantly more beneficial impact than the $200,000 in GitHub services they'll provide will do harm. And arguably, it means they're taking a loss on this particular business to both uphold their commitment to their customers and uphold their values regarding immigration practices.

Given the level of complexity of the issue, I'd say it's at least... not a bad attempt at walking a very narrow line here.

One thing Businesses like consistency - if GitHub goes after ICE, then why not IRS or FBI or any other private organization - every Org is one controversy away from to be deemed persona non grata.

Its not about ICE with GitHub, what they are doing is worth mulitple millions in future earnings. So good move CEO - the question is how much the WOKE nation is going to eat this PR CAKE.

Thanks for explaining why corporate responsibility and the notion of voting with your wallet in capitalism are bullshit.

Corporations care about being consistent with the status quo. Nothing more, nothing less. Now get these PR clowns out of my pride marches.

I think it's a way of demonstrating that they don't care about the money in this situation and the decision was guided entirely by what they felt was right. Donating $500k instead of 200 was a bit weird, but I guess it's going to a cause that fights the primary department of ICE that people tend to object to, so it might be a way to demonstrate that they truly believe what they're saying

I thought the same thing as well and am confused as to why you're getting downvoted.

I have run into anti-principle based sentiment in the comments sections recently.

Some people will inevitably accuse them of doing it for the money, and this is their way of demonstrating that it's not that. There are policy issues.

Which, indirectly, do involve money, but that's true of everything.

Why is this just now being called out? The current administration is doing the same as the Obama administration.

Because the scale of the operation and public awareness have both increased after a president got elected on a platform of curbing immigration and increasing deportations. More and more people have become aware. It was bad when the Obama administration did it, and it is worse now.

Are the deaths of child detainees linear? Are the days children spend in detention linear? Are the separations from parents linear? Is the explicit targeting of long-time residents with no criminal history linear?

Why is it important for you to dismiss changes that the current administration explicitly campaigned to enact, and that is clearly manifest? Does it make you feel better about not trying to change anything for the better?

I'm not dismissing anything, I think you made a lot of assumptions based on me dropping a link. The post I responded to indicated that this issue has gotten much worse with the current administration, which isn't true. I think if we're going to fix the issue, we need to be honest about the issue.

Um, because under Obama ICE wasn’t putting kids in cages? Because it wasn’t withholding bedding? It wasn’t separating families and then “accidentally” losing track of the children? Children weren’t dying while in jail away from their parents? They weren’t denied food and clean water?

Should I go on?

Note that according to Snopes, Obama's ICE was putting kids in cages.


> it wasn’t withholding bedding?

They actually tried to buy extra beds and one of the “do no business with ICE” companies refused to sell to them, so they ended up with fewer beds: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/26/wayfair-draws-backlash-calls...


I didn't say not providing bedding, I said removing existing bedding. Because ICE believes in collective punishment of children, and considers removing bedding to be acceptable. [1,2]

Here's a question for pro-ICE people: if another country started rounding up and separating American families, then lost track of the children, would you support those actions as well? Or does it only apply to people with the wrong skin color?

[1] https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/inside-a-texas-buildi... [2] https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1142540367797116929

The Obama admin did exactly what this administration has done. You just didn't care because of identity politics.

Did the Obama admin imprison legal asylum seekers and separate them from their kids, and then lose track of said kids?

People who illegally cross the border are not legal asylum seekers. Those who do so with children they are trafficking are even more of an issue, and you know this is happening.

It sounds like your answer is "no, but I actually approve of the new cruelty"

No, the answer is I don’t approve of silly hyperbole that only exists because you don’t like the current head of state. Where were you when the last administration was doing the exact same thing? You didn’t care then, because you liked that administration. If you were intellectually honest you’d have protested then rather than waiting for your handlers to tell you it was time to make noise.

DarmokJalad1701 pointed out specific new behavior that this administration enacted as official policy, and you then justified it.

We agree that you don't approve of ~silly hyperbole~ other people having convictions, but you made it very clear that you _do_ approve of family separations, but don't think that anybody should be criticized for it if other bad things ever happened before.

