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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at Google I/O 2017
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at Google I/O 2017. (Screenshot)

Google continues to find itself in some tricky positions as it tries to balance its desire for more cloud computing revenue against growing distrust of the federal government among its employees.

Bloomberg reported Thursday morning that earlier this year, nine prominent engineers in its cloud group refused to build a security feature known as an “air gap” for its cloud services, which is a requirement for military and intelligence cloud services. An air gap involves physically separating sensitive workloads from other regular workloads; on most cloud services, your workloads can run on the same server as another company’s, which generally isn’t a big deal for most applications but is considered too big a risk to take by military customers.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure offer this technology to their government customers, but it’s not clear if Google is still working on it after the mini-rebellion inside the cloud group. This all happened before the internal protests lodged over Google’s participation in Project Maven, which provided artificial intelligence technology to the Department of Defense.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

All this comes as the cloud industry is chasing the $10 billion JEDI contract, which will choose a single cloud vendor to provide services to the Department of Defense for up to 10 years. At the same time, tech companies are being forced to manage a growing backlash to the policies of the current administration among their employees, who are concerned that their products are being used in service of policies they abhor.

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