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Posted on December 1, 2010 | tags


Tech: Amazon Web Services, Wikileaks and censorship: A harbinger

  • Amazon’s quickly taken over the Web with its cloud computing services. If you’re reading this on our WordPress site, the image of the logo is from Amazon’s S3 service. If you’re reading this on Tumblr, the entire infrastructure scales thanks to Amazon’s cloud computing functionality. Ditto Twitter. Even more than shopping, cloud computing has become Amazon’s biggest gift to the Web. But the way they quickly booted Wikileaks off their site is just … wow. This is a very bad sign for the Web’s future growth.
  • What happened? In the wake of the huge DDoS attack it faced prior to its document release on Sunday, Wikileaks, which usually hosts its servers in this secret lair in Sweden, turned to Amazon’s EC2 services to ensure they’d stay online as the data broke. This was how they managed to stay online despite being the biggest story of the entire week.
  • Congressional pressure Eventually, certain members of Congress, namely Joe Lieberman, criticized Amazon for hosting the site and said Amazon and others should boycott Wikileaks. A day later, Amazon (who just recently pulled the free-speech card on a pedophilia book) complied. Wikileaks had a suitably withering response to Amazon’s actions.
  • The implications The problem here is obvious. Amazon created a service so widely used that they couldn’t control it if they tried. The New York Times (which has run multiple Wikileaks reports) even uses Amazon Web Services. This tool is only useful is Amazon is completely impartial to the content on it. This incident proves they’re not. source