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Amazon Cloud Not Big Enough For Feds and WikiLeaks

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-out-of-town dept.

Censorship 204

theodp writes "Dave Winer was already upset that Amazon Web Services (AWS) pulled the plug on WikiLeaks for posting classified US government documents. So, he wasn't exactly thrilled to receive email three weeks later from an AWS PR flack boasting that 'the US federal government continues to be one of our fastest growing customer segments.' Writes Winer: 'It makes perfect sense that the US government is a big customer of Amazon's web services. It also makes perfect sense that Amazon wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that business. There might not have even been a phone call, it might not have been necessary.' Amazon, which wowed the White House with its ability to scale video slideshow site Animoto, was able to get its foot in the Federal door as a Recovery.gov redesign subcontractor."

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The bottom line of business is to make money... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701426)

News at 11!

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (1, Flamebait)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701464)

...and the bottom line of government is to make money for business.

Democracy is for everyone who can afford it.

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (2)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701780)

...and the bottom line of government is to make money for business.
I think their main motivation is to make money for themselves.

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702370)

I think their main motivation is to make money for themselves.

Take a look at the salaries of the top people in government, from the President on down, and compare it to executive pay in major corporations. If you want to get rich, there are a hell of a lot more direct ways to do it than running for office.

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702522)

really?

in both scenarios you're missing something: those people tend to have extra money coming in from extra sources.

think a CEO is just paid in salary? He's usually paid in shares, free benefits, extra vacation time, etc, all these things add up to extra money.

Think a president is just paid in salary? He's paid in money for any business which he owns any portion of no matter how trivial, and also via anonymous donations from the party, and also via the party paying for everything for him. You don't think 400k a year covers all of his travel, do you? You don't think he pays for his own secret service cover and/or escorts, do you?

No, in both situations it's the bottom line that pays for it.

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702552)

Salaries aren't the main incentive in executive pay in major corporations. Ditto for Presidents.

On the other hand, I don't know many Presidents or Congressmen who retired to poverty.

Re:The bottom line of business is to make money... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702554)

That's if you're only counting above-the-table pay and monetary benefits. Under-the-table and non-monetarily they probably do quite well. Why else would individuals willingly pay out millions of their own money to run a campaign that may not work?

If you say civic duty I've got a bridge or two to sell you.

Re:Govt to make money for Business (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702124)

Isn't the House of Representatives composed of Amazon, Ebay, Banks, RIAA, ...wait, you mean we elect people-persons and not legal-persons? I thought RIAA was doing just fine as Majority Whip.

Should anybody really be supprised... (1, Insightful)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701448)

That a business does what it thinks is good for its bottom line? On one hand we have an organization that is trying to bring down civilization as we know it and on the other, we have capitalism as usual. Think I will side with Amazon's decision on this one. WikiLeaks may think they are trying to expose corruption, but so far, I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701586)

You're missing the point of Wikileaks' leaks of our government and military documents. It's not entirely about finding corruption. They're showing us everything we, as U.S. citizens, should be entitled to knowing.

This is dumb (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701782)

What exactly are you entitled to know exactly and what is your basis for such an assertion?

Nuclear codes? Secret discussions with world leaders? Communications from politicians in radical Muslim countries trying to help us out?

While secrecy can be abused (that's why Congressional oversight exists in America btw), it is needed.

Re:This is dumb (3, Insightful)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701918)

And Congress is the epitome of honesty and they are constantly on the lookout for the best interest of Americans.

Re:This is dumb (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702016)

The fact that congress suck so badly at its job is the fault of the people who elect congress.

When people are stupid and lazy. They get the government they deserve.

So either STFU about it and 'Grab yo gubment check' or take a stand and give up free time to fight. Your choice.

Re:This is dumb (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702156)

The fact that congress suck so badly at its job is the fault of the people who elect congress.

Yes, because after they're already elected, the people have so much power over them, right? Well, that's not to say that you aren't right about fighting, though. Even if most people were lazy (and they are), the government is still mostly at fault for its own corrupt actions.

Re:This is dumb (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702434)

We do have power. We do not use it. We re elect almost everyone. No matter how much they screw up. We allow politicians to serve for decades. To have a career in politics. The fact that you believe that you are powerless just shows how much they have trained your brain to think the way they want it to. You are powerless and the government is here to protect you.

Re:This is dumb (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702510)

We do have power.

I was speaking more of the power to convince them to represent the people than anything else. Sure, not voting them in again helps, but once they're in, they have little obligation to listen to the people unless it is absolutely necessary. They can just put on a little show, and those with naive minds will likely believe that they are doing a good job.

The fact that you believe that you are powerless just shows how much they have trained your brain to think the way they want it to.

