Amazon sparks data concerns with biometric plans

Amazon is reportedly first in line to pick up the valuable 10-year long contract

Amazon is courting controversy with plans to store biometric data belonging to millions of Britons as part of a partnership with the UK government.

The proposed one-stop-shop for all fingerprints, facial matching and DNA information is intended to improve the efficiency of law enforcement and immigration officials.

The Telegraph suggested that suppliers are being encouraged to embrace Amazon’s cloud business despite rival bids still officially remaining in the frame from the likes of IBM, Leidos and DXC Technology.

A spokesman for Amazon Web Services said: “When customers, including the UK Government, use AWS they always own their data, and it does not move without their consent.”

Amazon’s cloud business has taken off in recent years with an expectation that further growth will boost its value to $15bn by 2021.

Update: The original story Amazon had bid for a £300m Home Office contract. However, Amazon has since contacted The Drum to confirm it was not bidding for the contract. Here's its statement in full:

“With AWS, the UK government gets greater security and reliability, accelerates innovation, and saves millions of pounds compared to their old on-premises IT suppliers. By choosing AWS, the UK government is also supporting a vast ecosystem of small and medium sized Systems Integrators and Independent Software Vendors — many of them based in or with large offices in the UK — that offer products and services that complement and help customers take full advantage of AWS.

"When customers, including the UK government, use AWS they always own their data, their data stays in the AWS Region they choose, and it does not move without their consent. They can choose to encrypt their content for added security and content that has been encrypted is rendered useless without the applicable decryption keys. Because AWS has a world-class team of security experts, monitoring systems 24/7 to protect customer content, UK government departments are choosing AWS for their most sensitive workloads."

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.