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GitHub Faces More Resignations In Light of ICE Contract
TechCrunch reports that another employee, engineer Alice Goldfuss, has resigned from GitHub over the company's $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). From the report: In a tweet, Goldfuss said GitHub has a number of problems to address and that "ICE is only the latest." Meanwhile, Vice reports at least five staffers quit today. These resignations come the same day as GitHub Universe, the company's big product conference. Ahead of the conference, Tech Workers Coalition protested the event, setting up a cage to represent where ICE detains children. Last month, GitHub staff engineer Sophie Haskins resigned, stating she was leaving because the company did not cancel its contract with ICE, The Los Angeles Times reported. Last month, GitHub employees penned an open letter urging the company to stop working with ICE. That came following GitHub's announcement of a $500,000 donation to nonprofit organizations in support of "immigrant communities targeted by the current administration." In that announcement, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said ICE's purchase was made through one of GitHub's reseller partners and said the deal is not "financially material" for the company. Friedman also pointed out that ICE is responsible for more than immigration and detention facilities.

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The NYPD Kept an Illegal Database of Juvenile Fingerprints For Years
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: For years, the New York Police Department illegally maintained a database containing the fingerprints of thousands of children charged as juvenile delinquents -- in direct violation of state law mandating that police destroy these records after turning them over to the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services. When lawyers representing some of those youths discovered the violation, the police department dragged its feet, at first denying but eventually admitting that it was retaining prints it was supposed to have destroyed. Since 2015, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society, which represents the majority of youths charged in New York City family courts, had been locked in a battle with the police department over retention of the fingerprint records of children under the age of 16. The NYPD did not answer questions from The Intercept about its handling of the records, but according to Legal Aid, the police department confirmed to the organization last week that the database had been destroyed. To date, the department has made no public admission of wrongdoing, nor has it notified the thousands of people it impacted, although it has changed its fingerprint retention practices following Legal Aid's probing. "The NYPD can confirm that the department destroys juvenile delinquent fingerprints after the prints have been transmitted to DCJS," a police spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Intercept. Still, the way the department handled the process -- resisting transparency and stalling even after being threatened with legal action -- raises concerns about how police handle a growing number of databases of personal information, including DNA and data obtained through facial recognition technology. As The Intercept has reported extensively, the NYPD also maintains a secretive and controversial "gang database," which labels thousands of unsuspecting New Yorkers -- almost all black or Latino youth -- as "gang members" based on a set of broad and arbitrary criteria. The fact that police were able to violate the law around juvenile fingerprints for years without consequence underscores the need for greater transparency and accountability, which critics say can only come from independent oversight of the department. It's unclear how long the NYPD was illegally retaining these fingerprints, but the report says the state has been using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System since 1989, "and laws protecting juvenile delinquent records have been in place since at least 1977." Legal Aid lawyers estimate that tens of thousands of juveniles could have had their fingerprints illegally retained by police.

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GitHub Places Open-Source Code In Arctic Cave For Safekeeping
pacopico writes: GitHub's CEO Nat Friedman traveled to Svalbard in October to stash Linux, Android, and 6,000 other open-source projects in a permafrost-filled, abandoned coal mine. It's part of a project to safeguard the world's software from existential threats and also just to archive the code for posterity. As Friedman says, "If you told someone 20 years ago that in 2020, all of human civilization will depend on and run on open-source code written for free by volunteers in countries all around the world who don't know each other, and it'll just be downloaded and put into almost every product, I think people would say, 'That's crazy, that's never going to happen. Software is written by big, professional companies.' It's sort of a magical moment. Having a historical record of this will, I think, be valuable to future generations." GitHub plans to open several more vaults in other places around the world and to store any code that people want included.

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