Setting the Record Straight on Inaccurate Reporting about AWS and JEDI
This week, the BBC and other media outlets published inaccurate stories attempting to connect the AWS bid for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Contract to a UK-based investment firm called C5 Capital (C5). To be clear, neither C5 nor any of its subsidiaries are involved in AWS’s JEDI bid. At no time, past or present, has Amazon or AWS ever invested in C5, its private equity fund, or any related portfolio companies. C5 has never been a teaming partner or subcontractor, nor lobbied on behalf of AWS in order for AWS to obtain government contracts. Any suggestion to the contrary is false. Below are simply the facts so people aren’t confused.
The story claimed that AWS has “joined forces” and is “working together on a number of cloud computing projects all over the world” with C5. This is quite misleading and does not accurately represent the relationship AWS has with C5. AWS is one of several organizations that support two C5 startup accelerator programs, the Peacetech Accelerator in Washington, D.C. and Cloud 10 Scalerator in Bahrain, to help early-stage businesses with mentorship, training on cloud computing skills, and access to potential investors. We support these accelerators through our AWS Activate program. This is no different to the work AWS does with many other accelerators and venture capital firms all over the world to provide technology resources, support, education, training, and guidance for startup companies and entrepreneurs. We encourage you to look at our AWS Activate page, which will give you the exact details of our relationship with organizations taking part in the program.
In April of 2017, C5 became part of the AWS Partner Network (APN) Channel Reseller Program for one deal supporting the Bahrain Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA). Since then, C5 has done no further work as a reseller. To be clear, this is no different to the work tens of thousands of other APN Partners do with AWS. For more detail on what this looks like, check out the webpage.
This is the extent of our relationship with C5.
Further, this BBC article insinuates the US DoD’s JEDI specification of a single cloud vendor is somehow less secure. This both directly contradicts what we see in AWS’s business every day, as well as how most companies and governments we interact with see this issue. It also directly contradicts the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recent decision to dismiss multiple protests related to the JEDI procurement. As part of the GAO’s ruling, the DoD contracting officer elaborated that, “A single cloud environment does not mean that all data and applications are hosted in a single physical environment where everything is vulnerable to a single attack. Rather, a single cloud environment is subdivided into many virtual private enclaves, like a honeycomb, where applications and data are logically isolated from other users…security of data within a single cloud is largely standard and automatic.” The full document is available here.
The BBC’s coverage also tries to connect AWS to Skolkovo through a loose narrative that ignores the fact that AWS does not work with Skolkovo – although many other U.S.-based cloud vendors do. We encourage you to review Skolkovo’s full list of partners here.
The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines (available here) state, “Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.” Yet, this article misrepresents the facts, tries to insinuate meaningful connections that aren’t true, and presents a very partial perspective. Why? We don’t know. We shared the actual facts many times and this seemed to have no impact on the reporting direction so we have raised these concerns with the BBC. There have been previous reports indicating that a coalition of old guard technology companies are working together to spread misinformation to the media and on Capitol Hill, and we know this group has tried to expand its reach globally. This report gives a good summary of the false information we have already seen.
Regardless, while we have great respect for the BBC as an institution and their usual fair and impartial reporting, this story is full of misreporting and innuendo that doesn’t reflect reality.
Update: On August 30, the BBC Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) concluded their investigation into this story. After months of careful examination, the ECU found there was “a serious lapse of editorial standards” and as a result, the story has been removed. Additional details can be found on the BBC Corrections and Clarifications webpage.