By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 22, 2013 09:50 AM EDT
Retail giant Amazon is reportedly building a private cloud infrastructure for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to help it stay up to date with emerging technologies.
Amazon can already track book purchases, recommend relevant titles based on users' browser histories, and sprinkle websites with ads based on users' shopping habits. It worked for various companies such as Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest, but the CIA is definitely a different kind of client and takes personal surveillance to a whole new level.
According to Federal Computer Weekly (FCW), Amazon entered a 10-year contract worth as much as $600 million with the CIA. FCW claims it learned from unnamed sources that Amazon will build a cloud-computing service for the agency.
"Amazon Web Services will help the intelligence agency build a private cloud infrastructure that helps the agency keep up with emerging technologies like big data cloud infrastructure in a cost-effective manner not possible under the CIA's previous cloud efforts, sources told FCW."
Amazon Web Services (AWS) focuses on remote computing solutions for the company's cloud computing platform. The service carries a large computing capacity that can support several servers in a manner that is more cost-effective compared to traditional servers. A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment on the matter, saying that the agency does not publicly disclose details about contracts.
FCW, however, cites CIA Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jeanne Tisinger telling the Northern Virginia Council Board that the CIA is looking for cost efficiencies in commodity IT and seeking to leverage the commercial sector's innovation cycle.
The FCW also cites two unidentified audience members who said Tisinger did mention the CIA was working with "companies like Amazon." The report further points to statements from CIA Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Gus Hunt, who spoke publicly about potential for leveraging public cloud infrastructure for non-classified information.
Meanwhile, the report of an Amazon deal with the CIA comes a year after hacktivist group Anonymous took down the CIA website in a series of cyber attacks in early 2012. The CIA may not store much classified content on its website, but upgrading its cyber-security system seems like a good idea nonetheless.
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