Tech talent balks at government work, by Ali Breland

Almost everything governments do is immoral, so the reluctance to work on government projects is understandable. There are still some honest people left in the world. From Ali Breland at thehill.com:

Workers at Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies are increasingly questioning their employers on the ethics of their work, in some cases leaving jobs and publicly rejecting recruiting offers to make a stand.

The pushback comes as tech companies have expanded into controversial projects, taking big-dollar contracts to provide services to the government and military. That work touches on a range of contentious issues from surveillance, intelligence and data collection to military weaponry.

The highly public protests are raising worries that the industry’s business dealings with government could make it harder to recruit and keep top talent.

In one high-profile example, Matt Meshulam, a software engineer based in Chicago, received an email from an Amazon recruiter in August. But instead of setting up a time to speak, he sent back a quick note explaining why he had no interest in working at the tech behemoth.

“I am not willing to consider opportunities with Amazon as long as it sells facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, and enables ICE’s separation of immigrant families by providing technology to Palantir,” he wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Meshulam even shared parts of his letter on Twitter.

Meshulam is one of a number of engineers who have publicly turned down recruiters from high-profile tech companies under the hashtag #TechWontBuildIt.

Their reasons range from corporate efforts to thwart unionization, such as Tesla, to concerns over Facebook’s data privacy practices.

 

 

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