San Francisco – Google announced on Monday that it was opting out of the $10 billion dollar cloud computing project of the US Department of Defense. This was partly due to the reason that the company’s policies were not in sync with the project.
The statement released by the company shared further details “we were not assured that the project would be in alignment with our guidelines for AI and we are of the opinion that certain sections of the contract were beyond the scope of our existing government certification”. The guidelines prevent the use of Google’s AI for any weapons program including services that will be in violation of human rights and international norms.
In the month of March Google was given a professional certification permitting it to use US government data. Amazon and Microsoft had higher security clearances whereas Google had a ‘moderate’ security clearance.
There was a perception among officials of the Pentagon that Amazon had better chances of bagging the project.
Known as JEDI or Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure cloud, Google had high hopes on the project expecting to receive the contract which could have given it a fillip in its attempt to build a strong presence in the cloud business behind Amazon and Microsoft.
If the Pentagon had entrusted its digital data to Google that would have helped to sell itself better to other companies.
However thousands of employees of Google began protesting the company’s intention to use its Technology for Warfare or any activity that could affect human rights. Consequently the company released its principles governing the use of AI tools.
The statement by Google clarified that the principles permitted it to be a part of only portions of the JEDI deal if joint bids were permitted.
Source: Bloomberg, LinkedIn