January 22nd, 2020

(no subject)

"Mozilla Wants Young People to Consider ‘Ethical Issues’ Before Taking Jobs in Tech", writes Vice.

The article contains a link to Mozilla’s document, which says, among other things:

In August 2019, Mijente released a report detailing the ways in which tech companies like Palantir and Amazon were profiting from ICE’s growing digital infrastructure. As part of the NoTechforICE campaign, college students, tech workers, and the public began petitioning companies to end their contracts with ICE. College students pledged to not work at companies with ICE contracts and organized an international day of action demanding Palantir cancel its contract with ICE. Tech workers protested their companies’ contracts with ICE by publicly quitting or deleting code they had written.

I’m not sure why, but all that talk of ethics for regular developer grunts irks me. Perhaps because I’ve always considered ethics strictly optional, the icing on the cake: some people’s ethics is informed by their study of philosophy (and choosing a side in the consequentialist vs deontological debate); others’ ethics is prescribed by their religion; yet others happily live without. Perhaps because I think that work should be divorced from activism. Also, I resent how some take it upon themselves to impose their ethics on others and to punish people who might have a perfectly legal job in a perfectly legal organization, such as ICE. If you want to change how immigrants are treated in your country, change the laws, or change the politicians who will change the laws.

But wait. Would I also not condemn the textbook nazi guards and engineers and train drivers and such?

I guess I wouldn't.