Activists protest software company's ICE contract at Burning Man

Activists protest software company's ICE contract at Burning Man
© Getty Images

Activists are protesting software company Palantir’s contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at Burning Man

Mijente, an advocacy group for Latinx and Chicanx organizing, brought a giant cage on wheels to the festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, with the intent to bring the contract to the attention of tech workers in attendance.

We're conducting an action at Burning Man to start a conversation with these tech workers, in hopes of building the bridge between families being torn apart by ICE, and the tech companies that code the software to help ICE,” said a spokesperson for the group.

ADVERTISEMENT
Palantir has a $51 million contract with ICE to provide its Investigative Case Management (ICM) software to the agency. The technology helps ICE access subject’s information in areas like family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, personal connections, biometric traits and home and work addresses among other categories, according to the Intercept.

The Intercept has detailed how the Peter Thiel-founded data analysis firm has become integral in ICE’s work.

Mijente also hopes to bring attention to Amazon’s involvement with the contracts. Amazon doesn’t directly contract with the agency but does provide service to Palantir enabling its work with ICE.

Amazon’s own employees have been critical of its enabling Palantir to help ICE.

In a June letter obtained by The Hill, which over one hundred employees signed, employees called on Amazon stop providing services to companies who work with ICE.

“Along with much of the world we watched in horror recently as U.S. authorities tore children away from their parents,” they wrote. “In the face of this immoral U.S. policy, and the U.S.’s increasingly inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants beyond this specific policy, we are deeply concerned that Amazon is implicated, providing infrastructure and services that enable ICE and DHS.”

Burning Man has become a popular event for tech workers as well as industry CEO’s over the years. Past attendees include Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergPinterest blocks all vaccine-related searches in effort to combat anti-vax content Hillicon Valley: Kremlin seeks more control over Russian internet | Huawei CEO denies links to Chinese government | Facebook accused of exposing health data | Harris calls for paper ballots | Twitter updates ad rules ahead of EU election Patients, health data experts accuse Facebook of exposing personal info MORE, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.