As for "[my] handlers telling [me] it was time to make noise," who is really bringing the silly hyperbole? What is even the conspiracy here? Are we all in the back pocket of big-Gitlab or something?

I didn't "justify" anything. I said that your hyperbole is hyperbole, and you didn't care when the politicians you liked were in charge, which suggests you really don't care at all and are simply part of the outrage machine that spins up when someone tells them to.

If you had convictions, you'd have had them when the last administration was doing this. You didn't then, you don't now.

BTW, the "specific examples" you talk about are not accurate. You're quoting talking points. People who cross the border illegally and then pretend to be "asylum seekers" when they get caught are not "legal asylum seekers", they have committed a crime. Nobody is arresting people who legally present to a border crossing and request asylum, because they haven't committed a crime to be arrested for.

Shorter you

a. I don't justify this

b. I know you didn't care about government-sponsored child abuse before Trump, because your protest (to the thing that had yet to happen) wasn't in my news feed

c. btw, here are my justifications for why they had to do the child abuse

Still didn't get it right.

The Trump administration didn't change anything. News agencies have used footage showing the Obama administration doing what you call "child abuse" and pretending it was the Trump administration.

No one has justified child abuse. When someone commits a crime and has a child with them, the two are necessarily not going to be hanging out in a cell together -- especially when it's possible the crime is trafficking that child. That's just not how it works.

OK, so when

- a DHS official in March 2017 floated a policy of family separation and said that "we are trying to find ways to deter the use of children in illegal immigration." [1] - Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors "to adopt immediately a zero-tolerance policy for all offenses" related to the misdemeanor of improper entry into the United States [2] - John Kelly justified the new policy by saying "The children will be taken care of—put into foster care or whatever." [3]

and subsequently more than 2000 children, some as young as 12 months old, were separated from their parents,

That was all a liberal smokescreen. They weren't changing anything! Actually, this was always Obama's policy, DHS and DOJ just waited to enact it until after he left office and the guy who campaigned against his record just happened to be around when those separations actually occurred. And all of those political appointees saying that they were changing things were just deep state plants.

> The Trump administration didn't change anything

They told us they would do new things, many times, and then they did the things. It is really bizarre that fervent Trump supporters like yourself are so shy about taking credit for MAGA. He's delivering on his core promises! Why are you so insistent on giving credit to the usurper that came before?

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/03/politics/dhs-children-adults-... [2] https://www.voanews.com/usa/sessions-announces-zero-toleranc... [3] https://www.npr.org/2018/05/11/610116389/transcript-white-ho...

That is untrue, and you're saying that in a thread with references refuting your claim.

Fuck your alternative facts.

Even Snopes says it's true.

No, they said one aspect was true. Not the same thing.

It’s true and you know it. You just don’t want to believe it.

poorly titled Press Release, GitHub isn't making any friends by lumping all US Gov developers into the ICE bucket

I agree. Why is the title targeted at all US Government developers?

I feel like this press release is also trying to create political drama where none is needed. GitHub is used by good people and bad people, just like anything is. I'm a long time GitHub user, but this press release is disappointing.

>Why is the title targeted at all US Government developers?

As dumb as you might think people in government are, they're not so dumb as to believe a decision could be made in a way that only applies to ICE.

They can see the abstract case at hand is a disagreement with federal policy. ICE was created by the federal government and tasked with (among other things) carrying out a controversial policy.

Even if GitHub didn't vocalize it explicitly -- or went further and stated that the decision applied only to ICE -- every federal agency is still listening to see if their business relationship with github will be shaped by public opinion towards the job the legislature tells them to do.

They are simply hedging for the future by signaling that future decisions regarding other US Government developers will likely be consistent with this one, but without making that specific claim so overtly.

Well done. This is the best response.

They say that $200k doesn't make a difference to their bottom line, then come up with this convoluted argument for taking it anyway. Disappointed.

But they are donating more than twice that. This seems like a pretty empty criticism.

