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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google announced Monday it won’t bid on the Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract because of concerns the work wouldn't align with its artificial intelligence ethical principles, which hold that its software shouldn't be used to cause harm to people or violate human rights. Federal News Network’s Jason Miller first reported Google's move.

The bigger picture: Google has lately faced a series of conflicts between those ethical principles and major business opportunities, including a now-canceled AI drone project with the Pentagon and a secretive plan to launch a search engine in China. Just last week, Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, met with Pentagon officials to smooth over these tensions, according to The Washington Post.

What's next: The move comes days before the deadline for cloud bid submission and just as Microsoft is announcing bolstered cloud support for government data.

  • This leaves Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as the two most likely winners of the bidding war, per FNN. Microsoft and AWS have higher clearances to handle government data than Google, and AWS has long been viewed by competition as the Pentagon’s favored contender.

Go deeper

41 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.