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Amazon Responds to WikiLeaks Reports

Amazon Web Services (AWS) late Thursday said it has not caved to political pressure when deciding to oust WikiLeaks from its cloud service. Rather, WikiLeaks violated the cloud provider's terms of service.

Various news organizations and blogs yesterday reported that the United States government pressured AWS to remove the WikiLeaks content from its site. While Senator Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., issued a statement blasting AWS for hosting the 250,000-plus classified State Department documents and cables, the company denied that political pressure had anything to do with its decision to bump WikiLeaks.

AWS also acknowledged that while there were unsuccessful DDOS attacks aimed at it, they were not the reason the WikiLeaks content was removed.  "AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed," the company said in a statement. "WikiLeaks was not following them."

For example, AWS terms of service state that "you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity."

U.S. government officials have warned that the classified data in the WikiLeaks documents could put lives in danger and compromise national security. AWS indicated there was little dispute that WikiLeaks didn't own the content and that the existence of that content did put people at risk.

 "We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS," the company said. "Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Dec 5, 2010

But you will let a book promoting sex with children stay on your site and that's not against your terms of service? It seems to me these silver tails will do and say anything to cover up the crimes they are conducting in the name of so-called democracy. I really hope amazon and any other company that try's to hide the truth should be named and shamed.

Sat, Dec 4, 2010

Wikileaks' staff is doing a job of keeping the governments in check, including, but not limited to, the US government. There's nothing new in this story - do you remember all and every human rights movement? I just hope they have and will post the documents of US enemies as well, for "checks and balances". On the other hand, it might be a waste of bandwidth. Everybody knows that they are violating human rights more than US do, nobody in sane mind can argue that Taliban, ayatollahs or corrupt African governments are cannibals. The problem is that no amount of public opinion can make them better, only military can. Back to Wikileaks - they're doing their job. It's time for US government and military to do their jobs with the same openness and efficiency as this group of volunteers do, instead of selling the "geopolitical situation" to corporations.

Fri, Dec 3, 2010 Jiri

100 of Thousands were/are being killed in Usraeli wars - any information to stop this genocide/lies is great - do not care about hurt ego of some US general. Amazon should promote information on the Internet - not censor it (like China). I do not trust Amazon - will choose others ...

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