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Cloud United States

Amazon Hints At Details On Its CIA Franken-Cloud 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-different-kind dept.
coondoggie writes "Amazon Web Services recently won a reported $600 million contract to build the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) a cloud. But that cloud will not look like any other cloud on the planet. Amazon will build the cloud using AWS architectures and AWS will manage it, but executives hinted that it will not be accessed the way other customers use AWS services through the public Internet. 'We're managing the operations in the data center,' Andy Jassy, Amazon's senior vice president and the head of the company's cloud computing division AWS said about the CIA deal. 'It's our hardware, it's our networking.'"
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Amazon Hints At Details On Its CIA Franken-Cloud

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  • It's Ours? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dcw3 (649211)

    'It's our hardware, it's our networking.'"

    Until they tell us it's not.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It actually has to be owned by Amazon. If the equipment was to be procured directly by the government, it would mean that the CIA would have to procure it through traditional federal procurement channels which means that any approved vendor can bid on it, meaning that Amazon would have no control over the selected hardware.

      By allowing Amazon to own the equipment and merely lease it from them via a services contract, this means that Amazon can select the hardware that they believe is best to accomplish the

      • That sort of bundling is probably attractive to a spook shop for secrecy reasons, as well.

        The details would remain hazy; but a public bid would provide some fodder for educated guesses, and the more detailed the breakdown of the goods being procured, the better a guess anybody reasonably skilled in the art of datacenter-wrangling could make about exactly what sort of capacity they are building.

        A nice, round, lump sum, on the other hand, provides only the roughest of outlines.
      • by dcw3 (649211)

        Incorrect. There are plenty of ways for the government to sole source products. It's done all the time.

      • You seem to be making some incorrect assumptions. There was a bidding process. Amazon's bid was selected over IBM's. IBM did protest. They lost [crn.com].
    • Re:It's Ours? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:36AM (#45431561)

      Until they tell us it's not.

      Couldn't have said it better myself...

      Unless Amazon plans to hire its own paramilitary force to provide security at its data centers and is willing to fight anyone who tries to show up and "take over" (and blow it up if they cannot prevent the take over), then it is just hot air.

      When the guys with the guns show up, your rights start and stop there.

      Way too many people sitting behind their keyboards/tablets/smartphones seem to forget that point.

  • If any concern should know better than falling for the cloud BS, especially one that's managed by another, private concern, it's the CIA. Jesus, even I, Mister Nobody, don't put anything in any cloud that matters, and keep my own valuable (to me) data on my own servers...

    • If any concern should know better than falling for the cloud BS, especially one that's managed by another, private concern, it's the CIA. Jesus, even I, Mister Nobody, don't put anything in any cloud that matters, and keep my own valuable (to me) data on my own servers...

      Ironically, since Amazon has a Server Access Logging [amazon.com] system (which can be fairly robust and powerful, if you set it up), there's an argument to be made that they are a step ahead of the NSA on that score...

    • Your point has merit, but I'm just curious...

      What data do you have that you don't want the CIA/NSA to have?

      Your tax returns? They have that already. Your bank account info? They have that already.

      Unless you have secret plans to do something illegal, I highly doubt you have much they don't already have access to, much less do they care about you.

      That does not make your concerns or point invalid, nor does it mean you should have to hand anything over.

      I'm just asking the question.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your point has merit, but I'm just curious...

        What data do you have that you don't want the CIA/NSA to have?

        Everything they don't already have.

        Your tax returns? They have that already. Your bank account info? They have that already.

        Actually the IRS should have that, they're not supposed to be sharing that information with the CIA or NSA either....

        Unless you have secret plans to do something illegal, I highly doubt you have much they don't already have access to, much less do they care about you.

        Until they tu

        • You totally misunderstand... I'm fully in support of the 4th amendment, the NSA shouldn't be able to just look at anything you have.

          My question is, if they do look at your computer, do you have anything they'd care about? I guess if you did, you probably wouldn't say so here. :)

          Should the IRS keep my tax returns away from the NSA? Yes. Do they? No, I don't believe it for a second. I believe that the NSA can, more or less, access all of that and more with just a few keystrokes.

          Is this a good thin

      • What data do you have that you don't want the CIA/NSA to have?

        how about creative writing or inner thoughts (journal, diary)?

        one might write things that are fantasy or just mere thoughts; but if taken out of context, could get you into a world of hurt!

        besides, the 'if you are not doing anything wrong, dont fear!' is PURE BULLSHIT and anyone using that argument needs to be rejected outright.

        other than things you might write about, there is also corporate data that you may not want to 'wander' anywhere.

        cloud

    • If you think of this as:

      1) Corporate welfare to the tune of $600,000,000 to Amazon;

      2) Just another way for the CIA to abuse people its friends don't like, with no concern for integrity;

      then everything will fall neatly into place.

      • by r_newman (40868)

        If you think of this as:

        1) Corporate welfare to the tune of $600,000,000 to Amazon;

        2) Just another way for the CIA to abuse people its friends don't like, with no concern for integrity;

        then everything will fall neatly into place.

