Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

Summary: Amazon Web Services set the record straight on why Wikileaks was removed from the cloud service: It violated the terms of service because it didn't control the rights to the classified content it posted.


Amazon Web Services on Thursday set the record straight on why Wikileaks was removed from the cloud service: It violated the terms of service because it didn't control the rights to the classified content it posted.

As noted Wednesday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has the right to terminate accounts if customers violate its terms.

In a blog post, AWS said that Wikileaks wasn't removed due to a government inquiry or hack attacks. Here's the reason (emphasis mine):

AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.

AWS said it won't shy away from controversy, but folks that violate its terms of service "need to go operate elsewhere."


Topics: Amazon, Browser, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Networking, Software

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  • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

    Another reason why not to use Amazon.

    "AWS does not pre-screen its customers" legal bit to avoid legal actions against Amazon, but which demonstrate that they screened WikiLeaks because someone from the government influenced them.

    We are seeing a horrible trend. Google censoring content because of pressure from the film and music industry, Amazon censoring content because government pressure...

    The US is becoming by the second closer to censoring China, I hope the general public react and force their politicians to stop the trend if they want the US to really be a free country without political censorship.
    • ...

      Yes, because wanting top secret information to stay top secret is the same as censoring information about a state-sponsored massacre. Totally.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Here's what we know

        @goff256 ... from the 612 redacted documents released so far:

        (1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;

        (2) the State Department threatened Germany not to criminally investigate the CIA's kidnapping and torture of one of its citizens who turned out to be completely innocent;

        (3) the State Department under Bush and Obama applied continuous pressure on the Spanish Government to suppress investigations of the CIA's torture of its citizens and the 2003 killing of a Spanish photojournalist when the U.S. military fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (see The Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch today about this: "The day Barack Obama Lied to me");

        (4) the British Government privately promised to shield Bush officials from embarrassment as part of its Iraq War "investigation";

        (5) there were at least 15,000 people killed in Iraq that were previously uncounted;

        (6) "American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world" about the Iraq war as it was prosecuted, a conclusion the Post's own former Baghdad Bureau Chief wrote was proven by the WikiLeaks documents;

        (7) the U.S.'s own Ambassador concluded that the July, 2009 removal of the Honduran President was illegal -- a coup -- but the State Department did not want to conclude that and thus ignored it until it was too late to matter;

        (8) U.S. and British officials colluded to allow the U.S. to keep cluster bombs on British soil even though Britain had signed the treaty banning such weapons, and,

        (9) Hillary Clinton's State Department ordered diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data on U.N. and other foreign officials, almost certainly in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.
      • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

        1) That's pretty bad, but nowhere near Communist China.
        2) Still nowhere near as bad as Communist China.
        3) Nope, nowhere near.
        4) So?
        5) During a war, right?
        6) And?
        7) Call me when they ban -references- to that coup happening.
        8) The British Government agreed to do something contrary to a treaty? And this is the US's fault how?
        9) Cyber-warfare is a part of life these days. That isn't an excuse, but it's just to say that this isn't as bad as you think.

        We get it, the US suxxors and does everything bad. But when it comes to censoring? Canada is MUCH worse than we are. France can be at times too.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • As that great philosopher, moralist and historian

        @goff256 Bill O'Reilly points out repeatedly; "We never excuse bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior."

        If the US government did do things as bad as China (and many things they do are worse), would you just move the goalposts again?

        Launching aggressive wars, murder, torture, violations of treaties, all that is excused because somebody somewhere is worse?
      • I'm not excusing any of it

        I am merely correcting the idea that we're anywhere close to China at all. We're not.

        I'm surprised you're quoting O'Reilly, though. Most people (on the web) hate anything from Fox News.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

  • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

    The no pre-screening is probably more about accept the credit card now answer billing questions later. And if WL was violating AWS's ToS they would eventually have been booted. In this case the Government provided notification more than pressure. Pressure would have been a judicial device like an injunction. The 'mistake' WL made is choosing to host such controversial material in the most surveilled and litigious jurisdiction possible.
  • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

    I don't really care which excuse Amazon uses. The sack of shite is gone.
    Hallowed are the Ori
  • Glenn Greenwald on Amazon

    "Everyone can decide for themselves whether to believe Amazon's denial: it's not particularly surprising that a corporation that provides such services would want to quash any notions that they succumb that easily to government pressure, and it seems rather coincidental that it did this after receiving a call from the Homeland Security Committee. But Amazon's claim is false, as WikiLeaks has not published "250,000 classified documents." They've only published 612, and the only documents from the leak of diplomatic cables published on the WikiLeaks site thus far have all been ones published by its newspaper partners such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc., including with the same redactions.

    But, either way, Amazon's denial -- whether you believe it or not -- has no effect whatsoever on the perniciousness of Lieberman's conduct. His efforts to pressure and intimidate companies into suppressing political content are every bit as odious whether, in Amazon's case, it succeeded or not (particularly given that his bullying efforts clearly did succeed in at least one other case)."
  • US government on record saying no person or entity was harmed

    ... on August 11, even the DOD was forced to admit to The Washington Post the complete absence of any evidence to support its wild accusations: "'We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents,' [Pentagon spokesman Geoff] Morrell said." Nonetheless, the initial spate of hysterically accusatory rhetoric, combined with the uncritical media dissemination, poisoned public opinion about WikiLeaks, and the fact that those accusations have been subsequently revealed as baseless will receive little attention and undo none of that deceit-based damage.

