For the second time this year, Google has withdrawn an offer for a large government contract. Both times this had to do with a project related to the US Army.
Google earns its money with advertisements, Android and hardware sales, but also with building or renting out systems to third parties, G Suite is an example of this. In addition, the company also tries to win major contracts requiring the development of new technology, which is often the case with government contracts.
Earlier this year, such a process brought Google’s management into trouble. A US Army contract had been adopted to provide technology that would allow drones to do their work better (Project Maven AI drone). This met with a lot of resistance from Google employees who did not hide their horror for such a project. Not long after, Google released a manifesto in which it establishes its own rules for artificial intelligence.
Today it is known that Google has again withdrawn from a bid for a government project of the American government. This is a contract in the JEDI project that involves bringing large amounts of data from the army to a commercial cloud environment. The $ 10 billion contract did not match the artificial intelligence principles that Google has set for itself.
Google has not disclosed how this contract violates Google’s rules on artificial intelligence. In addition, the government was looking for a single implementer of the project and Google was not sure if it could carry out all parts. Google does state that if multiple companies would be admitted to the project they might offer separate parts of the project.
Under the Pentagon contract of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud (JEDI), huge amounts of data will be moved from the
Ministry of Defense to a commercially exploited cloud system. The bids for the contract, which can last up to 10 years, must be submitted by 12 October. The final requirements for the project were released in July after a lobbying campaign by technology companies, including Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, who opposed the plans of the Pentagon to choose only one winner for the project instead of the contract with a number of providers to split.
“If the JEDI contract had been open to multiple players, we could have provided a convincing solution for sharing it,” said Google. “Google Cloud believes that a multi-cloud approach that is in the interest of government agencies, because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right activities.”
No room for multiple players
In a report to Congress, the Ministry of Defense said that splitting up the tender under the current acquisition law would be a slow process. A delay in the tendering process could prevent the US Army from rapidly providing new capabilities and improved effectiveness to the war machine that enables cloud computing at enterprise level.
The Tech Workers Coalition, which advocates to give employees a say in decisions taken by technology companies, reports that Google’s decision to withdraw from the tender was based on ongoing pressure from its own developers, who wanted to prevent AI developments for less ethical issues. are used.