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Australia spy agency moves intelligence data to cloud in Amazon deal

Australia spy agency moves intelligence data to cloud in Amazon deal
The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, Aug 8, 2018.
PHOTO: Reuters file

SYDNEY — Australia will move its top secret intelligence data to the cloud under a A$2 billion (S$1.8 billion) deal with Amazon Web Services that Defence Minister Richard Marles said would boost defence force interoperability with the United States.

The Director General of the Australian Signals Directorate, Rachel Noble, said the national security agency would also increase its use of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse data under the shift, which would see top secret data centres built in Australia.

"Artificial intelligence is an important game changer for all of us in the intelligence community, and we are working to embrace the use of it in an ethical, well governed and well understood manner, where we understand very carefully when we bring AI tools into our environment how are they being used, what are they doing to the data and do we understand how carefully they need to be governed?" Noble said in Canberra on Thursday.

The move to cloud services run by Amazon Web Services, using distributed, purpose-built facilities, would give greater resilience to data used to support the defence force, Marles said at a press conference.

"If one server goes down you are still able to operate," he said. "This is what will ensure we have a common computing operating environment with the United States defence forces in the future."

Director-General of National Intelligence, Andrew Shearer, told reporters interoperability with security partners such as the United States was a priority.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement the partnership between the Australian Signals Directorate and Amazon Web Services would upgrade national security capabilities and create 2,000 local jobs.

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