On February 23, some Microsoft Corp employees demanded that the company cancel a $ 480 million hardware contract to supply the US Army, 94 workers signed a petition calling for the company to stop developing “each and every one of the weapons technologies. “
The organizing effort, described for Reuters at three Microsoft workers, offers the latest example in the past year of tech employees protesting cooperation with governments on emerging technologies.
Microsoft won a contract in November to supply the Army with at least 2,500 prototype augmented reality headsets, which digitally display contextual information before a user’s eyes. The government has said the devices would be used on the battlefield and in training to improve the lethality, mobility and situational awareness of soldiers.
In the petition to Microsoft executives posted on Twitter, workers said they “did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand an opinion on how our work is used.” They asked the company to develop “an acceptable public opinion.” usage policy ”for your technology and an external review board to publicly enforce it.
Microsoft said in a statement that it always appreciates feedback from employees. He also referred to an October blog post by its president, Brad Smith, in which he said the company remained committed to helping the military and would advocate for laws that ensure the responsible use of new technology.
The United States military did not provide immediate comment.
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