Google will not take part in the tender for the Pentagon's cloud-computing contract, valued up to Dollars 10 billion, saying it can not be assured the project will not go against its principles regarding artificial intelligence, Bloomberg reported.
Google's announcement on Monday came just months after the company decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon artificial intelligence program, after extensive protests from employees of the internet giant about working with the military. In its statement, Google said it would have preferred that JEDI be open to multiple vendors so that it could have "submitted a compelling solution for portions of it". The company stated that its technology would no longer be weaponised or used in "other technologies whose principal objective or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people".
In 2016 Microsoft said its Azure Government cloud service ahd been authorised by the Defense Information Systems Agency to handle data with the Information Impact Level 5 (IL-5) clearance level. But more than 3,000 Google employees had signed a petition against the company's involvement in the project because they thought that the study and the imagery could eventually be used to improve drone strikes in the battlefield. The company stated that in working on such a project, it was directly involved in warfare.
The company doesn't work with the United States government. It's being eyed by Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon, Bloomberg reports.
With JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure), the Pentagon is planning a major revamp of its IT infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently took meetings in Washington to try to rebuild the company's relationship with the military amid all the employee unrest.
Google's move to pass on the contract comes just after news that 500,000 users' personal data due to a Google+ bug.
Google also said it didn't yet possess some of the required government certifications needed to land the contract, and analysts said it was unlikely the company would be able to obtain these in time. The US government believes that this can give military officials an edge on the battlefield by allowing them to quickly access data wherever they are to make better decisions on the battlefield.
The front-runner for the contract is widely believed to be Amazon, which already has a $US600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.
While Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding, and Oracle has lodged protests arguing requirements look engineered to deliver the award to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft believes it remains a strong contender.