Google is reportedly drafting 'ethical principles' for government work to calm worried employees

Key Points
  • Google is reportedly drafting a set of ethical principles to guide the use of its technology in the wake of employee outcry against its partnership with the Department of Defense.
  • Cloud boss Diane Greene is said to have expressed regret that those principles were not in place before Google signed its contract and that they would be in place before it committed to any similar work
Diane Greene
Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google cloud leader Diane Greene told employees that the company is drafting a set of ethical principals to guide the use of its technology in the wake of internal objections to its partnership with The Pentagon, according to a Defense One report.

In March, Google announced that it had partnered with the Department of Defense to develop artificial intelligence to analyze and interpret drone videos, which prompted than 3,000 employees to sign a letter urging CEO Sundar Pichai that "Google should not be in the business of war."

Google said that at the time that the so-called "Project Maven" was "specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes," though employees worried that the technology could be used to enhance the targeting of military drone strikes.

At a company meeting, Greene reportedly expressed regret that the company had no ethical guidelines in place before it took that contract and said that it would not commit to any similar work until it had written them.

Meanwhile, Defense One reports that Google is actively pursuing the Defense Department's enormous cloud contract. The final request for proposal for that deal, which is reportedly worth up to $10 billion, will be released in early May, with a decision expected in September.

Google declined to comment.

Read the rest of the Defense One story here.