You misunderstand. I don't believe that the people are powerless, but many people actually do believe that they are powerless.

Re:This is dumb (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703200)

The power comes from having a people who do not re elect fucktards. Once fucktards get only one chance to serve they will not act like fucktards.

Those elect have total power over those they elect IF they choose to use that right.

Re:This is dumb (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703166)

Given that we've pretty much cleaned house in the last ten years and it's still business as usual up there, I question the practicality of your assertion. Even if you came up with hundreds of reputable, qualified independents, how would they run? Even if they were people everyone in America would get behind, how would America hear about them? Elections are about money, and the money game is dominated by the Democrats and Republicans. I think the institution is the problem, not the individuals, and I think that the institution is more powerful than you think.

Are people really the problem? (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703054)

Even if most people were lazy (and they are), the government is still mostly at fault for its own corrupt actions.

Are they? I think that is a lazy misconception that hides the truth. Your thesis is that people are too lazy to be bothered with watching the working of their own government.

Do you really think that most people have the time to follow in detail every piece of legislation that is run through local, state, and federal government agencies? Keep in mind that to do this, you need to watch the activities of the house, senate, and Executive branches, and monitor the rulings of the Judiciary at all levels? The bills that are going through these legislative bodies are so long that the professional full time elected representatives that vote on them don't have time to fully read and comprehend them, and they only have to worry about the laws and bills that pas through their jurisdiction.

On top of that, the average guy still has to work a job/go to school/raise a family. I am interested in all the shenanigans happening on public office, and I freely admit to having only a cursory knowledge of things, even when I actively seek that information out.

The real problem isn't that people are lazy or ignorant, but that there is so much happening that you cannot possibly follow it all. Calling people lazy, is well, lazy, and fails to address the real problem: The government needs to be much more open for a non-professional (politician or lobbyist) to participate.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701720)

I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

You are blind. Here is a short list of things you should be able to see, but cannot.

  • United States trained Iraqi torture brigade (google: iraqi wolf brigade)
  • Swedish judicial system is a puppet that accepts instruction from United States (google: pirate bay us cables)
  • United States diplomats tasked with collecting DNA samples (among other things) from their foreign counter-parts (google: us cables dna)
  • United States partaking in secret military action and lying to American and Yemenese citizens about it (google: us cables yemen)
  • Everything else I've forgotten about (this is an extemporaneously generated list, afterall)
  • Everything that hasn't yet been released (the vast majority of the leaked cables)

If you have trouble with the google (most blind people do), let me know and I'll spend a bunch of my time collecting links, analyzing them, distilling information, and chewing your food for you.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702078)

You are also blind. Releasing documents that should be released is one thing. What Wikileaks did though was release the stuff that should have been released and much, much more. Releasing shit that needed to stay secret is not reporting. I think that the internet and pirate hackers getting info the people need to know is wonderful. Julian is a whiny little anti american anti capitalist bitch who is just out to destroy, He has no integrity at all. Fuck him.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702164)

Releasing shit that needed to stay secret is not reporting.

Such as? I'd rather take my chances than continue on as we are now.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702338)

I agree that wikileaks is a good thing, but have you played Cablegate: The Game [slashdot.org] ? Try it.
There's a lot of bullcrap in those documents all right. Sometimes I wonder why those diplomat guys even bother putting it on paper.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702268)

What Wikileaks did though was release the stuff that should have been released and much, much more.

What is some of this "much, much more" you're referring to? Be specific.

Releasing shit that needed to stay secret is not reporting.

Which is exactly the argument that has always been used against reporters who release information that the government finds embarrassing. You must be very proud of yourself, keeping company with the likes of Harding and Nixon.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702502)

So releasing the documents of the secret communications between the US and the Saudis that they want Irans nuclear program taken out is a good thing? No need for one country to be able to discuss things with us in private. No good can come of it.

I am sure you have already heard of this particular one. You just choose to write it off or ignore it. Just because an organization dose some things you agree with is no reason to forgive them everything.

So. Are you ignorant of the facts or just a fool?

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702670)

I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

You are blind. Here is a short list of things you should be able to see, but cannot.

  • United States trained Iraqi torture brigade (google: iraqi wolf brigade)
  • Swedish judicial system is a puppet that accepts instruction from United States (google: pirate bay us cables)
  • United States diplomats tasked with collecting DNA samples (among other things) from their foreign counter-parts (google: us cables dna)
  • United States partaking in secret military action and lying to American and Yemenese citizens about it (google: us cables yemen)
  • Everything else I've forgotten about (this is an extemporaneously generated list, afterall)
  • Everything that hasn't yet been released (the vast majority of the leaked cables)

If you have trouble with the google (most blind people do), let me know and I'll spend a bunch of my time collecting links, analyzing them, distilling information, and chewing your food for you.