        This really reads like sour grapes. Yes, they are a large corporation, but that doesn't make them another Walmart or McDonalds, ripping off the whole country by paying workers too little to live on. Amazon pays pretty decent money, not great, but pretty competitive if you include the stock (not stock OPTIONS, actual stock). They're going to have to provide a service and facilities to the CIA for the money so it doesn't play as corporate welfare in this context either. When it comes to cloud services, like i

        • by lgw (121541)

          ripping off the whole country by paying workers too little to live on

          Not all jobs should pay enough to live on. Teenagers still living at home need easy-to-get first jobs (and it's not just teens of course, but anyone needing that first job). That's a critical element of society that has been diminishing lately.

          • OOI, how are those not living at home supposed to survive if their first job does not pay a living wage?

            • by lgw (121541)

              Charity, government or otherwise. Same way they'll survive if they can't get that first job. (Or, in the case of some people my age, it's the wife getting her first job since her teenage years now that the kids are gone, supported by her husband. That 1950s pattern is still around, here and there.)

              As a general rule of thumb, the sort of companies that offer first job to workers that are not only unskilled, but new at even proper workplace behavior, have low margins and a fairly fixed amount they can spend

              • I think "proper workplace behaviour" is one of those meaningless concepts used to justify underpaying employees on the grounds of, "Well they don't even know how to work properly, so this is actually training rather than a proper job."

                It's how employers in the UK are being subsidised by the government, as people collecting unemployment are required to do unpaid work "for experience".

                I got my first paid job as follows:
                1. Turn up at 8:30am on Monday morning for 9am start;
                2. Spend an hour or two being guided r

                • by lgw (121541)

                  I think "proper workplace behaviour" is one of those meaningless concepts used to justify underpaying employees on the grounds of, "Well they don't even know how to work properly, so this is actually training rather than a proper job."

                  You mean things like showing up on time, appropriately groomed, and working your shift are just meaningless concepts? It's easy if your way of living naturally includes doing that sort of thing, but for many it's a real shift.

                  But anyhow, while "unpaid internships" and the like are clearly exploitive, I hadn't heard it taken to that UK extreme yet. Eesh. There's still room between "living wage" and "0" for your first job, though.

                  • Not meaningless at all. But I think it's misleading to say that it's a huge adjustment.

                    Yup, it's that bad in the UK - and the justification is precisely that it's necessary work experience for people who haven't yet got the hang of "getting a real job". Even to the extent that people on part time volunteer placements after university (e.g. at a museum - high profile example) have been required to quit that and instead work unpaid retail jobs (which would be min wage if they weren't instead filled by these p

        • Oh, it's the "only following orders" excuse, except with Amazon not even being forced to work for the CIA.

          Does nobody take responsibility for the consequences of their actions any more?

    • I'm with you, man! Screw cloud computing; I don't even trust these new-fangled computer things. And paper? That stuff can be PHOTOCOPIED!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With a very fast direct one way link from the public cloud?

  • worthless read (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero (934156) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:15AM (#45431501)

    AWS is building the CIA a massive private cloud that will run AWS infrastructure, but it will sit in a CIA data center.

    there, that's the entire article in one sentence.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:39AM (#45431569) Journal

    It's a private cloud solution. Like the dozens of private clouds set up by RedHat (among others) in the Federal space.

  • RFC 1149 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:49AM (#45431593)

    but executives hinted that it will not be accessed the way other customers use AWS services through the public Internet.

    That leaves only one possible option [wikipedia.org].

  • by alen (225700) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:57AM (#45431623)

    in the 90's the military had their own IP web based cloud. accessed it via internet explorer like any other website except it was physically separate from the non-secure internet WWW that everyone wasted time on

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Aaaaaand we still have it. And 30+ other seperate intranets of various classifications. (IAA Intelligence Analyst)
  • It's days like this that I just love the Chrome extension that changes all instances of the word "cloud" to "butt."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I received an unsolicited email from Amazon letting me know about the exciting opportunity for a systems engineer position for this project (I'm only presuming, I don't know for sure). Not exactly my cup of tea, but the SSBI requirement along with '+1 years' in all of the technical requirements scared me off. (i.e. they're throwing out a really wide net for "talent"). Also, shift work? No thanks!

    The really interesting part of this to me is that the requirements for clearance imply that first tier engineers

    • by alen (225700)

      just the fact that you can touch the servers, the routers and the wires where this data sits on means you will need a top secret SSBI clearance. having the clearance doesn't mean you will see the cool data since need to know applies

      when i was in the army there were jobs where new privates were required to get a top secret clearance just to be in that job field. if you couldn't get the clearance they sent you off to infantry school

      • by kriston (7886)

        You would need to be read into the specific program, not necessarily called "need to know" but something similar. Those are the funky letters after the "TS." Not every program requires "SSBI," either. There could be programs require even more than that, or not even that much.

  • Reminds me of Singer and IBM 75 from years ago..

  • I bet it's distributed to every single VM server and network device that they have. You know, just a little agent to capture all data from all customers at the source.

  • Leave it to the leader of the "Me" generation to get his name branded onto anything he can.

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