The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that UK intelligence agencies had entrusted secret data to Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary AWS in a contract aimed to drastically speed up their espionage capabilities.
According to the publication, the secret contract was inked this year and analysts estimate its value to be between £500 million and £1 billion, citing sources acquainted with the discussions.
It was believed to be led by the UK’s cybersecurity agency GCHQ, which had been looking for a UK cloud provider but determined that none could match Amazon Web Services’ capabilities.
MI5, the UK’s internal security force, and MI6, its foreign arm, as well as other government divisions, are said to be covered by the agreement.
According to the article, Amazon will not have access to the data.
According to Ciaran Martin, former head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, it will allow UK intelligence to “extract insights from massive amounts of data in minutes, rather than weeks and months.”
Amazon, GCHQ, and the UK government all declined to comment.
In 2013, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) signed a cloud data agreement with AWS, which was then expanded last year to include bids from Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.