Amazon's secure business

The e-commerce giant has become a major and controversial player in the defense and security sector, thanks to its data hosting subsidiary or connected videophones.

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John Edwards, a CIA official, speaks at a summit organized by the Amazon AWS affiliate in June 2017. You Tube / Amazon

This experience has been nothing less than a transformation for us. " On stage, in front of 10,000 people invited to an event organized by Amazon for its clients in the public sector, in Washington, in June 2018, Sean Roche praises the benefits of online data hosting services ( cloud or cloud computing) of the American firm. Except that Mr. Roche is not a customer like any other. He is the deputy head of innovation at the CIA.

To listen to him, the famous intelligence agency and sixteen other US pharmacies handling confidential information were right to sign, in 2013, a contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary specializing in data storage and services accessible on Internet. Gone are the "cacophony" of updating hundreds of servers installed in the premises; finished the authorization process that "Broke souls" employees by forcing them to wait months before testing software … Welcome to "Small teams of three people", who code " in the field " quickly reusable applications by CIA agents around the world … All the praise that John Roche's colleague John Edwards had already sung a year earlier at the previous edition of this event in June 2017 As for the security of this top-secret data, Mr. Roche shows the greatest serenity: "The cloud, even in its worst day, is more secure than a solution with internal servers. "

It seems far away the online bookstore, opened in 1995 …

"For the general public, Amazon is an e-commerce company. But you have to look at it differently : the group has become an important player in the defense sector »says independent consultant Stephen E. Arnold.

According to former consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, AWS wants to supplant traditional defense providers, such as the IBM manufacturer. This rise raises all the more criticism that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, assumes to collaborate with security forces: Amazon indirectly sells benefits to the immigration services of the administration of President Donald Trump, his facial recognition software were tested by two US law enforcement units, and its subsidiary Ring, which produces connected videophones, has forged partnerships with more than 500 US law enforcement agencies.


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