Are Amazon and the CIA doing business?

Amazon can already track your book purchases, recommend titles based on your latest browsing history, and is annoyingly great at peppering the websites you see with ads based on your shopping habits. So would it surprise you to learn that the online bookseller is getting into the intelligence game?

Federal Computer Week, a magazine that covers technology and the federal government, is reporting that Amazon has signed a contract with the CIA, agreeing to help the agency develop cloud computing technology over the next decade. While the magazine’s anonymous sources confirmed the $600-million deal, Amazon, America’s largest online book retailer, and the CIA both declined to confirm it.

“As a general rule, the CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values, or the scope of work,” a CIA spokesperson told FCW.

If the details reported are true, it will be a game-changer for both the online retailer and the Central Intelligence Agency. Amazon Web Services will help the CIA to build a “private cloud,” which means the computing technologies will be hosted at the CIA’s own data center, allaying fears about the security of intelligence information online. The Amazon-built cloud will help the CIA keep up with emerging technologies. While these specifics are a bit confusing for the non-computer-literate, suffice it to say the deal is big news for both entities. There is a lot of competition in the business of cloud computing, and this deal, according to Business Insider, establishes Amazon as a major player.


The spooks are not likely to confirm the secret partnership any time soon -- they are trained not to, after all.


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