Microsoft commits to human rights review of certain government deals – Bloomberg

NEW YORK , NY - APRIL 26: A Microsoft branch is seen on Fifth Avenue in New York City on April 26, 2018 in New York. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images)


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Microsoft has commissioned a human rights review of certain contracts it makes with governments and law enforcement agencies, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg news.

The technology giant has committed to the audit in response to pressure from shareholders earlier this year, and will seek to determine the human rights impacts its products have on black people, indigenous people and people of color.

Microsoft pledged to undertake a review after shareholders in June called on the company to assess the impact of its products on minority communities. Investors have since withdrawn their proposal.

According to Bloomberg, the technology giant told investors that the review will be conducted by law firm Foley Hoag LLP. It did not specify which contracts will be examined, but shareholders expect it to include about 16 active contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The decision by Microsoft to review the contracts comes as Silicon Valley giants struggle with balancing the demands of staff and shareholders with often large, lucrative government contracts that can involve work with law enforcement agencies.

During a labor board trial in August, attorneys for Google told a judge that the company’s employees have no legal right to protest its choice of clients.

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Microsoft, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement