To date, the release of confidential documents on WikiLeaks, is not a crime.According to the New York Times, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has confirmed that the Justice Department is examining whether WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, could be charged with a crime, but legal scholars say that such an effort would encounter steep legal and policy difficulties.
So it is rather worrying that Amazon has bowed to political pressure and pulled the WikiLeaks mirror from the Amazon cloud.
Amazon’s decision undermines the value, security and independence of public clouds, many of which are operated by large US companies. Why should any business risk using such services, if politicians can put the cloud operators under pressure.The US Patriot Act and Telecoms Act means that the US government can look at private data – without your permission.
A senior IT exec in a UK bluechip recently said that this was a major concern. “It’s not that a legitimate government can look art our data – it’s that they can look at it without our permission.”
The fact that Amazon has caved in, gives little confidence to businesses around the world that want to use public clouds Since it is headquartered in the US, the US government can make it very difficult for Amazon’s parent organisation, and other US cloud operators who find themselves in a similar predicament.
One could argue that the documents were sensitive and shouldn’t have been made public. Assange is US public enemy Number One. A few months ago it was BP – and “boycott Britain”. It seems relatively easy for a grassroots campaign backed by a political heavyweight, to exert negative influence on US businesses.