Amazon Web Services could soon hold millions of Britons’ biometric data
Amazon’s cloud service could soon be used by the government to store biometric data of millions of Britons, including fingerprints, DNA and facial-matching information.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Home Office has spent £300 million over the past decade on a project which aims to collate its police and immigration biometric databases, creating a centralised platform allowing law enforcement, border force and passport office staff easier more efficient access to the information.
The contract for this programme is reportedly still in the tender process, but it is understood that suppliers are being encouraged to use Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This has led to many, including the former Brexit Secretary David Davis to question why there appears to have been “a covert instruction to prefer one host over the other”.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “I see no objective reason for it. There might be one, but it’s not obvious to me.”
In response to the claims, the Home Office said that: “All contracts are awarded on the capability of the supplier to meet the requirements and provide value for money.”
AWS also responded, adding: “When customers, including the UK Government, use AWS they always own their data, their data stays in the AWS Region they choose, and it does not move without their consent. They can choose to encrypt their content for added security and content that has been encrypted is rendered useless without the applicable decryption keys.
“Because AWS has a world-class team of security experts, monitoring systems 24/7 to protect customer content, UK government departments are choosing AWS for their most sensitive workloads.”
AWS took over 11 per cent of the government’s cloud spending last year, representing around £16.8 million.