image of the developer

ellen wondra

software engineer. pet herder. crafty.

My Values at Work: No Tech for ICE


What are my values at work?

Well, it's 2020, and I'm looking for work.

I'm a software engineer, in the field working since 2014, so theoretically the options are pretty endless. This, plus our political climate, mean that I have been thinking extensively about what I want in my next position. What are my values? Where do they begin and end? What are my values at work, and where do I embody them to exclusion--meaning, I do not want to entertain people or companies who do not share these values--vs. where do I embody them to action, places where I can do the work of helping make the world a better place by speaking truth to power, having difficult conversations, building tools to help people help themselves?

The truth is, I am never going to learn the truth about these things if I don't engage with my values. Inspired by the horrific ways that technology has been misused lately--specifically, to hunt and imprison immigrants, and to launch a drone that may yet cause WWIII--I am going to try.

So, what are my values at work?!

The first is an easy one: I don't make tech for ICE

my speaker photo from strange loop. i am wearing a No Tech for ICE shirt, with the logo, in a sun-dappled day outside. my hair is pink. shirt is yellow. i use a cane.

ICE is an immoral office that is exceeding its racist mandate given by an impeached president. When they have been told to reduce the number of concentration camps in existence, they increased the number of camps instead. They are actively initiating a genocide. They have violated the principles set forward in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights repeatedly. This means, arguably, that providing technology for ICE is materially facilitating in human rights abuses. It is not a slippery slope to clearly and decisively refuse to participate in these activities; instead, it is a moral imperitive.

For that matter, I don't make tech for war. I have to do more research into what that means, because I naively thought that ICE would be the big battle of my generation.

So if you have a contract with ICE: lose my number and my email address. Then, close your business down and take a long, hard look at your life. There's still time to make better choices. Lives are at stake.

my values at work no tech for ice ethics in tech