    The benefits to the Government from spewing baseless accusations against WikiLeaks are obvious: they inure the public to the thuggish steps being taken to cripple and otherwise intimidate the whistleblowing site from exposing more government secrets about the truth of our wars.
    • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service


      Sigh.... give it a rest, Sparky.
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

      Based on yours and others posts that support wikileaks.
      1). The people that you know serving in the armed services don't mean a thing to you. Any harm that may come to them because of these leaks is completely acceptable to you because. Well, because you just don't care if they live or die. Simple as that.
      2). You are completely illiterate when it comes to how all governments of the world conduct business. You feel that only the US government keeps secrets and performs actions not all their citizens would agree with.
      3). Your justification that its all the American Governments fault to the actions that are occurring against WikiLeaks right now COMPLETELY ignores several facts.
      a). Two goverments come to mind who have a history of cyber attacks against those that anger them.China and Russia. These two governments were embarrassed by what was shown in these released documents, so they have every reason to ddos the web site. But again, you blame the US.
      b).You quite obviously don't feel that a company does not have a right to terminate an account when their terms of service have been abused.

      You are basically a person that
      1). Does not care about your fellow citizens lives.
      2). Do not feel companies have a right to enforce account terms.
      3). Are to ignorant to recognize espionage when it is right in front of you.

      Your about as stupid as they come, aren't you.
      • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service


        Completely ignorant you are. If you have took the time to read any of the documents, you may actually stop and think for a minute. Most of the information contained in those documents is just information that is showing the true evils of our country (which is why the Gov dislike so much, not because of National Security) They say national security in order win the sides of people like you. I bet you have not even read a single page of it. You are solely choosing sides because your a "good citizen" and you beleive everything your government tells you right. Yeah you can say otherwise, but deep down you know the truth. Remember what Adolph Hitler said, "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." The "they", that he's referring to is you, the loyal all believing citizens. What wikileaks did was something that needed to be done. Somebody needed to step on at least to some people to open their eyes to what this country doing. For whoever said we are not like china. Well yeah your right we're not, but we are on a one way ticket to how they are and worse as long as everyone continues to lack a little abiltity to research outside of their loyalty to the Gov. Most of out freedoms are already gone. This is a quote from Abraham Lincoln, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Which is exactly what were doing!!
        You Dan must be a person who lacks self esteem considering that you simply choose all beleifs based off of the idea of others and your loyalty.

        Wikileaks was a big step forward.

        The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
        Wikileaks was doing something
    • Interesting that an up standing, rightous individual

      like you claim Assange to be should be running from rape charges while attempting to blackmail everyone who should try to apprehend him.

      It does not sound like something an honest, upstanding, roghtous individual would do.

      In fact doing so indicates he agrees with the methods used by those he claims should not use those methods.
      Tim Cook
      • He's no doubt naive.

        @Mister Spock Every intelligence agency on earth has prostitutes they can throw at targets, and he probably very naively assumed they were just admirers. Then they run screaming rape.

        Charging people that governments don't like with sexual misconduct is par for the course. The minute Eliott Spitzer challenged the oligarchs they did the same.

        He has not been charged with anything, they are only wanting to question him. And since Sweden is a country of laws, they'd have to try him, and put these accusers on the stand in front of a jury. That would be good.

        So in summary, I suggest you grow up and read a little on how intelligence agencies operate.
  • Never hear such a foolish argument

    "it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren?t putting innocent people in jeopardy."

    In that case amazon book store, selling hundereds of thousand of books, must be closed !
    • All Bob Woodward's books must be purged

      @s_souche ... people discussed classified information with him which then wound up in his books.

      Cue Amazon to be overcome with an advanced case of the vapors.
  • Seriously folks

    Amazon didn't cave from pressure placed on it by the US government. It was simply a business decision. Hosting this information (and the press coverage related to it) was simply more negative than positive. The majority of the people in this country didn't want them to be involved in this. The heat got too hot so they got out of the kitchen.
  • RE: Amazon Web Services: Wikileaks violated our terms of service

    Business decision? Attention is good whether it is good or bad. I did not even know amazon and a hosting service until now. One thing the leaks prove so far if nothing else is how lying and deceitful the US government is to its own people.

    It goes to show that political and military leaders lack integrity honesty now days. Not one leader political or military has stood up and taken any responsibility for any of the lies and manipulation they have engaged in.

    Face it military leaders want a war. They look for justification to run around and murder people to justify their bloated defense budget. Political leaders are motivated by greed. They are nothing but whores and prostitutes for big business that wants contracts or bailouts.

    The stock market continues to go crazy even is a recession because those in certain positions know they can speculate without risk as the government will rush to protect it's precious financial sector no matter what.

    Just another example of the complete absence of honor and integrity in our government