AWS Security Blog

Privacy and Data Security

Amazon knows customers care deeply about privacy and data security, and we optimize our work to get these issues right for customers. With this post I’d like to provide a number of observations on our policies and positions:

  • Amazon does not disclose customer information unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Unless prohibited from doing so or there is clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of Amazon products or services, Amazon notifies customers before disclosing content information.
  • Where we need to act publicly to protect customers, we do. Amazon never participated in the NSA’s PRISM program. We have repeatedly challenged government subpoenas for customer information that we believed were overbroad, winning decisions that have helped to set the legal standards for protecting customer speech and privacy interests. We also advocate in Congress to modernize outdated privacy laws to require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant from a court to get the content of customer communications. That’s the appropriate standard, and it’s the standard we follow.
  • While we recognize the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal and terrorist activity, and cooperate with them when they observe legal safeguards for conducting such investigations, we oppose legislation mandating or prohibiting security or encryption technologies that would have the effect of weakening the security of products, systems, or services our customers use, whether they be individual consumers or business customers. We offer AWS clients strong encryption as one of many standard security features, and we provide them the option to manage their own encryption keys. We publish security best practices documents on our website and encourage our clients to use these measures to protect sensitive content.
  • We are certified under the Safe Harbor Framework and are members of numerous associations focused on protecting privacy and security, and AWS has achieved a number of internationally recognized certifications and accreditations demonstrating compliance with third-party assurance frameworks. AWS clients have control over their content and where it resides.

Amazon’s bi-annual information request report, available here, provides additional information on the types and volume of information requests we receive.


Steve Schmidt

Steve is Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for AWS. His duties include leading product design, management, and engineering development efforts focused on bringing the competitive, economic, and security benefits of cloud computing to business and government customers. Prior to AWS, he had an extensive career at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he served as a senior executive and section chief. He currently holds five patents in the field of cloud security architecture. Follow Steve on Twitter