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Censorship Government The Internet United States Your Rights Online

Amazon Cloud Not Big Enough For Feds and WikiLeaks 204

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-out-of-town dept.
theodp writes "Dave Winer was already upset that Amazon Web Services (AWS) pulled the plug on WikiLeaks for posting classified US government documents. So, he wasn't exactly thrilled to receive email three weeks later from an AWS PR flack boasting that 'the US federal government continues to be one of our fastest growing customer segments.' Writes Winer: 'It makes perfect sense that the US government is a big customer of Amazon's web services. It also makes perfect sense that Amazon wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that business. There might not have even been a phone call, it might not have been necessary.' Amazon, which wowed the White House with its ability to scale video slideshow site Animoto, was able to get its foot in the Federal door as a Recovery.gov redesign subcontractor."
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Amazon Cloud Not Big Enough For Feds and WikiLeaks

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  • Nudge (Score:1, Informative)

    by C_amiga_fan (1960858) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:43PM (#34701522)

    About a month ago the White House called TRUtv and told them to stop airing Governor Ventura's show about FEMA internment camps* on TV or their website. TRUtv complied since they were also told if they don't cooperate they'd be audited by the IRS. It makes me wonder if Amazon is under similar pressure: "Pull wikileaks or else we'll quit using your cloud services and audit you."

    *
    * http://vimeo.com/17158872 [vimeo.com]

  • Amazon Response (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:45PM (#34701564) Journal
    I've been upset at Amazon since the 1-click patent, but if you're going to delve into conspiracy theories, you might as well give Amazon's side as well (it's at least as likely to be true as what is said by Dave Winer, who "was already upset that Amazon Web Services (AWS) pulled the plug on WikiLeak").

    Amazon response found here [amazon.com], excerpt quoted for the lazy:

    AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.

    Judge for yourself what is true, but be not hasty in judgement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:55PM (#34701720)

    I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

    You are blind. Here is a short list of things you should be able to see, but cannot.

    • United States trained Iraqi torture brigade (google: iraqi wolf brigade)
    • Swedish judicial system is a puppet that accepts instruction from United States (google: pirate bay us cables)
    • United States diplomats tasked with collecting DNA samples (among other things) from their foreign counter-parts (google: us cables dna)
    • United States partaking in secret military action and lying to American and Yemenese citizens about it (google: us cables yemen)
    • Everything else I've forgotten about (this is an extemporaneously generated list, afterall)
    • Everything that hasn't yet been released (the vast majority of the leaked cables)

    If you have trouble with the google (most blind people do), let me know and I'll spend a bunch of my time collecting links, analyzing them, distilling information, and chewing your food for you.

  • Re:Amazon Response (Score:5, Informative)

    by dominion (3153) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:07PM (#34701910) Homepage

    Yeah, but it is perfectly fine precedent for WikiLeaks to judge that they aren't putting anyone at risk.

    Less than 1% of the cables have been released. Wikileaks is working with around a dozen news services from around the world to sift through the data. Wikileaks gave The Pentagon the option to redact sensitive information, and they refused.

    There has not been a full dump of the 250,000 cables, they have been slowly releasing them alongside the news agencies they're working with (New York Times, The Guardian, etc). What we've seen so far is only a small fraction of the cables.

    The idea that Wikileaks has been indiscriminate with releasing the cables is simply not true.

  • Re:Amazon Response (Score:5, Informative)

    by amentajo (1199437) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:00PM (#34702568)

    A bald-faced lie? They said Wikileaks was violating several of the terms of service. One of the terms of service is "don't use our service to break US law". It's pretty clear that Wikileaks was violating US law. Ergo, not a lie.

    Nearly every legal expert who has spoken on this topic has argued that Wikileaks has not violated US law.

    At any rate, you're nitpicking over the wording used by the Amazon representative. Perhaps "doesn't own or otherwise control the rights to the classified content" was not the clearest way to put it, but unless you're deliberately being dense, the meaning is clear: Wikileaks is not permitted by US law to distribute these documents. Clearly, distributing documents in violation of US law qualifies under "don't use our service to break US law".

    Publishing classified documents is not illegal, unless the documents fit certain criteria that (so far) these leaks do not. The person or organization who leaks the documents does have some liability, but not Wikileaks. As has been said many times before, Wikileaks is analogous to the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers incident.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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