It's not. Donating to help lawyers and humanitarian orgs clean up the mess your company is enabling this agency to create isn't the same as refusing to cooperate with them in the first place.

The "between the lines" message they're sending is that they're staying at the top of a slippery slope.

Neo-classical fantasy of being politically neutral and consistent with your own rules, even if said rules never envisioned a customer being a state-sanctioned criminal.

One that only people bathing in privilege can indulge in.

A very reasoned and balanced response by Nat. And interesting that they are making a larger-than-revenue-received donation to causes that offset the evils of ICE.

My response would have been: immediately push a ToS change + update to enterprise server so that it leaks all of ICE's code under MIT license (this would be mandated in the ToS change). Time it so the code is already public before they have time to react. Fuck ICE. I'd honestly throw away my career and all of GitHub's enterprise revenue to screw these guys over.

Get virtue signaling out of software communities.

>noun: virtue signalling

>the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.

By definition this isn't virtue signalling, GitHub is putting $300k of their own money where their mouth is.

This is virtue signalling according the very definition you provided. Just because they are also backing it up with money does not make not virtue signalling.

I'm simply tired of having politics injected into technology and software companies whose own software is itself apolitical.

They aren't solely expressing opinions though. They are backing it up with action. You may doubt their sincerity but that alone qualifies it as more than virtue signalling.

Virtue signaling doesn't mean solely expressing opinions...

I don't doubt their sincerity at all. I believe that companies selling apolitical software services should not care about policing what customers use their software. We are talking about software that tracks changes of software, not facial recognition or drone firmware. Obviously, Github believes otherwise.

What is virtue signaling?

Originally, disingenuous words and actions intended to build rapport with people of a particular ideological persuasion. Nowadays, nothing, in the same sense that quantum foam is nothing.

You know how virtually all American politicians end their speeches with 'and God bless America'? That's a great example of virtue signalling. It doesn't really add anything of substance to the conversation, but does convey that 'I believe in God too', which is presumably a good thing to the electorate.

When people on the left say things that people on the right dislike.

Serious answer: there's a theory that some people say things just to impress their friends of the same ideological stripes (although the charge is usually leveled against those on the left), rather than actually placing much importance on those things.

For instance, the github people opposed to the ICE contract are just doing it to "look good" in the eyes of their peers rather than actually, say, caring about kids locked up in cages and the other nasty things that an unleashed ICE is doing.

I think it's mostly a BS theory.

Virtue signaling is one of those weird alt-righty/Jordan Peterson terms I here a lot.

It seems to be thrown around a lot, even when people are putting their money where their mouth is.

If Github really cared about this then they should have forbidden the selling of the contract in the first place. The Trump admin's policy has been the US's policy for the last 20+ years.

Anything less than total non-cooperation is finding a way to facilitate ICE, the USG, and their massive criminal acts against humanity.

I don't remember people outraged when companies worked with ICE when Obama was president. Obama did the same thing as Trump is doing. It feels so fake to me.

I wasn't as aware of what was going on then. It has gotten worse under Trump, but Obama deserves searing criticism. Also, my views have become less partisan over time (in that I think both parties are bad to the bone).

Has the percentage of people sent to facilities increased under Trump? As far as I can tell it hasn't. There are more people trying to cross the border under Trump than Obama so there is probably a larger number of people in ICE facilities, but that wouldn't really be a fair criticism of Trump.


Satya Nadella is the non-white immigrant CEO of Microsoft.


4 white man. 4 white woman. One non-white man.

We've banned this account for trolling.

Please don't create accounts to break HN's site guidelines with.


thats just crazy talk

Tldr: we're not going to sever ties with ICE.

Tldr: we're not going to sever ties with ICE, because we recognize it could be used in projects that support policies we both agree and disagree with, such as human trafficking, child exploitation, terrorism and transnational crime, gang violence, money laundering, intellectual property theft, and cybercrime.

Mine is shorter.

And your statement misses a ton of context as well...

That's the point of a tl;dr!

