Anti-ICE protestors in New York City in September targeted businesses profiting from the crisis at the border. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

GitHub employees sent a letter to their CEO on Wednesday demanding the tech company drop its recently renewed, $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing human rights concerns, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Employees from Microsoft are circulating a letter endorsing their Github subsidiary to cancel the contract after GitHub CEO Nat Friedman stood by the platform's renewal with the government agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Github is the latest company facing pressure from within for accepting government contracts for work that enforces the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Background: In an internal letter released on Tuesday, CEO Friedman said it will renew its contract with ICE to license its GitHub Enterprise Server. The platform, owned by Microsoft, hosts, shares and reviews code. Friedman also pledged Tuesday to donate $500,000 to nonprofits supporting immigrant communities.

  • Friedman said in the internal memo that he personally disapproves of ICE's policies.
  • Some Github employees said in the letter that the donation seemed like an attempt to mitigate its renewed contract.

Tuesday's letter reads:

"Continuing to hold this contract does not improve our bargaining power with ICE. All it does is make us complicit in their widespread human rights abuses. We cannot offset human lives with money. There is no donation that can offset the harm that ICE is perpetrating with the help of our labor."

Microsoft employees' Wednesday letter said:

"[T]his contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) makes all of us working at Microsoft complicit to the unethical detainment of tens of thousands of immigrants and the various abuses that ICE subjects them to. Through our technology, we've already been contributing to the terrorism of ICE agents on our country's immigrant population. We've been doing so for years.”

In September, 76 protestors were arrested for blocking traffic in New York City while at the Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue. The protesters demanded Microsoft stop allowing ICE to use their technology, CNN reports.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.