Australia is moving top secret intelligence data to the cloud with a new billion-dollar AWS deal

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Australia’s government wants help from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a super top-secret cloud for its law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The country's leaders say the new AWS platform will be “purpose-built for Australia's Defence and National Intelligence Community agencies to securely host our country's most sensitive information.”

The project will apparently cost AUD$2 billion ($1.35 billion) over a period of ten years.

Super secret cloud announcement

The Australian government says the project is expected to “improve our ability to securely share and analyze our nation's most classified data at speed and at scale, and provides opportunities to harness leading technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Australia has also touted the project will allow intelligence communities down-under to better collaborate with their US counterparts, but will remain fully sovereign according to Australian officials.

The Register points out this presents a tricky situation whereby the cloud will host sensitive data while also interoperating with Five Eyes, so how Australia will navigate the fine line between sovereignty and interoperability is yet to be determined.

No details have been revealed yet on where the cloud will be located, ownership of the infrastructure, or payment arrangements.

Australia’s first announcement of its intention to pursue a top secret cloud was in late 2023, with Andrew Shearer, director-general of national intelligence saying, “What that will do is obviously transform how we do our work as agencies but also it'll open up a shared collaborative space that will really, I think, reinforce this sense of working together as a genuine community and bringing all those different capabilities to bear on problems.”

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict has been writing about security issues for close to 5 years, at first covering geopolitics and international relations while at the University of Buckingham. During this time he studied BA Politics with Journalism, for which he received a second-class honours (upper division). Benedict then continued his studies at a postgraduate level and achieved a distinction in MA Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Benedict transitioned his security interests towards cybersecurity upon joining TechRadar Pro as a Staff Writer, focussing on state-sponsored threat actors, malware, social engineering, and national security. Benedict is also an expert on B2B security products, including firewalls, antivirus, endpoint security, and password management.