geert lovink on Wed, 29 Dec 2010 18:26:33 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Dave Winer: US govt a big user of Amazon web services

(OK, I am a long-term fan of Dave Winer, and have not fwd. each  
posting of him to nettime... but in this case it might be relevant. I  
do not mind if nettime will be a place for a while where we exchange  
relevant info and ideas about Wikileaks in a broader context... Here  
DW explains how he sees the dependencies of the US IT industry of the  
US government. An old idea but nonetheless good to remind each other  
that this is still the case. /geert)

Dave Winer: US govt a big user of Amazon web services

A couple of days ago Roland Boon, in a comment here, asked why not  
believe Amazon's explanation for why they cut off WikiLeaks. I  
explained that whether I believe or not isn't the question. It's  
whether I trust them that matters. And will I hold back on what I say  
about them for fear of being cut off?

That said, I think it's fairly obvious why Amazon cut them off. It's  
the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Let me explain...

Today I got a promotional email from Kay Kinton, Senior Public  
Relations Manager for Amazon Web Services, entitled "Amazon Web  
Services Year in Review." It contained a paragraph, quoted below, that  
explains how their government business grew in 2010.

"Government adoption of AWS grew significantly in 2010. The Recovery  
Accountability and Transparency Board became the first government-wide  
agency to migrate to a cloud-based environment when it moved to AWS in March 2010. Today we have nearly 20 government  
agencies leveraging AWS, and the U.S. federal government continues to  
be one of our fastest growing customer segments. The U.S. General  
Services Administration awarded AWS the ability to provide government  
agencies with cloud services through the government's cloud  
storefront, Additional AWS customers include,  
the Federal Register 2.0 at the National Archives, the  
project at DoE's National Renewable Energy Lab, the Supplemental  
Nutrition Assistance Program at USDA, and the Jet Propulsion  
Laboratory at NASA. The current AWS compliance framework covers FISMA,  
PCI DSS Level 1, ISO 27001, SAS70 type II, and HIPAA, and we continue  
to seek certifications and accreditations that make it easier for  
government agencies to benefit from AWS. To learn more about how AWS  
works with the federal government, visit: 

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.

Update: Of course most tech companies do business with the US  
government, and if they don't they probably want to. For example, a  
couple of weeks ago, a story came out about the Army equipping every  
soldier with an iPhone or Android phone. Not saying there's a  
connection, but a week later Apple banned the WikiLeaks app from their  

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