Google employees last year organized in protest against a machine learning project with the U.S. military to analyze drone footage. Googlers were successful in halting Project Maven and the company created AI Principles to govern future products. Those 4,000 anonymous Googlers have today been named the 2018 Arms Control Persons of the Year.
For the past several weeks, Google has been embroiled in a scandal over a Department of Defense contract. Today, Google Cloud head Diane Greene acquiesced to internal pressure and announced that the company will not seek another contract to analyze drone footage.
For the past several months, Google fiercely debated the military applications of artificial intelligence, with many employees opposed to their work being used in weaponry and war settings. This stance would essentially see Google forgo a huge market to Amazon and Microsoft, where employees do not have similar qualms.
A new report today provides some insight on principles that will guide future work, while several positions from within the company have also been highlighted.
Since news emerged in March that Google was working with the U.S. military to use machine learning to analyze drone footage, some employees have been debating and protesting the decision. Many Googlers have expressed discontent through a petition, while others are now beginning to quit over the matter.
News emerged last month of a Google partnership with the U.S. military on machine learning to analyze drone footage. This set off a fierce internal debate among employees, but it appears that the company is continuing with plans to win lucrative contracts.
Shortly after word broke that Google was working with the Department of Defense on open-source software to help analyze drone footage, employees began forwarding along a petition internally asking Sundar Pichai to end participation in the project. Additionally, the letter asks that Google bans all future “warfare technology.”
Do you think Google should avoid working with the military or providing open-source software for the government?
Last month, a report revealed that Google was partnering with the Department of Defense on machine learning to analyze drone footage. This project caused an uproar within the company, with Googlers circulating a letter asking Sundar Pichai to drop the project and ban future “warfare technology.”
Google is not only applying machine learning across its products, but also encouraging other developers to adopt it in third-party services and other use cases. It has now emerged that one of the latter examples is for drones from the U.S. government.
Earlier this week we told you that the Defense Department was nearing a decision on approving the three major mobile platforms through new security approvals that would allow widespread use of devices by government agencies and the DoD networks. While the department is yet to grant approval to Apple’s iOS 6 for for nonclassified communications by military agencies, today the Wall Street Journal provides an update noting that both Samsung’s Knox security software and BlackBerry 10 have now received the approvals ahead of Apple:
RIM announced late Thursday that the Department of Defense approved smartphones and tablets running on BlackBerry 10, the company’s new operating system, for use throughout DOD networks…Samsung devices outfitted with Knox, the company’s new security software offering, also received Pentagon approval Thursday, according to a DOD spokesman. Apple’s approval is still expected in the “next few weeks,” according to the spokesman.
As of February, BlackBerry made up the majority of the 600,000 devices on the DoD’s networks. Currently the networks consist of around 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple products, and 8,700 Android devices, although that could quickly change thanks to the new security approvals allowing more government agencies to adopt Samsung and Apple devices.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, the agency that sanctions commercial technology for Pentagon use, is set to rule that Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones, preloaded with Samsung’s Knox security software, conforms with the Pentagon’s so-called Security Technology Implementation Guide, according to people familiar with the approval process. That would allow it to be used by some Pentagon agencies for things like sending and receiving internal emails, according to these people.
Separately, DISA is expected to rule that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, conforms to a different security-requirement guide, these people said. That would allow iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for nonclassified communications, like email and Web browsing.
The report from WSJ explained Samsung has been steadily increasing its attempt to break into corporate and government markets by hiring a new team of security experts and former RIM employees to reach out to Western governments and corporations: Expand Expanding Close