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Microsoft, Amazon in Race For $10bn Pentagon Project

The DoD is likely to announce the winner this month

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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

The Pentagon has selected Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS, the cloud computing arm of Amazon, as two finalists for its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, as Oracle missed the bus.

The JEDI Cloud computing contract at the US Department of Defence (DoD) is aimed to bring the entire military under the envelope of a single Cloud provider.

The project saw backlash from several quarters including employees at tech giants like Google and Microsoft, alleging that the “contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building”.

Succumbing to pressure from employees, Google last year dropped its bid to be part of the JEDI contract.

“After evaluating all of the proposals received, the Department of Defence has made a competitive range determination for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud request for proposals, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

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Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

“The two companies within the competitive range will participate further in the procurement process,” Elissa Smith, DoD spokesperson for Public Affairs Operations told TechCrunch on Thursday.

The DoD is likely to announce the winner this month.

Last year, Microsoft employees raised ethical questions on facilitating incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that could cause “overall harm”.

Also Read- Facebook Planning To Merge All Its Platforms Into One

“We need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table.

“Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass,” a letter by Microsoft employees detailed. (IANS)

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Microsoft to Implement California’s Digital Privacy Law Throughout the US

The European Union last year rolled out new privacy regulations for its citizens called the GDPR, but the US doesn't have a similar law

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FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

Microsoft has announced to implement California’s digital privacy law, that comes into effect from January 1, 2020, throughout the US.

In a blog post, the tech giant said the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) marks an important step towards providing people with more robust control over their data in the US.

“It also shows that we can make progress to strengthen privacy protections in this country at the state level even when Congress can’t or won’t act,” Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, said on Monday.

The CCPA allows people to request that data be deleted and gives them the opportunity to opt out of having their information sold to a third party.

In 2018, Microsoft voluntarily extended the core data privacy rights included in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to customers around the world, not just to those in the EU who are covered by the regulation.

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FILE – Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

“Similarly, we will extend CCPA’s core rights for people to control their data to all our customers in the US,” it said.

More than 25 million people around the world, including over 10 million people in the US, have used Microsoft’s privacy dashboard to understand and control their personal data.

Also Read: Apple Mulling to Release its First AR Headset by the Year 2022

Under CCPA, companies must be transparent about data collection and use, and provide people with the option to prevent their personal information from being sold.

“Microsoft will continue to monitor those changes, and make the adjustments needed to provide effective transparency and control under CCPA to all people in the US,” Brill said.

The European Union last year rolled out new privacy regulations for its citizens called the GDPR, but the US doesn’t have a similar law. (IANS)