In a deal aimed at enhancing the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) for espionage, Britain's spy agencies have handed Amazon Web Services (AWS) a contract to host confidential material, according to a recent report.
As per the Financial Times, the procurement of a high-security cloud system was championed by Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency.
The report noted that through this deal the cloud system will be utilised by sister services MI5 and MI6, as well as other government departments such as the Ministry of Defence, during joint operations.
According to FT, which cited sources involved with the discussions, a deal was inked this year with AWS, Amazon.com Inc's cloud service unit and all of the agencies' data will be stored in the United Kingdom.
In February, the GCHQ spying agency announced that it has fully embraced AI to identify patterns in massive amounts of global data to combat enemy disinformation and apprehend child abusers. At that time, Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ said: "AI, like so many technologies, offers great promise for society, prosperity and security. Its impact on GCHQ is equally profound."
For years, this British spy agency has used basic AI such as translation technology, but it is currently ramping up its use, partially in response to hostile states' use of AI and partly due to the data explosion that makes it useful.
GCHQ claimed that hostile states were using AI technologies to propagate disinformation in an attempt to undermine free societies, thus it would employ AI to disrupt such networks.
GCHQ’s director Fleming on 25 October stated that in 2021, compared to the previous year, the number of ransomware assaults in the United Kingdom had doubled.
However, earlier in February, GCHQ said: "We can expect the deployment of new computing techniques, synthetic biology and other emerging technologies over the next few years.”
“Each new development helps our economy and society grow stronger, and provides opportunities to keep us secure, but also has the potential to be misused by those who seek to do us harm," the agency added.
Separately, during an interview, Adam Selipsky, the CEO of AWS—which now has more than a million active customers in over 240 countries and territories—said the cloud computing behemoth intends to design more of its own semiconductors, emphasising the cost savings for clients.
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