What part of your pathetic list constitutes corruption?

Every item on your silly list looks like looking after American interests to me.
Do you thing other countries DON'T do these things?

Show me the cables about lining their own pockets with huge sums of money. Then we can talk corruption.

Until then, pretty much everyone yawned and the gossip in the cables. Even Al Jazeera yawned.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701754)

The wikileaks documents showed Hillary was stealing credit card numbers from foreign diplomats
Is that not corruption?
WikiLeaks also shows the American and European governments used money, threats, secrecy, and even espionage to advance their 'climate' agenda at the COP15 global-warming summit in Copenhagen last year.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701856)

...Hillary was stealing credit card numbers from foreign diplomats...

What? Campaign season is just around the corner. You think she can afford all those hats [zcache.com] on her salary?

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702062)

If you haven't "seen" the corruption that exists by now then I doubt anyone mentioning it to you will sway you:

-Shoving USA-style IP laws onto Spain
-Bribing, threatening, and then withholding millions in aid to Ecuador and Bolivia so they'd agree to the Copenhagen Accord. But Saudi Arabia gets a free pass, because we need their oil.
-At the urging of the Afghan Government, the US State Dept pressured The Washington Post into watering down a story about security contractor DynCorp (who were commissioned to train the Afghan police forces), funded by USA taxpayers, bought young male sex slaves for Afghan cops in a "batca bazzi" party. It's a
-Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, is on the CIA payroll and a major drug dealer.
-The US Government lied to the American people about its activities in Yemen.
-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered American diplomats to collect information on foreign officials and diplomats
-They're moving prisoners out of Guantanamo to foreign prisons.
-Under reporting deaths in Afghanistan. It's not going nearly as well as they've said it has. That's lying to the American people.
-Diplomats know that the Saudi Arabians are the primary donors to Al-Queada. Aren't they an ally? Isn't our "strong military presence" in the area supposed to stop that sort of thing?
-The CIA pressured Spain into dropping investigations into the killing of José Couso, a Spanish journalist, in Iraq by American troops.
-Covering up the Associated Press journalists and innocent bystanders that were all killed by a US helicopter gunfire.

Plus there's plenty of examples of the USA knowing that others are doing blatantly illegal things, like
The Shell Oil Company claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to every movement of politicians. Ann Pickard, then Shell's vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

This is just a small amount of what has been exposed. No corruption please....

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702184)

But, what about all of those unnamed leaks that should have stayed secret? I think the much better solution would be for the government to tell the people when it has been naughty.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34703088)

Like they are doing now on their own? =p

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

Ex Machina (10710) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702472)

WikiLeaks may think they are trying to expose corruption, but so far, I haven't seen the corruption they think exists.

How about the top story there right now?

Confidential documents related to the World Health Organization Expert Working Group on innovative financing for research and development surfaced today, revealing the group's thinking as well as pharmaceutical industry thinking about the WHO process. The documents immediately raised concern about possible undue access to the process by industry; the WHO told Intellectual Property Watch the industry group was not supposed to have the documents.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702548)

Dude, just drop the "-H" from you handle.

Business does what it thinks is good for its bottom line not national interest? On one hand we have an organization that is a critical part to sustaining our civilization with some truth (politicians are mouthy fools) as we have never been allowed to know it and on the other, we have pseudo-capitalism as usual ignoring The USA Constitution for profits. Think I will consider it a piss-poor decision on this one. WikiLeaks does not think they are trying to report and leave the thinking up to the citizens of a democracy. So far, I have seen the corruption of freedoms for avoiding embarrassment and lies that hurt USA security.

Re:Should anybody really be supprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702764)

> but so far, I haven't seen the corruption they think exists

Huh, maybe you are an idiot and you still don't know it.

Consider that. Think hard.

You mean there's only one cloud? (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701488)

And Amazon is it? Why aren't we all making our own little clouds? Oh yeah, the ISPs are trying to stamp that out. I guess there can only be one.

Re:You mean there's only one cloud? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702174)

Why aren't we all making our own little clouds?

Fart jokes. They never go out of style.

Nudge (1, Informative)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701522)

About a month ago the White House called TRUtv and told them to stop airing Governor Ventura's show about FEMA internment camps* on TV or their website. TRUtv complied since they were also told if they don't cooperate they'd be audited by the IRS. It makes me wonder if Amazon is under similar pressure: "Pull wikileaks or else we'll quit using your cloud services and audit you."

