Google Won't Bid For The $10B Department Of Defense Cloud Project 10/09/2018

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Google has announced that it will not be placing a bid for a cloud-computing contract with the Pentagon. Bids for the contract, which could run for up to ten years, must be in by 12 October.

The plane would have data that is now held by contractors move to a cloud solution, and tech companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft were stepping up to be part of it.

Google is behind other technology companies such as Amazon and Microsoft in obtaining government cloud-security authorizations that depend on the sensitivity of data a service is hosting.

Microsoft will also bring online Azure Government Secret regions in the first quarter of 2019 to service federal agencies handling classified data and highly sensitive workloads for the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies.

Earlier this year, Google faced employee pressure to drop out of Project Maven, which was set to build AI systems that can process and analyze drone footage for the Pentagon.

The JEDI contract is single-source, making it probable that only some of the nation's largest cloud providers - such as Microsoft - will be capable of delivering the entirety of the contract.

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In a statement, Google said they "couldn't be assured that [the deal] would align with [their] AI Principles".

Reuters has the news on Google's decision.

Withdrawing from JEDI is the first visible sign of Google following its new guidelines, which stipulate that the company will continue to work with governments in areas like training and cybersecurity, but other areas might be limited. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have sharply criticized that approach and even mounted lawsuits seeking to overturn it, arguing that the project is unfairly tilted in Amazon's favor. As only one company will be awarded the contract, Amazon is seen as the frontrunner. However, Google this week said it was dropping out of the race, citing ethical concerns over the use of its artificial intelligence technology, which would likely have been a key component of the services it would have to provide if it won the contract.

A Google spokesman added that there were also portions of the contract that were out of scope with the company's current government certifications.

Google's announcement comes just months after the company decided not to re-up its contract with a Pentagon AI program, when protests broke out from employees who didn't think Google should be in "the business of war".

Google's leadership and employees have been at odds over U.S. government contracts.

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