As shown with Gab and hate speech, violating Microsoft service terms can have damning operational consequences for offending parties. But when it comes to providing the same critical services and infrastructure to government agencies that are actively separating children from their family at the US border while holding them indefinitely concentration camps, Microsoft and their technology appears to be complicit in this by virtue of ignoring their own service agreement and downplaying their involvement.
While Microsoft has already taken some flack internally and externally on an ethical basis for operating as the digital communication and collaboration backbone of the agencies responsible for these acts of inhumanity, it went overlooked that these same agencies are actually violating Microsoft’s own service terms by harming children. Sure, partaking in genocide isn’t directly outlawed in Microsoft’s service agreement, but exploiting, harming, or threatening harm to children is expressly and clearly prohibited as shown above.
Despite blatantly violating these rules and every known code of ethics by intentionally harming children, Microsoft is dancing around what the UN constitutes as genocide and continues to offer critical services to ICE, CBP, and their contractors to this day. In response, Satya attempted to distance Microsoft from these agencies by insisting that they are not working on any programs specifically targeting children and that they are merely hosting legacy workloads in their cloud, but it appears that these agencies emails are being hosted on Office 365, which Microsoft does not advertise as a legacy solution by any means.
“I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border. Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads.” -Satya Nadella
“Microsoft has a long history of taking a principled approach to how we live up to our mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more with technology platforms and tools, while also standing up for our enduring values and ethics. Any engagement with any government has been and will be guided by our ethics and principles. We will continue to have this dialogue both within our company and with our stakeholders outside.”
As shown above, the MX records for ice.dhs.gov/cbp.dhs.gov point to mail.protection.outlook.com which means that ALL email sent to these domains must first pass through Microsoft. This also suggests that their email is being hosted within Exchange Online, the messaging component of Office 365 as it is extremely rare to use Microsoft for spam protection without also hosting email with them. Although I’ve argued in the past that their software suite can be equated to legacy tools, this is the first time that Microsoft, let alone Satya has agreed with me and referenced their prize pig Office 365 as legacy tooling.
Microsoft only builds products that companies are dependent on and the productivity loss created by their downtime is rivaled only by power outages and natural disasters. Anyone with a job can most likely attest to what happens to the productivity of a company when Microsoft services suddenly become unavailable, email or otherwise. Despite not working with them specifically on projects targeting children, their operation is still dependent on Microsoft solutions. As a result, Microsoft enforcing their service agreement on DHS would create such an operational catastrophe within these agencies that they couldn’t afford to not respond favorably.
While Windows does not seem to have these restrictions in its service terms, Azure and Office 365 where agency email is hosted are subject to these terms and the suspension of email alone would be amazingly frustrating on top of costing any of these agencies millions an hour in lost productivity, forcing them to comply. The jury is still out on how much of a presence they have within Azure and the impact its absence would have though.
Sure, cutting off government agencies probably wouldn’t help Microsoft’s odds of winning the coveted JEDI contract, but that shouldn’t take precedence over children being separated from their families and being kept in concentration camps in America. At present, few if any are as uniquely equipped as Microsoft is to force an appeal to reason and humanity within these agencies instead of the ignorant nationalism and resultant acts of genocide emanating from these agencies. The circumstances, conditions, and inhumane treatment that these children are enduring at this very moment most definitely qualify as harm, at least according to the ninth circuit court, and is an obvious violation of Microsoft’s service agreement as a result.
But if Microsoft provided pressure and suspended services, these agencies would most likely be left with no immediate option but to err on humanity and course correct since the costs associated with treating our guests in a civil manner are infinitesimal in comparison to the staggering costs associated with the alternatives. The agencies complicit in their treatment are operationally entrenched with Microsoft solutions as are most other government entities fortifying their ability to accomplish this. All of which means that Microsoft could cripple these agencies and their parent agencies ability to operate in their current capacity by simply enforcing their service agreement.
Although he claims to have hit refresh at Microsoft, it seems as if they Hitler’d refresh instead by pandering to the government in a manner that is eerily similar to the likes of IBM aiding Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. Unfortunately for America, Redmond can only muster 300 people ethically or technically adept enough to see the fouls against humanity in any of this.
As such, please join the few humans left at Microsoft in formally requesting that Microsoft and Satya hold ICE, CBP, their subsidiaries, and their contractors to a higher standard than Gab and suspend all service agreements between these agencies until these tired, huddled masses are reunited with their families. While Microsoft isn’t separating families or abusing children directly, not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act, and such verbiage in a service agreement of all things is little more than a marketing ploy if it isn’t being leveraged against these agencies under such dire circumstances.