Amazon secures deal with UK spy agencies to host top secret intelligence in its cloud service

Amazon’s cloud service, AWS, has secured a deal with the UK’s three spy agencies to host classified intelligence in partnership that is aimed at boosting the use of AI in espionage.

The cloud system will be used by GCHQ, the UK’s signals intelligence service as well as MI5 and MI6 and other Ministry of Defence departments (MoD) during joint operations.

There are expectations that the new contract is likely to cause concerns over the vast amount of the UK’s most top secret data Amazon will host in its cloud service.

However, Amazon will not have access to any of the information or data held on the platform.

Experts estimate the contract to be worth £500 million to £1 billion over the next decade but specific details about the deal are closely guarded and were not intended to be made public.

READ MORE: Viral TikTok video shows how much data Amazon keeps on its users

Despite AWS being a US-based company, all of the agencies’ data will be held in the UK, according to the Financial Times.

The new service will be designed to enable UK espionage agents to share data more easily from field locations overseas and power specialist applications including speed recognition which can decipher and translate particular voices from intercept voice recordings.

It will also allow GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 to conduct faster searches on each other’s databases.

Ex UK National Cyber Security Centre head Ciaran Martin, who stepped down from his role last year, said that the contract would help the security services “get information from huge amounts of data in minutes, rather than in weeks and months,” he told the Financial Times.

“This is yet another worrying public-private partnership, agreed in secret,” he said.

“If this contract goes through, Amazon will be positioned as the go-to cloud provider for the world’s intelligence agencies. Amazon has to answer for itself which countries’ security services it would be prepared to work for.”

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