Amazon vows to fight PRISM

Online bookseller Amazon has vowed to fight government orders to snoop on its networks using its PRISM set up.

Although few would care if the spooks knew what books they are reading, Amazon’s Web Services and cloud could be an interesting target for PRISM.

Speaking at a cloud computing panel yesterday, Terry Wise, head of global partner ecosystem for Amazon Web Services said the company will contact customers when it gets government requests for data stored in Amazon Web Services and will help customers fight such requests.

Wise has a good reason to say this. European customers, particularly those connected with government and business, will walk away from its cloud services in droves if they suspect US spooks are capable of raiding their data.

Wise said that customer and data privacy is one of the single most important things at Amazon. If a US entity is serving it with a legally binding subpoena, it contacted its customer and worked with that customer to fight it.

He told IT World that Amazon will do that proactively and help customers to comply with the subpoena or fight it.

Interestingly, Amazon is recommending that data should be encrypted so that not even the company can be forced to tell the spooks what it is.

However, as far as EU customers are concerned, it is probably better that they do not go near US cloud services and stick to something home grown.

There is also some conflict of interest, at least as far as Amazon is concerned. Amazon is building a huge cloud for the CIA. While that is going to be disconnected from Amazon’s cloud, it will be a lucrative money spinner for the company which might not want to provoke the security services too much.