Close to 1,300 workers in the tech world have so far promised not to take part in building a database of Muslims if asked to do so.
The online pledge comes as President-elect Donald Trump met Wednesday at Trump Tower with Silicon Valley executives, including those from Facebook and Apple. Trump solicited their advice and said he’ll offer his help to allow them to continue innovating.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the topic of a Muslim registry came up during Wednesday’s meeting. Trump said last November that he "would certainly implement" a database system tracking Muslims in the United States.
“We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.”
As of late Thursday afternoon, more than 1,300 people have signed the pledge, many listing their professions as engineers, designers, and business executives at tech organizations and companies based in the United States.
“We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies,” the open letter reads. “We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.”
An NBC News request for comment left with Ka-Ping Yee, a software engineer and former Google employee who helped create the pledge, was not immediately returned.
Tech employees stand to play a crucial role if plans are carried out to create a digital Muslim database. Referencing events like the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the Holocaust, signatories vowed not to use technology to walk down a similar path with Muslims and others.
Among the promises made by those who signed the pledge:
- Refusing to participate in creating databases for the U.S. government to target people based on race, religion, or national origin.
- Advocating within their tech organizations to minimize collection and retention of data that would aid the targeting of individuals based on ethnicity or religion.
- Speaking out publicly if they discover the illegal or unethical use of data.
Some social media companies have already vowed not to create a Muslim registry. Facebook confirmed its commitment this week to CNNMoney, while Twitter had published a statement on its website before the pledge went online.