Amazon seems to do everything else. So why not pay it to look after this country’s intelligence secrets? That seems to be the thinking at GCHQ which – with its sister agencies MI5 and MI6 – has opted to entrust “Britain’s most classified material” to the US tech giant, said Sam Hall in The Daily Telegraph; or, more specifically, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), its cloud computing arm, in a deal reportedly worth between £500m and £1bn over the next ten years.
The new data storage system will “enable spies to share information from overseas more easily, and enhance the use of speech recognition and other technologies”. The system will also be accessible by other government departments, such as the Ministry of Defence. On the other hand, there will be serious questions “about the privacy and sovereignty implications of such material being hosted by a non-British company”.
Safeguards are being built in, reported the FT: the spy agencies’ data “will be held in Britain” and Amazon “will not have access to information held on the cloud platform”. Even so, the deal means a vast amount of the UK’s most secret security data will now be hosted by a single US tech company – and that is bound to “ignite concerns”.