*
* http://vimeo.com/17158872 [vimeo.com]

Re:Nudge (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701872)

About a month ago the White House called TRUtv and told them to stop airing Governor Ventura's show about FEMA internment camps* on TV or their website.

I also heard they told them to stop airing the show about how the Reptilians and the Illuminati were the ones behind 9/11.

Re:Nudge (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701912)

About a month ago the White House called TRUtv and told them to stop airing Governor Ventura's show about FEMA internment camps* on TV or their website. TRUtv complied since they were also told if they don't cooperate they'd be audited by the IRS. It makes me wonder if Amazon is under similar pressure: "Pull wikileaks or else we'll quit using your cloud services and audit you."

[citation needed]

No..., citing another web site that simply makes the same unsubstantiated claims is not a credible source. Please readjust your foil hat and try again.

Look I'm on the side of Wikileaks and I am just as upset as the next thinking person at how easy it is to buy influence from the federal government, but the bat-shit-crazy conspiracy theories only take a way from any intelligent discourse on the matter.

Re:Nudge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701998)

bat-shit-crazy conspiracy theories only take a way from any intelligent discourse on the matter....so when the US suspect a terrorist with no credible proof how come noone calls them bat shit crazy?

Re:Nudge (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702086)

Maybe if the nutters weren't constantly polluting the discourse with their constant false cries of wolf maybe more people would?

Re:Nudge (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702584)

bat-shit-crazy conspiracy theories only take a way from any intelligent discourse on the matter....so when the US suspect a terrorist with no credible proof how come noone calls them bat shit crazy?

Actually, there are a lot of us who would level that claim. The whole "culture of fear" that our "leaders" are using to manipulate the masses is given plenty of air, here and elsewhere.

Re:Nudge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702916)

then you need to NOT use the wikipeadia citieation request.

On wikipedia, that would qualify as a valid citation, and that's when wikifiddlers bother to cite anything at all.

Re:Nudge (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703222)

[citation needed] Here: Governor Ventura stated in a radio interview why the episode was pulled: He talked to TRUtv, they revealed they had received a call and were told to yank the episode, or be audited. The last part may have been an empty threat nevertheless it had the desired result. TRUtv is afraid to air the episode a second time, and they pulled it off their website.

As for the episode's content, even if it's 100% whackjob fiction, it does not matter. (1) It's not as if this country has never used internment camps before. Just talk to an American from the 1940s who found themselves arrested & thrown into one. (2) This is a case of government doing what it is explicitly forbidden to do (not block free speech or press).

Re:Nudge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701920)

No such pressure is needed. Every gov't contract has riders about unauthorized distribution/export of classified, defense, and technology data. If they host something like that, their contract is over, period.

Re:Nudge (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701926)

About a month ago the White House called TRUtv and told them to stop airing Governor Ventura's show about FEMA internment camps* on TV or their website.

I didn't suppose you have anything resembling a reliable source for this claim about pressure from the White House on the wackos at TRUtv? (No, claims by Alex Jones don't count as reliable, sorry.)

The FEMA camps and coffins BS was debunked long ago [popularmechanics.com] . Of course, to conspiracy theory dingbats, that just means they got to Popular Mechanics too. That's the beauty of the big conspiracy theory: it's unfalsifiable.

On the other hand. Amazon deciding the the feds are a more profitable customer than WikiLeaks doesn't take any deep conspiracy theory to explain it

Predicted future news: (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701536)

Nepotism and corruption remain major factors in business decisions the world over.

Re:Predicted future news: (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701980)

While you might be right I'd like to see how this qualifies as either.

And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (2, Insightful)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701548)

They can't even handle their own server farm? What does that say about technical competence of those employed by the government?
And you would think in these days of leaked this and that the government would try and keep their data a little closer to home.
AWS shut down wikileaks why can't they do the same for the US gov or al the very least do some snooping?

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701638)

They can't even handle their own server farm?

Because the government NEVER contracts out ANYTHING. Its all in house right?

No seriously, where have you been?

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701684)

Then did it go through a proper tender with competing companies bidding the contract or was it just one of those back-alley deals?

Find out for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701800)

Then did it go through a proper tender with competing companies bidding the contract or was it just one of those back-alley deals?

Seriously, have you ever heard of google?

They have this thing called a "seach engine, it's like a giant database that you can query to find information like this (bid requests and such for this type of thing are made public and posted online), instead of just asking some stranger on an obscure software discussion forum.

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701682)

They can't even handle their own server farm? What does that say about technical competence of those employed by the government?

And you would think in these days of leaked this and that the government would try and keep their data a little closer to home.

