Google Abandons Bid for $10B Pentagon Cloud Contract

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The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract is a massive undertaking that aims to transform the USA military's information technology infrastructure by moving vast amounts of its data to a cloud computing platform.

Google's decision not to make a bid comes months after it faced severe backlash from its employees thanks to its participation in another military program called Project Maven, which involved using AI to identify targets for drone strikes.

In June, Google said it would not renew the contract once it expired, and that same month, it released a set of principles for its work in AI.

Announcing that it wouldn't bid for the job, Google said: "We couldn't be assured that [the JEDI deal] would align with our AI Principles, and, second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications".

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"We will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements", a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

In June 2018 Google published a set of principles for its artificial intelligence research, with the company stating that it will not use its AI technology to create "weapons or other technologies whose principal goal or implementation is to cause of directly facilitate injury to people".

The tech giant has made the of the the Pentagon's competition for a possible $10 billion cloud-computing project.

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle and International Business Machines.

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These certifications are a big deal in the world of government cloud computing, and they are one of the reasons Google dropped out of the running for the JEDI contract Monday.

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.

That program, known as Project Maven, is created to automate the analysis of surveillance footage collected by US military drones, a task that for years has been handled directly by the Air Force.

The bidding process for the JEDI contract has come under scrutiny because of its large size and the fact that the Pentagon wants to award it to a single bidder rather than share it among several providers. "You may see a place to recharge your Fitbit but nothing to indicate the sort of patriotic identity that the rest of the defense contractors have".

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