back to article FYI: You do all know that America's tech giants, even Google, supply IT to the US military, right?

Despite all those protests, internal and external, by tech workers against their employers' selling AI to the US military, the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) this week said the biggest names in IT are lining up to supply Uncle Sam. Founded in 2018, the JAIC focuses on deploying machine-learning systems …

  1. Robert Grant Silver badge

    This is not a real controversy

    Defence is necessary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Robert Grant - Re: This is not a real controversy

      China will be more than happy to agree with you.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is not a real controversy

      >Defence is necessary.

      Defence against foreign aggressors = ok

      And internal terrorists (until you have a peace deal and then they become part of your support agreement)

      What about environmental protesters ?

      Or police brutality protesters?

      What about people who might just be voting for the opposition?

      What about politicians in your own party who might be after your job - are they a legitimate target for your security agency, with the support of the tech companies ?

      I might support work on an ICBM or nuclear weapon that I know is only going to be used against a real threat, but not on bit of software which is intended to target pro-abortion voters from their Netflix habbits

      1. Falmari

        Re: This is not a real controversy

        “Defence against foreign aggressors = ok”

        The problem is that anything that the military has can always be used against its own population or section of its population from clubs and guns to planes and drones. There are plenty of examples of this in the past 100 years even from my country UK.

        I really do not have a problem with major companies producing/developing for the military. I do have a problem when they are hypocrites about it, by saying they won’t but still do. The only exception to this is when what they are developing’s obvious purpose is to be used against their own population, I always have a problem with that.

        Also, it is almost impossible not to have somethings a large company develops being used by the military they will find a way to militarise it.

        The military are very good and seeing military use for things. I remember 30 odd years ago my degree dissertation was on using neural networks to classify crops from satellite images. I was working in the mapping lab running a network to produce a map. The University had an open day for business (funding for the University) and were showing people around the lab telling them what each of the students was working on. The only one of these people interested in what I was doing was from the Army (the uniform gave it away). He was asking question like accuracy and could it be used to identify other things rather than crops. Like what I asked to which he replied tanks. He actually gave quite a few things all that would be military targets but its tanks I remember it was first one he mentioned.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: This is not a real controversy

          Yes all technology ends up being military.

          The OPs point was that we need the military for defence -> therefore any requirement is justified.

          I'm saying that it isn't hypocritical for developers being OK with Microsoft's "Windows for Warships" while at the same time not wanting Windows to be used to run concentration camps.

          1. Falmari

            Re: This is not a real controversy

            I not disagreeing with you , it is not hypocritical for developers not wanting what they develop being used in an unethical way. (have an up vote)

            I am saying it is not wrong to develop for the military but there will always be the problem that it can be and sometimes has been used against the very people it was meant to protect.

            What I do find hypocritical is when a company spins out a statement about not developing for military only to still do so.

            Also it is wrong to develop for military/goverment something you know the purpose for it is to be used against the people.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: This is not a real controversy

      This is not a real controversy

      Defence is necessary. ..... Robert Grant

      Some things are indefensible. That is real controversial, methinks, RG.

      amanfromMars [2007091445] ....... sharing on https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/tyranny-without-a-tyrant-the-deep-states-divide-and-conquer-strategy-is-working/

      You persuade the people that the menace they face (imaginary or not) is so sinister, so overwhelming, so fearsome that the only way to surmount the danger is by empowering the government

      Or alternatively, you persuade the people that the menace they face (imaginary or not) is so sinister, so overwhelming, so fearsome that the only way to surmount the danger is by disempowering the government.

      Multi-Facetted Civil Disobedience, whenever governments have lost exclusive executive authority and the all vital trust of the peoples they server, is an Almighty Powerful Overwhelming Weapon.

      1. Cliff Thorburn

        Re: This is not a real controversy

        In the same way, being the target practice MK Ultra pirate puppet for the aforementioned tech giants, NSA, GCHQ et al, if the end product is not a mind controlled populist brexit supporting Nigel Farage, its straight to the special projects reject bin is it not?

  2. Pete 2

    Aid and comfort?

    Where should a commercial company draw the line between active collaboration in destructive and deadly technologies and passive assistance in making a military more capable of delivering those functions on its own?

    Specifically making weapons is one thing. How about allowing military operators to use all the civilian functions that are available to everybody else.

    ISTM that armed forces all over the world gain specific and quantifiable benefits from commercial software, from Word to Google search to the internet in general. There are even military TLDs assigned.

    Is there a line to be drawn and if so, where? I do not claim to know the answer, but the question is reasonable.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Aid and comfort?

      If the Navy and the FBI is using GSuite, does that count as Google helping, or sabotaging the US military?

    2. very angry man

      Re: Aid and comfort?

      around $60m

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    An Enigmatic Dilemma ..... in Frantic Search of Questionable Solution

    Later that year, Pichai also withdrew the web corp's bid for the Pentagon's $10bn winner-takes-all Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract because it did not align with his company's values. An inability to gain the certification needed to offer cloud services to the military was also a little tiny roadblock, ...

    One assumes that inability to gain the certification needed to offer cloud services to the military revolves around the military need for an exclusive use of services contract which of course can never be guaranteed surely.

    Indeed, the very real and always present danger is such services leak/morph/transfer across into the private mercenary army and non state actor sectors against which the regular military have no oversight or influence.

    And there will be those who will advise you such a very real and always present danger is that which is currently destroying both vulnerable and corrupt systems alike via the simple root/route of enlightening information released which cannot be realistically denied.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    The DoD has a big bag of cash.

    They want it.

    They claim they have "ethics" that they won't be involved in weapons, while demanding ever greater intrusion into peoples personal space.

    No Android, location services is not a "critical service" the gallery app needs to display the pictures I took on my phone.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    ALL of the tech giants?

    Just wondering as to what Facebook services have been weaponised for the miltary?

    Torture perhaps?

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: ALL of the tech giants?

      I have suspect the US military and the 3 letter agencies have backdoor access to Facebook's data so they can gleem intel on potential targets and there associates.

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: ALL of the tech giants?

      Just wondering as to what Facebook services have been weaponised for the miltary?

      Torture perhaps?

      "Tell us what we want to know or all your Whatsapp pictures to your significant other are going public."

  6. IGotOut Silver badge

    But of course....

    ...none of these will have sanctions but on them due to their "alleged" military links.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @IGotOut - Re: But of course....

      No, siree! It's 100% moral/ethical because we're the one doing it.

      1. NATTtrash Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: @IGotOut - But of course....

        Yes. Right. I seem to remember some people blowing a fuse about some alleged close ties between some consumer tech corp and some evil government some where. I understood it was bad, very bad. Wasn't that about Huawei or something? Not sure. Let me Google that...

        Oh...

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