News  |    |  October 12, 2018

An Open Letter to Microsoft: Don’t Bid on the US Military’s Project JEDI

News article by Microsoft Employees.
Published in Medium. The authenticity of the following anonymous op-ed has been verified by Medium’s editorial staff.

Excerpt:

We joined Microsoft to create a positive impact on people and society, with the expectation that the technologies we build will not cause harm or human suffering. Tuesday’s blog post serves as a public declaration of Microsoft’s intent to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract — a contract that represents a $10 billion project to build cloud services for the Department of Defense. The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building. At an industry day for JEDI, DoD Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson II explained the program’s impact, saying, “We need to be very clear. This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department.”

Microsoft, don’t bid on JEDI.

Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war. When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of “empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,” not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality. For those who say that another company will simply pick up JEDI where Microsoft leaves it, we would ask workers at that company to do the same. A race to the bottom is not an ethical position. Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles. [ . . . ]