Amazon-CIA Partnership Critics Launch Ad Campaign, Includes Billboard In Front Of Amazon HQ
Amazon’s $600 million contract with the CIA related to cloud computing services has caused alarm throughout the civil liberties community. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed raising concern that the CIA could be using its access to Amazon’s massive data to conduct intelligence work rather than simply storing data. In light of the ongoing domestic spying scandal regarding the NSA, fewer and fewer people are willing to take government assurances on protecting the public’s privacy.
Now two groups, RootsAction.org and ExposeFacts.org, have launched an ad campaign to both publicize the deal and scrutinize its terms. The ads contain the phrase ” “the $600 million question: What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?” The groups hope the ads will pressure Amazon to reveal what level of access the CIA has to Amazon’s cloud data and under what conditions it can use that information.
As part of the campaign the groups purchased billboard space in front of Amazon’s corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
A billboard challenging Amazon to fully disclose the terms of its $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency has been unveiled at a busy intersection near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters…
The positioning of the 48-foot-wide billboard on Amazon’s doorstep at Fairview Avenue and Valley Street in Seattle follows a RootsAction petition calling for Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to make a legally binding commitment to Amazon’s commercial customers that it will not provide customer data to the CIA. Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. “The same company that stores vast quantities of customer records and even provides cloud storage services also stores the CIA’s surveillance data — yet the actual terms of the Amazon-CIA agreement are secret,” said Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and a co-founder of RootsAction.org.
Whether or not Amazon will offer more transparency is hard to say, what is clear is that the company and its CEO Jeff Bezos are increasing their involvement with public affairs. Bezos recently purchased The Washington Post still one of the most influential media properties in America.
The trend of Silicon Valley companies collaborating with government intelligence agencies has become front and center in American politics after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed domestic surveillance programs some of which tech companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Amazon participated in willingly. As the $600 million contract shows, the surveillance state is big business. The question is how ethical are companies like Amazon acting to gain and keep that business?