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AWS reportedly planning to increase platform censorship

Dominant public cloud platform AWS is reportedly forming a censorship team that will help it remove more content that violates its policies.

The scoop comes courtesy of Reuters, which has chatted to a couple of anonymous people who reckon they know what they’re talking about. Apparently Amazon wants AWS to be more ‘proactive’ in its policing of the platform. Accordingly the team will ‘develop expertise and work with outside researchers to monitor for future threats.’

So what’s the big deal? Amazon is a private company so it can do what it wants, right? The fact that it’s completely free to unilaterally change its policies with no accountability despite hosting much of the internet is of no public concern whatsoever. After all, we can be totally confident of the infallibility of its judgment, which is guaranteed to be free of bias and political interference.

So many people misunderstand this issue. Of course big tech and governments are going to position any increases in their power over the rest of us as motivated by concern for our safety. The Covid pandemic has massively accelerated that trend such that some parts of Australia are now contemplating Orwellian measures that make China look like a laissez faire anarchy. But whatever the reason, when you use the public cloud and other digital platforms you hand over control of everything you place them it to a third party whose priorities may clash with your own.

“AWS Trust & Safety works to protect AWS customers, partners, and internet users from bad actors attempting to use our services for abusive or illegal purposes,” said AWS in a statement to Reuters. AWS is the sole arbiter of who is a ‘bad actor’ and is at liberty to define ‘abusive’ as it sees fit. Furthermore, antitrust pressure is leading to increased collaboration between big tech and governments, which will surely influence such judgment calls. Public cloud cheerleaders have no good answers to these concerns because there aren’t any.

 

UPDATE – 0900 6 Sep 2021 – We received the following emailed statement, attributable to an AWS spokesperson: “Reuters’ reporting is wrong. AWS Trust & Safety has no plans to change its policies or processes, and the team has always existed.”


2 comments

  1. Avatar Marc Matthews 03/09/2021 @ 2:04 pm

    Who wrote this? Ted Cruz??

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 03/09/2021 @ 2:05 pm

      Yeah

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