Wednesday, 10 October 2018 05:48

Google pulls out of bidding for giant defence contract Featured

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Google pulls out of bidding for giant defence contract Pixabay

On the same day that it announced it was shutting down its Google+ social network due to a data breach that it had concealed, Google has said it will be pulling out of bidding for a giant cloud contract with the US Department of Defence.

The Federal News Network quoted Google’s executive director, industry lead and group leader for US Government, Aileen Black, as saying on Monday that bidding for the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure contract was not something that sat well with the company.

Google+ was shut down because the company experienced a massive data breach between 2015 and March this year which it hid from the public. It announced the shutdown after the breach was exposed by a report in The Wall Street Journal.

As iTWire has reported, the DoD contract, known by its acronym JEDI, is meant to unite all Defence services under one cloud vendor as the CIA did in 2013 with Amazon at a cost of US$600 million.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle Corporation had been in the running for the contract which was expected to be awarded by the end of September and now seems to have been delayed. It will be worth US$10 billion.

Microsoft is said to have improved its chances of winning the contract by cutting a deal to supply cloud services to 17 intelligence agencies in May.

Conditions for winning the contract are said to favour Amazon, with the 1375-page request for proposal containing a number of conditions that only the cloud giant could satisfy.

FNN quoted Black as saying Google had pulled out of bidding for the JEDI as it was unsure whether it "would be aligned with our artificial intelligence principles".

She also said that the company preferred that the contract be awarded to more than one vendor: 'Google believes a multi-cloud approach is in the best interest of government agencies because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right workload. At a time when new technology is constantly becoming available, customers really should, like DoD, take advantage of that innovation.”

Earlier this year, Google was forced to announce that it would not renew its involvement in a Pentagon project which used its artificial intelligence technology for drone targeting.

The halting of future involvement in the so-called Project Maven was announced in June but Google gave no assurance that it would not be involved in similar projects in the future.

Staff at Google had expressed disquiet over the company's involvement in the project. More than 3000 staff signed a letter submitted to senior management to protest against the decision to get involved in Maven.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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