Just Weeks After Cutting Off Wikileaks, Amazon Brags About How US Federal Gov't Is One Of Its Biggest AWS Customers?

from the must-be-a-coincidence,-huh? dept

While Senator Joe Lieberman took credit for pressuring Amazon to stop hosting Wikileaks content via its Amazon Web Services infrastructure, Amazon insisted that government pressure had nothing to do with it. Still, it seems rather odd that just weeks after booting Wikileaks, Amazon sent out a press release bragging about how the US federal government is one of its biggest customers (found via Slashdot). Now, obviously, lots of tech companies do plenty of business with the federal government, but the timing of the two events at least creates an impression that Amazon will kick you off its service if the federal government disapproves of what you've done (even if no legal charges have been filed against you). Again, no one is saying that Amazon has no right to deny service to whomever it wishes, but it does seem a bit odd from a PR standpoint, and raises questions about how much anyone should trust working with Amazon web services. I know it's making me reconsider my own use of the platform for various projects.
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Filed Under: amazon web services, us government
Companies: amazon, wikileaks


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  1. icon
    jakerome (profile), 30 Dec 2010 @ 1:01am

    I don't get it

    There's so much understanding around here that with user generated content & 3rd party providers, things are automated and content isn't screened before getting posted. Now one customer realizes that they can't handle their own hosting due to overwhelmed servers, and they sign up for AWS using the automated system. Nearly immediately, the account is terminated. Now, this wasn't some long-time customer that AWS turned its back on... nope, it was a brand new customer that only decided to purchase the service when their other options had failed. Of course, WL surely knew they'd get booted in short order, and using their PR savvy played it for all the sympathy they could get it.

    That WL managed to snow the "lamestream media" is understandable since they just don't understand user generated (or user uploaded) content. But Techdirt knows better. There's a certain willingness to ignore salient facts in the WL case in order to cast some service providers (AWS being the top target) as villains, when the very openness of these turnkey solutions is used in other cases to explain why 3rd party providers should have no liability.

    WL was never an AWS customer, in the sense that they never paid a bill. They wanted to buy AWS services, and AWS turned 'em done. That Sen. Lieberman was quick enough to make a politically advantageous yet effectively useless demand was luck on his part, as he now can falsely claim that he forced AWS to shut off WL. This is almost certainly a fraud, and I am honestly perplexed that Techdirt would perpetuate JL self-serving BS.

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