Google abandons the race for the 10 billion contract with the Pentagon

Google believes this project contradicts its new principles

The company has given up competing to win a cloud computing contract with US intelligence, as report by digital forensics specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security. Google has mentioned that accepting this work could have transgressed the principles it published last June, limiting its activities relatedto artificial intelligence.

Previously, thousands of their employees had spoken out against Google’s participation in a different project of the Department of Defense.

The technology company recently revealed its decision, after confirming that it had exposed the personal data of Google+ users, designed to compete directly with Facebook.

This Pentagon project is known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI), the deadline for submitting applications for the project ends this Friday.

Securing the contract, which involves about a decade of initial work, could have helped Google catch up with Amazon and Microsoft, the two market leaders in selling cloud computing services to Governments and businesses. According to reports of experts in digital forensics, Amazon Web Services leads the race to win this contract.

A Google spokesperson mentioned: “while we are working to support the US government in many areas, we will not seek to win the JEDI contract because, in the first place, we cannot be sure that it is aligned with our principles of artificial intelligence, and second, we determined that there were parts of the contract that were beyond the scope of our current certifications.”

This refers to the fact that Google is only allowed to handle government data with “moderate” security permissions, but without access to confidential material.

This Monday, the search company had announced that it would close Google+ due to an error that exposes the information of many of its users. According to Google, the flaw could have allowed unauthorized third parties to track private details of over 500k Google+ members.

Google said that it had not found evidence that someone had actually exploited the flaw, adding that it could not specify which users had been affected.

But experts in digital forensics report that the chief executive of the company, Sundar Pichai, had been informed about the incident months ago, which means that the company did not intend to disclose this security incident.

The flaw in Google+ coincided with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many people consider that this could have made Google to hide the flaw in its social network. International observers are investigating the incident at Google right now.

Because it happened before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, the authorities in each country of the European Community could take action against Google on an individual basis.

The Irish Data Protection Commission mentioned that it was not aware of the problem and would seek answers from Google regarding nature, impact and risk to people.

In addition, Google has just announced its new line of mobile devices, hoping that recent events will not harm its release to the market.