They do! However, they probably determined it's cheaper to move some of their non-sensitive sites to Amazon EC2 (not AWS) and consolidate their sensitive servers into less data centers.

AWS shut down wikileaks why can't they do the same for the US gov or al the very least do some snooping?

One of these organizations has boatloads of money. Which do you think it is?

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702464)

They do! However, they probably determined it's cheaper to move some of their non-sensitive sites to Amazon EC2 (not AWS) and consolidate their sensitive servers into less data centers.

And it's probably easier for the US Gov to censor stuff if it isn't hosting it.

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702096)

1) Amazon AWS cannot be used as a FIPS compliant data store even for encrypted volumes or backups and basically is useless for anything but providing open-bid competitive remote storage/access for public data sources. That is unless they built an entirely new facility for dealing with US Gov. At the time I toured one of the AWS facilities there was absolutely no way they could meet FIPS and they had no intention of trying.

2) The US gov could build a private cloud, as soon as they realize that no matter how many contractors they bring in versus having in house staff tell them, the shit isn't going to magically drop in price to anything but a multi-million dollar project due to NIST/FIPS requirements for site redundancy and DR and trying to integrate those requirements with real-world virtual server environments and SAN.

(Coming from an (ex-) civilian public servant. Ticking anonymous. :)

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702216)

I don't know about you, but I'd rather the government not be spending money on maintaining an infrastructure that industry can do far more cost effectively.

Re:And why exactly is the US gov using AWS? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702276)

things probably changed but back in the day it took permission from God to buy a server. and months of waiting. one time at one base they spent $200,000 on new switches that sat around for a year because the project to install them wasn't funded. and you can't keep the money for next year.

AWS is awesome. you pay Amazon a fee and you get flexibility. Clinton and Bush tried to fix things but the government unions kill any reform attempt

Money (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703126)

They can't even handle their own server farm? What does that say about technical competence of those employed by the government?

Nothing, really, I believe that the reason that the government is farming out hosting duties is to consolidate the thousands of little servers that are hosted and maintained by separate agencies and departments together. It is just a change to save the cost of hosting a distributed mass of servers.

Amazon Response (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701564)

I've been upset at Amazon since the 1-click patent, but if you're going to delve into conspiracy theories, you might as well give Amazon's side as well (it's at least as likely to be true as what is said by Dave Winer, who "was already upset that Amazon Web Services (AWS) pulled the plug on WikiLeak").

Amazon response found here [amazon.com] , excerpt quoted for the lazy:

AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our 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.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.

Judge for yourself what is true, but be not hasty in judgement.

Re:Amazon Response (2)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701656)

And the government doesn't put innocent people in jeopardy? Or is the government bound by the TOS or are they once again exempt from rules they make for others to live by?

Re:Amazon Response (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701822)

I don't know, what do you think? Let's look at the link from the OP [amazon.com] that lists the government usage of AWS.

Do you think the government's recovery.org website is putting innocent people in jeopardy? Or perhaps the Open Energy Information Initiative (from the DOE)? Or are you thinking of the Department of Agriculture's website? Do you consider NASA's website to be harmful, since it contains the word 'jet propulsion' which sounds kind of like a weapon?

People are getting too steamed up about the Wikileaks thing and need to chill. As far as we can tell, no one's died because of them, the US government really hasn't been hurt. On the flip side, nothing shocking has been revealed (and if you're thinking of replying to this post saying, "the US spied and pressured!" save your fingers, oh naive one). To an observer of international politics they are like candy, and I'm looking forward to the bank releases (which may actually be damaging), but so far it's just entertainment.

Relax, world.

Re:Amazon Response (5, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701712)

U.S. federal government documents are not covered under copyright, so when you're talking about "ownership", there's no legal basis for this argument. Those documents, now leaked, are in the public domain. Wikileaks "owns" them just as much as anyone else.

Also, this part:

Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren't putting innocent people in jeopardy.

Is a really dangerous precedent for Amazon to set for themselves. If you're going to cancel members accounts based on not just the potential danger of known information held within, but on the possibility that information not yet discovered could potentially put someone in danger, that's making a decision based on an extraordinary amount of hypotheticals.

Re:Amazon Response (3, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701802)

Yeah, but it is perfectly fine precedent for WikiLeaks to judge that they aren't putting anyone at risk.

Re:Amazon Response (5, Informative)

dominion (3153) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701910)

Yeah, but it is perfectly fine precedent for WikiLeaks to judge that they aren't putting anyone at risk.

Less than 1% of the cables have been released. Wikileaks is working with around a dozen news services from around the world to sift through the data. Wikileaks gave The Pentagon the option to redact sensitive information, and they refused.

