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Google drafting ethical principles to guide the use of technology

The move comes after more than 3,000 employees of Google signed a letter to the company's CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company scrap the Defence Department project

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Google india launches 'Tz' to help people pay their utility bills. Wikimedia Commons
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 After facing employee fury over a US Defence Department project, Google is reportedly drafting new ethical standards to guide the company’s use of technology and products.

The move comes after more than 3,000 employees of Google signed a letter to the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company scrap the Defence Department project for analysing drone footage using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques as they feared that the technology could plausibly help target people for death, Fortune.com reported on Friday. Citing a Defense One article, the report said that Google Cloud chief Diane Greene this week hosted a Town Hall at which she assured employees of new ethical standards for the company.

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Google took this decision after deliberation . VOA

Called Maven, the programme applies AI and machine learning to the job of classifying objects in surveillance footage, but Google responded to the employee petition saying that the technology was intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.

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However, Greene promised employees that Google would not sign up for any further work on ‘Maven’ or similar projects without having new ethical principles in place, according to Defense One’s sources. But some Google employees came out of the town hall still concerned about the company angling for a big Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract that could relate to combat operations, the Fortune report said. IANS

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Google Expands Its Advanced Location Tracking System to the US

The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers only when you explicitly call an emergency number.

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Google is expanding its advanced location tracking feature for Android called “Emergency Location Service (ELS)” to the US.

Launched in 2016 and is currently available in 14 countries (excluding India), ELS provides accurate locations both indoors and outdoors by using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks and sensors.

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The location tracking service is compatible with Android version 4.0 and above.

“Google is deploying ELS in the US, including the Virgin Islands, in partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS and wireless service providers T-Mobile and West,” Jen Chai, Product Manager, Android, Google wrote in a blog-post late on Wednesday.

“Wireless providers like T-Mobile have existing ways to share emergency locations with emergency centers, but this integration with ELS will help deliver higher accuracy locations faster than before,” Chai wrote.

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Launched in 2016 and is currently available in 14 countries (excluding India) Wikimedia Coomons

Since the launch of ELS around the world, the most observed impact of the feature has been in critical, emergency situations by shortening emergency response times.

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“You don’t need to install a separate app, update your OS, or have special hardware to benefit from more accurate location. The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers only when you explicitly call an emergency number,” Chai added.

The location tracking service is compatible with Android version 4.0 and above. (IANS)

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