British spy agencies awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to house classified material, in a deal to push the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) for espionage, the Financial Times reported Monday.
The spy agency GCHQ from the United Kingdom defended the acquisition of a high security cloud system that will be used by the sister services MI5 and MI6as well as by other government departments such as the Defense Ministry during joint operations, the report added.
The deal was signed this year with AWS, Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud services unit, and data from all agencies will remain in the UK, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.
GCHQ said it will not comment on the reports about its relationships with technology providers. AWS declined to comment on the information anyway.
In February, British cyber spies at the GCHQ wiretapping agency said they had fully embraced AI to uncover patterns in vast amounts of global data to counter hostile misinformation and catch child molesters.
GCHQ has been using basic forms of AI, such as translation technology, for years, but is now stepping up its use, partly in response to the use of AI by hostile states and partly due to the explosion of data that makes it effective.
Earlier on Monday, GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming told a conference that the number of “ransomware” attacks had doubled in the UK in 2021, compared to last year, according to the FT.