And misleading

Seems like the attempt to fix this (donating $500k) isn't going to work. So they've lost that money from the donation, I wonder how more they'll lose from people dropping them over this and from employees quitting. Seems like that $200k isn't worth it, I wonder why they don't just drop ICE or say they won't allow them to renew in the future.

The chances that actions by those who would boycott Microsoft or Github over ICE would inflict financial pain or negative PR worthy of changing business practices is so close to zero, we can round down for the sake of argument to zero. They are a trillion dollar company.

Then why donate $500k? Why'd Chef choose to drop ICE? Why all this damage control if they aren't scared of losing money?

Path of least resistance. The Outrage Machine has already moved on from Chef. This will blow over in a week or two as well.

Anyone stop using or working at Uber, Slack, or WeWork [1] because of Saudi (and the human rights atrocities that go along with it [2]) money flowing into it via Softbank Vision? Not enough to matter if so. Everyone works at a company where one of their customers or investors is an evil monster, and if that customer is worth enough revenue or that investor worth enough investment, they're going to get a pass. No amount of Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit shaming is going to change that.

If you don't want kids locked up in cages in ICE facilities (and I think it's pretty clear none of us want people of any sort treated inhumanely), show up and protest at facilities. Vote for decent politicians. Run for office. Donate to candidates who align with your beliefs. But don't pat yourself on the back with the assumption virtue theater like preventing a few hundred thousand in government spend matters. It's a whole lot of effort on everyone's part for not a lot of progress. In the same time everyone has been discussing this in thread, that's a lot of calls to congresspeople that could've been made.

TLDR I strongly encourage citizens to get involved in actions that matter. These actions do nothing.

[1] https://visionfund.com/portfolio

[2] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/saudi...

I personally don't use either Uber or Lyft because of the Saudi money going into them. Same with:

Tesla, ARM, NVIDIA, WeWork, Mapbox, General Motors, Fanatics, DoorDash, and others

I'd drop Slack too if I could, but tech companies tend to mandate it.

I also stay away from companies with Chinese Beijing ownership, since Chinese Beijing isn't really any better on human rights than Saudi Arabia is. Just a few of them include:

Tencent (Riot Games, Epic Games), Blizzard, Reddit, JaGeX (Runescape), AMC, GE Appliances, Lenovo, Hoover, TikTok, and many many others

I still use my Apple devices, but I'm not buying any new ones (or any other devices manufactured in Chinese Beijing) until their production is out of Chinese Beijing and into more responsible countries like the Republic of China, India, EU nations, or America.

I have nothing against the Chinese people or the Saudi people, but their fascist governments need to be overthrown.

so whats your next move? cups and string? paper and pencil?

That's an obviously false equivalence. There are plenty of ways to work effectively without relying on fascism.

This is really unfortunate. The problem isn't law enforcement per se. The problem is selective disregard for humans under pressure.

Many government organizations under current administration are deliberately hemorrhaging law enforcement or bringing in policies through internal memos (without congressional approval) to prey on the vulnerable.

I would've hoped companies like Github would take a stand and call out these unfair enforcements. Once they do that, they can then continue on to serve the contract. However, keep highlighting how your customers are using perverted interpretations of law to treat humans badly.

Bye, Github!

I'm quite sure concentration camps were originally more "wholesome" than murdering endless legions of innocent people... How on earth can you in one sentence talk about child trafficking being bad and then know that children are being abused by the same fucking institution that's supposed to protect them?

I shouldn't be shocked, but I'm kind of hurt probably from my own naivete, Github ain't any different than anywhere else-- all hail, profits before people.

Canceling my private repos later today.

> all hail, profits before people.

GitHub is net negative $300,000 after their $500k donation, so how does this have anything to do with making more money?

They are showing solidarity with the state by continuing to do business with them in the hope that there will be more business down the line or to head off the threat of intrusion into their business. The amount of money is trivial compared to the relationships they are cultivating.

They aren’t down shit, it’s a tax write off. Don’t be fooled by that line.

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