Twitter won’t help to build Muslim registry in US

New York, Dec 4 (IANS) Of the nine major tech giants, including Facebook, Apple and Google, only Twitter has declined to help if US President-elect Donald Trump seeks to create a national Muslim registry, a media report said.

US-based news website the Intercept said it contacted nine of the most prominent firms to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry — an idea recently refloated by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team — and only Twitter said no.

“We contacted nine different firms in the business of technology, broadly defined, with the following question: ‘Would [name of company], if solicited by the Trump administration, sell any goods, services, information, or consulting of any kind to help facilitate the creation of a national Muslim registry, a project which has been floated tentatively by the President-elect’s transition team?’,” the report said.

After two weeks of calls and e-mails, only three companies provided an answer and only one said it would not participate in such a project.

Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM, IT giant SRA International and Canada-based Information technology consulting company CGI did not provide any answer to the query. Management consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton declined to comment.

Twitter said “No”, and a link, which states as company policy a prohibition against the use, was shared on the website.

The link read: “To be clear: We prohibit developers using the Public APIs and Gnip data products from allowing law enforcement — or any other entity — to use Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.”

Microsoft returned with an answer saying, “We’re not going to talk about hypotheticals at this point.”

A link to a company blog post states that “we’re committed to promoting not just diversity among all the men and women who work here, but…inclusive culture” and that “it will remain important for those in government and the tech sector to continue to work together to strike a balance that protects privacy and public safety in what remains a dangerous time”.

The Intercept cleared that the story was not written to say that the companies which did not reply to the request for a comment or declined to comment, were tacitly endorsing the Trump agenda in general or a Muslim registry in particular.

“Still, it is asking very little of today’s tech companies to prompt them to go on record as unwilling to help create a federal list of Muslims — or so one would very much hope,” the report noted.

–IANS

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