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Communications of the ACM


Ethics in Technology Jobs

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Organized protests against companies are hardly a new phenomenon, as people have boycotted or protested both corporate policies and actions tor years. For example, a global protest of international agro-chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto in 2013 saw coordinated marches across 52 countries and 436 cities. In 2010, thousands of people in the U.S. protested against oil giant BP for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And in the late 1990s, U.S. gun owners protested against gun manufacturers Colt Manufacturing Company and Smith & Wesson for their perceived cooperation with then-President Bill Clinton's gun control efforts.

Yet many of the corporate protests that have occurred against technology companies over the past year were marked by a distinct difference: they were often organized by, led, or coordinated with workers at the very companies being protested. The impetus for these walkouts appears to be largely two issues: the presence of a culture of inequality at technology companies, and the use of technology for what workers consider to be unethical or harmful activities.


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