There has not been a full dump of the 250,000 cables, they have been slowly releasing them alongside the news agencies they're working with (New York Times, The Guardian, etc). What we've seen so far is only a small fraction of the cables.

The idea that Wikileaks has been indiscriminate with releasing the cables is simply not true.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702246)

The idea that Wikileaks has been indiscriminate with releasing the cables is simply not true.

Erm, this time. The last release, not so true. Glad to see that they *have* learned something from that debacle though.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702654)

I thought that the Pentagon investigation of the war docs concluded that the release as performed by Wikileaks did not put anyone in danger?

Re:Amazon Response (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702618)

Wikileaks gave The Pentagon the option to redact sensitive information, and they refused.

Pentagon actually did reply, claiming everything wikileaks had was sensitive.
 
/ducks

Re:Amazon Response (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702002)

Especially as the statement you quote is an outright lie by Amazon. While this "fact" is a standard pro-Government talking point, it simply is utterly untrue that Wikileaks is releasing 250,000 leaked cables. They are, indeed, only releasing those that have gone through a review process (and they're involving a small group of selected, highly respected, journalists, who are familiar with the redacting process, to do this review.)

The fact Amazon.com needs to resort to a bald-faced lie to distance itself from the allegations of government pressure says a great deal about the truth here.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702314)

A bald-faced lie? They said Wikileaks was violating several of the terms of service. One of the terms of service is "don't use our service to break US law". It's pretty clear that Wikileaks was violating US law. Ergo, not a lie.

At any rate, you're nitpicking over the wording used by the Amazon representative. Perhaps "doesn't own or otherwise control the rights to the classified content" was not the clearest way to put it, but unless you're deliberately being dense, the meaning is clear: Wikileaks is not permitted by US law to distribute these documents. Clearly, distributing documents in violation of US law qualifies under "don't use our service to break US law".

They did not say that Wikileaks has published 250,000 documents, they said that Wikileaks is publishing 250,000 documents. That does not contradict your statement; "is publishing" is clearly present tense and indicates an ongoing process. Furthermore, just because you are convinced that the redaction and review process that Wikileaks is using is sufficient and won't miss anything does not mean Amazon must also be convinced the process is sufficient.

Anyone who takes a moment to actually read Amazon's terms of service will see that Amazon didn't need government pressure to kick Wikileaks off of AWS.

Do you really think Wikileaks should be allowed to agree to terms of service, and then intentionally violate those terms of service? If so, then you must also permit any entity to do so, which of course invalidates the entire concept of terms of service. I really hope that is not your goal.

Re:Amazon Response (4, Informative)

amentajo (1199437) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702568)

A bald-faced lie? They said Wikileaks was violating several of the terms of service. One of the terms of service is "don't use our service to break US law". It's pretty clear that Wikileaks was violating US law. Ergo, not a lie.

Nearly every legal expert who has spoken on this topic has argued that Wikileaks has not violated US law.

At any rate, you're nitpicking over the wording used by the Amazon representative. Perhaps "doesn't own or otherwise control the rights to the classified content" was not the clearest way to put it, but unless you're deliberately being dense, the meaning is clear: Wikileaks is not permitted by US law to distribute these documents. Clearly, distributing documents in violation of US law qualifies under "don't use our service to break US law".

Publishing classified documents is not illegal, unless the documents fit certain criteria that (so far) these leaks do not. The person or organization who leaks the documents does have some liability, but not Wikileaks. As has been said many times before, Wikileaks is analogous to the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers incident.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702710)

What. The. Fuck?

Beyond identifying the fact I found some kind of lie in Amazon.com's "explanation" as to why they did what they did, your comment is completely unrelated to anything I wrote. There is no way to read my original comment as being about anything other than Amazon.com's assertion that Wikileaks is publishing 250,000 wires.

Extraordinarily, not only did you miss that, but you managed to quote every other part of Amazon.com's explanation except the publishing 250,000 wires part in defending Bezos's truthiness!

Re:Amazon Response (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702938)

Did you read the middle paragraph of my post? I specifically addressed the "250,000 documents" portion of Amazon's statement.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702862)

You don't appear to understand what "classified" means. It is instructions to the government charged with taking care of the documents to ensure that they don't get released to people who don't have the right clearance. If they get released or leaked, they aren't "classified" anymore, they are in the public domain. The public is not generally responsible for enforcing or respecting "classified".

It's pretty clear that Wikileaks was violating US law. Ergo, not a lie.

No, its not clear that Wikileaks was violating U.S. law at all. Being accused of breaking the law isn't a violation of the law. Perhaps you should leave deciding who is breaking the law to the courts before we start vigilante activities.

Wikileaks is not permitted by US law to distribute these documents.

