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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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  • by Q-Hack! (37846) * on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:39PM (#34701448)

    That a business does what it thinks is good for its bottom line? On one hand we have an organization that is trying to bring down civilization as we know it and on the other, we have capitalism as usual. Think I will side with Amazon's decision on this one. WikiLeaks may think they are trying to expose corruption, but so far, I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:41PM (#34701488) Journal

    And Amazon is it? Why aren't we all making our own little clouds? Oh yeah, the ISPs are trying to stamp that out. I guess there can only be one.

  • by Ismellpoop (1949100) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#34701548)
    They can't even handle their own server farm? What does that say about technical competence of those employed by the government?
    And you would think in these days of leaked this and that the government would try and keep their data a little closer to home.
    AWS shut down wikileaks why can't they do the same for the US gov or al the very least do some snooping?
  • Re:Amazon Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dominion (3153) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:54PM (#34701712) Homepage

    U.S. federal government documents are not covered under copyright, so when you're talking about "ownership", there's no legal basis for this argument. Those documents, now leaked, are in the public domain. Wikileaks "owns" them just as much as anyone else.

    Also, this part:

    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.

    Is a really dangerous precedent for Amazon to set for themselves. If you're going to cancel members accounts based on not just the potential danger of known information held within, but on the possibility that information not yet discovered could potentially put someone in danger, that's making a decision based on an extraordinary amount of hypotheticals.

  • Re:Amazon Response (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:00PM (#34701802) Homepage

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

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

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:01PM (#34701822) Journal
    I don't know, what do you think? Let's look at the link from the OP [amazon.com] that lists the government usage of AWS.

    Do you think the government's recovery.org website is putting innocent people in jeopardy? Or perhaps the Open Energy Information Initiative (from the DOE)? Or are you thinking of the Department of Agriculture's website? Do you consider NASA's website to be harmful, since it contains the word 'jet propulsion' which sounds kind of like a weapon?

    People are getting too steamed up about the Wikileaks thing and need to chill. As far as we can tell, no one's died because of them, the US government really hasn't been hurt. On the flip side, nothing shocking has been revealed (and if you're thinking of replying to this post saying, "the US spied and pressured!" save your fingers, oh naive one). To an observer of international politics they are like candy, and I'm looking forward to the bank releases (which may actually be damaging), but so far it's just entertainment.

    Relax, world.
  • Re:This is dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ismellpoop (1949100) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:08PM (#34701918)
    And Congress is the epitome of honesty and they are constantly on the lookout for the best interest of Americans.
  • Re:Amazon Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:15PM (#34702002) Homepage Journal

    Especially as the statement you quote is an outright lie by Amazon. While this "fact" is a standard pro-Government talking point, it simply is utterly untrue that Wikileaks is releasing 250,000 leaked cables. They are, indeed, only releasing those that have gone through a review process (and they're involving a small group of selected, highly respected, journalists, who are familiar with the redacting process, to do this review.)

    The fact Amazon.com needs to resort to a bald-faced lie to distance itself from the allegations of government pressure says a great deal about the truth here.

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