On Wednesday, December 14th, all eyes will be on Trump Tower in New York as Apple's Tim Cook, Google's Larry Page, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle's co-CEO Safra Zatz, Tesla's Elon Musk, and other Silicon Valley execs meet with President-elect Donald Trump.
According to the New York Times, the United States' biggest tech companies will meet with Trump to discuss American jobs. Among all the companies invited, only a couple refused to participate; Twitter was noticeably excluded from the meeting.
Many of those companies in attendance openly criticized Trump during the presidential race, but not all of Silicon Valley has come out against Trump. After the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a letter to the President-Elect offering the services of her company and suggesting a potential business partnership with the White House—a bold offer that many worry threatens digital privacy and security. Just consider Trump's campaign promise to force Muslim-Americans to register on a database, and how much easier that might be with help from the biggest tech companies in the world.
In an effort to stop Google, Facebook and other companies from becoming allies to the new government, SumOfUs, an international watchdog corporation with more than 6 million members worldwide, is demanding that Silicon Valley tech companies pledge noncompliance with the Trump administration. The petition hopes to fight against Trump's plan to create a Muslim registry in the United States, and deport nearly 3 million undocumented people.
"Trump is not a normal president-elect and this this is not a business as usual moment," said Nicole Carty, campaign manager for SumOfUs, in a press release. "Trump's agenda is a threat to our communities and our democracy, which is why Silicon Valley needs to pick a side. In just a few weeks, President-elect Trump will have near-total control over the White House and Congress and begin to enact his community-destroying, public-healthcare-slashing, hyper-surveillance, corporation-deregulating agenda. Big data demands bigger responsibility and Silicon Valley has an ethical duty to protect vulnerable users from surveillance and discrimination. Tech leaders must speak out against Trump's plan and pledge to not help execute this dangerous agenda in any way."
SumOfUs has already proven their influence over large tech companies. A previous campaign garnered 150,000 signatures against Facebook's compliance with police censorship. Facebook responded and is already changing its policies. Now they are ready for a new battle and are asking the tech community to sign a new petition that demands Silicon Valley corporations refuse to collaborate with the Trump White House. As of Wednesday morning, the petition is only 144 signatures away from its goal of 20,000—but we'll just have to wait and see what news comes out of Trump tower this afternoon.
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