Care to cite a law which backs that up.

I agree completely that US Government employees are not permitted by US law to distribute these documents, but can you find one that would apply to a civilian organization? especially one based offshore? ...Amazon must also be convinced the process is sufficient.

Precisely how do you imagine Amazon convinces itself that the future information that any user of its service will not one day violate its ToS? Its absurd to even assert that they even try.

Do you really think Wikileaks should be allowed to agree to terms of service, and then intentionally violate those terms of service?

Perhaps we should wait for them to violate those terms of service in the physical world, rather than in some made up hypothetical scenario with imaginary laws and the ability to see into the future.

Re:Amazon Response (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703214)

Care to cite a law which backs that up.

Sure.

Under 18 USC 793, persons convicted of gathering defense information with the intent or reason to believe the information will be used against the United States or to the benefit of a foreign nation may be fined or sentenced to no more than 10 years imprisonment. Persons who disclose that information to any person not entitled to receive it are subject to the same penalty. Classified documents may remain within the ambit of the statute even if information contained therein is made public by an unauthorized leak.

Statements taken from this document [fas.org] .

Amazon should not have to wait until a user has been convicted of violating US law before deciding that user has violated the "do not break US law" portion of the terms of service, especially when there are clear sections of US law that the user is violating. Otherwise, they would be unable to remove users who e.g. distribute child pornography until those users are convicted in court.

You may disagree about whether 18 USC 793 applies. That's fine. Your disagreement has no consequences. Amazon bears some risk as a result of their understanding of this law whichever way they interpret it, so it should not be surprising that they choose the safer interpretation.

At any rate, this entire argument is stupid. Wikileaks was offline for no more than a day or two as a result of Amazon's action, and they suffered no harm. Why get mad at Amazon for choosing a less risky interpretation of the law, when no harm was caused to Wikileaks as a result?

Amazon can no longer count on safe harbor (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 2 years ago | (#34703058)

ISPs and other service providers are considered not to be liable for illegal content placed on their networks, precisely because they do not actively police the material. They only take action if requested to do so by the rights owners or a court order.

As I understand the situation, if they actively police the material on their networks - as Amazon has done in this case, they surrender these protections - and must actively check for illegal material. IANAL - but it seems to me that Amazon has dug themselves a huge hole here. Any lawyers care to comment?

Re:Amazon Response (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702010)

So it starts off reasonable.. "copyright violation against terms of service" then turns into a "we're saving innocent people" speech which makes them loose all creditability. So yeah, I'm not buying their story with that saving lives part tacked on the end.

Re:Amazon Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702058)

"It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy." Is a pretty weak excuse. First, the documents are not copyrighted and information is not by default 'owned' by anyone. If words could be 'owned' then we would not be allowed to use any word in the dictionary without websters prior approval. Second how do they know that wikileaks could not have safely redacted the information. As the U.S. army itself corrected an earlier assertion there is no evidence that anyone was harmed by the Afghan or Iraqi war diaries. Also wikileaks contacted State for their input on redactions. They are making a convenient assuption, now had they gone the route of paypal saying that the site encouraged illegal behavior there would be less of a problem. However both claims are technically allegations as wikileaks has yet to be convicted in court.

Re:Amazon Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702622)

First, all federal documents are NOT owned by the federal government, they are by law, 'public record'. If the federal government could claim ownership of any of them, then they should have done so in a court of law and claimed copyright infringement, but they did not, so if they had rights to any of the documents, by law they forfeted those rights by failing to defend their copyright, which is required by law if copyright holders wish to retain their rights. That means Wikileaks was not in violation of that term of agreement.

Second, Amazon made the decision to remove them without even giving wikileaks the chance to prove their case. Clearly it was politically motivated, as was MasterCard and Visas action in the events.

Clearly these big companies have too much power. I saw Amazon, Mastercard and Visa all need to go out of business.

Is there anybody out there that works or use to work for Amazon or Mastercard or Visa? We want to hear from you; what is the inside scoop?

Re:Amazon Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702756)

> "It's clear that WikiLeaks doesn't own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content"

Because people have no business owning the information owned by the United States, which is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Wait a second.

American company receives American pork (2)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701590)

ie. non-story

Re:American company receives American pork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702560)

Amazon Gets Porked? It may not be a story, but it sounds like a damn fine movie.

AAHHHH QUIT YUR WHININ' WINER !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701600)

Always got a winer in the crowd !! If you don't like it here go back to that 3rd world commie country you call the fatherland. Key word in there, CLASSIFIED !! My gawd man, what are you, some sort of Communist !!

Not a bad thing. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701640)

You don't insist that Pepsi's bottling company also provide bottles to Coke?

