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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
Google AI to identify speakers from crowd. 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.

Also Read: Google ‘Home’ and ‘Home Mini’ in India will get Hindi support

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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EU Prepares to hit Google with Record Fine in Android Monopoly Case

As well as the fine, Google is set to be ordered to break its agreements with phone manufacturers

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Opponents claim that this constitutes abuse of Android's 74 per cent share of the European smartphone market and harms rival search engines and browsers.
Opponents claim that this constitutes abuse of Android's 74 per cent share of the European smartphone market and harms rival search engines and browsers. Pixabay

Google will be hit with a record European Union (EU) fine for using its Android smartphone system to fortify its search empire.

The fine — likely to be handed down on Tuesday or Wednesday — is expected to eclipse the 2.1 bn pound monopoly abuse penalty Google paid last year over its internet shopping business, and escalates the war between Silicon Valley and Brussels, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

The European Commission’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has been investigating Google for three years over complaints the company illegally forces smartphone manufacturers to install its apps.

It gives its Android software to phone manufacturers for free, but binds them to “exclusivity agreements” that force them to install Google’s web browser and search engine if they use the Google Play app store, the report said.

The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet's annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound)
The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet’s annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound). Pixabay

Opponents claim that this constitutes abuse of Android’s 74 per cent share of the European smartphone market and harms rival search engines and browsers.

Meanwhile, Google insists the agreements allow Android to remain free to manufacturers and help them compete against Apple.

The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet’s annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound).

Also Read: Google Rolls Out ‘Morse Code’ Support on Gboard for iOS

Although it is not expected to use the full extent of its powers, the fine is likely to be higher than the 2.4 bn euros Google was ordered to pay in June last year over claims it stuffed search results with its own shopping adverts, squeezing out price comparison services.

As well as the fine, Google is set to be ordered to break its agreements with phone manufacturers. This could mean more Android phones being sold without Google software installed, potentially boosting rival search engines and web browsers such as Microsoft’s Bing or Firefox. (IANS)

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