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Google’s reportedly bidding to be a military cloud provider


Google is reportedly “aggressively” engaged on profitable a contract with the Pentagon, despite the fact that a few of its earlier Division of Protection work sparked main backlash from workers, in keeping with The New York Occasions. In response to the report, Google’s Cloud division has reassigned engineers to work on a proposal for Google to contribute to the Joint Warfighting Cloud Functionality program, which the DoD describes as an try to “obtain dominance in each conventional and non-traditional warfighting domains.”

The contract Google is reportedly wanting into is one that can open to a number of corporations to submit proposals and do work for, and the DoD estimates it could possibly be a multi-billion greenback undertaking. In a doc describing what cloud suppliers will probably be anticipated to do, the DoD says that anybody hoping to win a contract should “allow entry to essential warfighting knowledge” with a wide range of classification ranges (together with Secret and High Secret information). Moreover, this system requires that candidates have the ability to “present superior knowledge analytics companies that securely allow data-driven and well timed decision-making on the tactical degree.”

Google says it has guidelines on the way it can use AI with reference to the navy, which it set after worker backlash. In 2018, reviews got here out that Google was growing AI tech to research video captured by navy drones as part of the Pentagon’s Undertaking Maven initiative. 1000’s of workers signed a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai saying that Google shouldn’t be concerned in warfare and that the work put the corporate’s fame in danger and went towards its said values. Finally, the corporate gave in and stated it might cease engaged on the undertaking.

After Google instructed workers it might let its Undertaking Maven contract expire, it introduced its AI ethics rules, promising that it wouldn’t work on AI-powered weapons or AI surveillance tasks that had been possible to attract ire from human rights or privateness advocates. The corporate did, nevertheless, say it might proceed working with the navy “in lots of different areas.”

On the time, Google stated any Pentagon work it pursued must match inside these rules. At this level, in keeping with the Occasions, it’s unclear whether or not what the DoD desires can be allowed below these tips.

The corporate has continued to do work with the navy since its pledge, with some tasks involving AI. Because the Occasions reviews, Google introduced in August that its Cloud companies can be utilized by a contractor to research footage from inspection drones to find out when Navy ships wanted upkeep. The Air Pressure is additionally wanting to make use of Google Cloud to assist handle airplane upkeep. In an announcement emailed to The Verge, a Google spokesperson stated that the corporate is “firmly dedicated to serving [its] public sector clients, together with the DoD.”

Clearly, military-related work isn’t fully off the desk for Google, however given its historical past, it’s possible workers pay extra-close consideration when the corporate is trying to work with the Pentagon. Google workers’ responses to Undertaking Maven helped kick off group throughout the firm — union organizers cited it as one of many collective actions that impressed unionization. The union has responded to the Occasions’ story in regards to the present work on the DoD bid on Twitter, pledging that employees will battle the contract.

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