In addition, Amazon is probably too much a part of the culture to be appropriate for a counterculture website like Wikileaks.

It would be kind of like Fox Broadcasting owning the New York Times (or is that the other way around?)

In other words, Wikileaks needs to be able to report leaks ABOUT Amazon.

Re:Not a bad thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701982)

At least in europe, if the bottle producing company is on its own (aka not pepsi company itself producing their own bottles for their own use) and coke company comes to them to order bottles and they say "nay, we only sell to pepsi" it is a definitive act of discrimination, and as such illegal.

I do believe it is different in the us, but I just wanted to give you a hint that this is not that unusual (and i can imagine that at least some states in the us have similar rules - imagine a black person gets to starbucks and orders a coffee and gets the answer "we do not sell to black people", lawyers would be happy to jump in ...)

Re:Not a bad thing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702118)

At least in europe,

The United States is not Europe, it will never be Europe, and Americans will never be like Europeans. The sooner you effeminate, lazy, unwashed nancy boys in the old world get that through your thick skulls the happier you'll be. We're the anti-Europe.

Re:Not a bad thing. (1)

screwzloos (1942336) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702722)

What if instead the answer was "Sorry, we only make enough bottles to supply Pepsi, but if you want to pay us more we'll supply you instead.", would that be illegal? Because that's the American way of doing things.

Freedom and liberty (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701726)

comes after profits, in united states of capitalica ... i dont know there is an economic system which encourages lack of spine more than capitalism.

Re:Freedom and liberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701886)

i dont know there is an economic system which encourages lack of spine more than capitalism

Every other economic system yet devised?

Re:Freedom and liberty (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702200)

If you don't like it, make your own cloud. Hell, look at all the usenet providers - they're independent from Amazon and seem to host far scarier things than wikileaks. Or so I've heard.

Hell, if you want to guarantee the life of wikileaks, just post it to usenet.

Re:Freedom and liberty (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702344)

vcomes after profits, in united states of capitalica ..

Wait, now it's up to businesses to enforce freedom and liberty? I thought that was the citizen's jobs via their elected representatives?

. i dont know there is an economic system which encourages lack of spine more than capitalism.

A much more challenging proposition is to name one that encourages having a spine more than capitalism.

Why Doesn't Winer Host It Then? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701826)

All these people moaning that Amazon have pulled out of it, yet none of them seem to have made any moves to step in and take over...

No different than every other massive company... (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#34701840)

screw over customers to get favors (read: money and favorable legislation) from the federal govt. How many lobbyists does Amazon have again?

Needs of the stockholders come first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701846)

Amazon is a publicly traded company. It has a legal obligation to its stockholders to maximize its stock price. The feds are a much bigger customer.

It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.
- Michael Corleone

Dave Winer skimmed the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34701944)

Why is this worthy of a post? The man didn't even read the articles in question closely and attempts to contribute to a public debate. More importantly he gets key facts wrong because of his skimming.

IMO - Don't waste your time. Read and reply to people who bother to properly inform themselves.

Must have spelled his name wrong. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702148)

I'm sure it would be much more appropriate as "Dave Whiner". I know it's the end of the year and all, but somebody's whine about how Amazon is a business and is acting to protect its interests as a business is news? Not to mention the mistaken (or misrepresented) info that Winer included in his commentary.

How is this any different from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702356)

advertisers on TV impacting news about the advertisers -- or news about legislation that affects the advertisers? What about contributions to PBS and how it might affect who gets invited to various discussion panels?

Incentives drive human behavior. Executives, journalists, activists, etc. all have their incentives. Right now, the incentives are structured in a way that promotes "incumbent protectionism" rather than meritocracy or honesty.

For example, what is the incentive for journalists or legislators to talk about ending the "Double Irish Arrangement" or "Dutch Sandwich" tax loopholes? A small business making under $1 million in profits will pay nearly 40% in federal taxes, but a large business using these schemes can make $10 billion in profits and pay under 5% federal tax on those profits. I'm talking about profits, not revenues (I'm surrounded by mullet-heads that don't understand revenues vs profits and constantly vote against their own interests.)

Fuck you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702470)

What language is this?

"ability to scale video slideshow site Animoto"

What great writing. Fuck Slashdot.

mod UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34702662)

reciprocating bad worse and worse. As Free-loving climate many of us a0re BSDI is also dead, Of business and was

Please (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702684)

Amazon was totally in the right. You don't like it don't play in their sandbox.

Somehow it's reassuring... (1)

fortfive (1582005) | more than 2 years ago | (#34702758)

...that Amazon is only choosing a bigger customer, rather than kowtowing to government pressure.

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