Cloud Computing and Wikileaks: Was Amazon’s action justified?

Cloud Computing and Wikileaks: Was Amazon’s action justified?

Wikileaks has been grabbing headlines across the globe, and has divided the world into those who laud it for standing up to free speech and others who decry it as detrimental to the national security of the United States. Without being judgmental, we present some of the issues related with cloud computing that this drama has brought to light.

The Wikileaks controversy and the subsequent action taken by certain cloud computing service providers like Amazon has brought focus to the need for an industry-wide approach to service level agreements and codes of practice.

While Amazon said that Wikileaks had violated the terms of service and hence they were justified in denying service, there have also been criticism on its actions, with Dr. Joseph Reger, Chief Technology Officer for Fujitsu Technology Solutions, going on record saying,

Cloud computing’s reputation has been damaged.”

Dr. Reger said that Amazon’s action “is bad news for the new IT paradigm of cloud computing. If a provider can terminate its service that easily, then it is doing exactly what skeptics expect, putting the security and availability of cloud services into question.”

“Many potential customers for cloud computing services will, I fear, have been paying attention and will now be forced to reconsider whether they can afford to make their IT that dependent on a third party. Cloud-computing’s reputation has been damaged. For IT, this is the real tragedy,” he remarked.

Dr. Reger said that Wikileaks may have actually violated the terms of service but that was not something that Amazon should decide on, but rather a court of law. He said that this scenario had introduced a new threat to company data – while earlier they feared threats from hackers, now they would potentially fear the cloud computing service providers as well. He cautioned customers of cloud computing services to be extra careful when reviewing their service agreements with the providers of such services.

As for Amazon, it has responded to allegations of impropriety with the following statement on its website:

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. 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. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.

We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.

We look forward to continuing to serve our AWS customers and are excited about several new things we have coming your way in the next few months.”

By Sourya Biswas

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Taking the Technology Industry by Storm

InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Taking the Technology Industry by Storm

InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Five-part series details companies to watch across five essential technology sectors SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — InformationWeek released its list of “125 Vendors to Watch” in 2017. Selected by InformationWeek’s expert editorial team, the companies listed fall into one of five key themes: infrastructure, security, cloud, data management and…

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Connected Vehicles From cars to combines, the IoT market potential of connected vehicles is so expansive that it will even eclipse that of the mobile phone. Connected personal vehicles will be the final link in a fully connected IoT ecosystem. This is an incredibly important moment to capitalize on given how much time people spend…

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

The Wearable Personal Cloud Wearable tech is one avenue of technology that’s encouraging cloud connections and getting us all onto interconnected networks, and with the continued miniaturization and advancement of computing the types of wearable tech are always expanding and providing us with new opportunities. A few years ago, smartwatches were rather clunky devices with…

SWIFT Says Bank Hacks Set To Increase

SWIFT Says Bank Hacks Set To Increase

Bank Hacks Set To Increase SWIFT, whose messaging network is used by banks to send payment instructions worth trillions of dollars each day, said three clients were hacked over the summer and cyber attacks on banks are set to increase. The theft of $81 million in February from Bangladesh’s central bank using SWIFT messages rocked…

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Data Center Protection In April 2015, one of the world’s biggest jewelry heists occurred at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. Posing as workmen, the criminals entered the building through a lift shaft and cut through a 50cm-thick concrete wall with an industrial power drill. Once inside, the criminals had free and unlimited…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Multi-Cloud Integration Has Arrived

Multi-Cloud Integration Has Arrived

Multi-Cloud Integration Speed, flexibility, and innovation require multiple cloud services As businesses seek new paths to innovation, racing to market with new features and products, cloud services continue to grow in popularity. According to Gartner, 88% of total compute will be cloud-based by 2020, leaving just 12% on premise. Flexibility remains a key consideration, and…

5 Ways To Ensure Your Cloud Solution Is Always Operational

5 Ways To Ensure Your Cloud Solution Is Always Operational

Ensure Your Cloud Is Always Operational We have become so accustomed to being online that we take for granted the technological advances that enable us to have instant access to everything and anything on the internet, wherever we are. In fact, it would likely be a little disconcerting if we really mapped out all that…

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility A CIO friend of mine once told me that a hybrid cloud model enables him to “own the base, rent the spike” when it comes to unplanned events. Let’s face it – maintaining unused infrastructure for rare or random IT events is expensive and unnecessary in a cloud…

Report: Enterprise Cloud Computing Moves Into Mature Growth Phase

Report: Enterprise Cloud Computing Moves Into Mature Growth Phase

Verizon Cloud Report Enterprises using the cloud, even for mission-critical projects, is no longer new or unusual. It’s now firmly established as a reliable workhorse for an organization and one that can deliver great value and drive transformation. That’s according to a new report from Verizon entitled “State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016.” which…

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

What Is The Internet of Things? “We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”  – Scott Cook The Internet of Things (IOT) and Smart Systems are based on the notions of Sensors, Connectivity, People and Processes. We are creating a new world to view and measure anything around us through…

The Monstrous IoT Connected Cloud Market

The Monstrous IoT Connected Cloud Market

What’s Missing in the IoT? While the Internet of Things has become a popular concept among tech crowds, the consumer IoT remains fragmented. Top companies continue to battle to decide who will be the epicenter of the smart home of the future, creating separate ecosystems (like the iOS and Android smartphone market) in their wake.…

Cloud Computing Then & Now

Cloud Computing Then & Now

The Evolving Cloud  From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing. A Brief History Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…