Tech giants, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have signed more than 5,000 previously unreported contracts with military and federal law enforcement officers, data released Wednesday.
According to non-profit accountability, Technical applicationSome of those contracts have been signed with the Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI.
The study was led by Jack Poulson, a former Google research scientist who left the company in 2018.
Tech giants, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have signed more than 5,000 previously unreported contracts with military and federal law enforcement. Microsoft (file image) only has 5,000 subcontracting contracts
According to the nonprofit Accounting, Tech Inquiry, some of those contracts have been signed with the Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI
According to NBC NewsPoulson left the company after months of internal campaigns to clarify Google’s plans to implement a censored version of its search engine in China called Project Dragonfly.
He was also on the other side when it comes to collaborations between technology companies and the military.
Poulson’s research consists of analyzing more than 30 million government contracts over the past five years.
Of those, Microsoft appeared to have more than 5,000 subcontracts with the Department of Defense and several federal law enforcement agencies since 2016.
“Often the high-level contract description between technology companies and the military looks very vanilla and mundane,” Poulson told NBC News.
“But only if you look at the details of the contract, which you can only get through Freedom of Information [Act] requests, you’ll see how a tech company’s customization would actually be involved. ‘
According to Tech Inquiry’s analysis, Amazon has approved more than 350 subcontracts with military and federal law enforcement agencies, such as ICE and the FBI, since 2016.
Meanwhile, Google has over 250 previously unreported contracts.
Ted Cloud, a spokesperson for Google Cloud, told NBC that the company “ remains committed to working with the government on projects that are consistent with our terms of service, acceptable use policy, and AI principles. ”
Employees of tech giants such as Google have protested contracts that strengthen military activity.
Employees of tech giants such as Google have protested contracts such as Project Maven supporting military activity. Project Maven tries to integrate AI technology on the battlefield. Google canceled its contract in 2018 after worldwide employee unrest
For example, Project Maven, which aims to integrate AI technology into the battlefield, first caught the attention of Google, but the company withdrew in 2018 after a global commotion of its employees.
The U.S. military was looking for elements of artificial intelligence and machine learning in its drone program.
Project Maven, as the effort is known, aims to provide some relief to military analysts who are part of the war against the Islamic State.
These analysts are currently staring at large screens for hours to watch video feeds from drones as part of the insurgent hunt in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Pentagon is trying to develop algorithms that would search the material and alert analysts to important finds, said Air Force Lieutenant General John NT “Jack” Shanahan, director of defense intelligence for combat support.
The hope is that it will not only lead to fewer casualties, but also relief for military analysts whose job is to stare at large screens for hours to watch video feeds from drones.