Amazon Primes Its Cloud To Fight Crime In California

Amazon Web Services on Wednesday entered an agreement with the California Department of Justice that will enable law enforcement agencies across the state to use its public cloud to combat crime.

The world's leading cloud provider signed a Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Addendum -- a legal pledge to deal with sensitive data related to the justice system in a manner compliant with FBI standards.

The California addendum was the first Amazon has entered with any U.S. state, Amazon told CRN.

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"These CJIS security addenda give our law enforcement customers the confidence that their data will pass CJIS-compliance audits and that their data is secure in the cloud," reads the AWS blog.

The addendum -- stipulating that Amazon's cloud resources are operated under the proper security, confidentiality and personnel access controls -- will make it possible for law enforcement agencies across California to use the private contractor's cloud for data storage and analysis.

The agreement, and ones like it that may follow with other state justice departments, should help Seattle-based Amazon further tap a rapidly expanding market -- law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to advanced data gathering and analytics techniques, and the proliferation of devices like body cams promises to generate an even greater influx of storage-intensive data.

Matt Gerber, CEO of Digital Fortress, an AWS partner based in Seattle, said Amazon's move to make itself compliant with FBI standards makes sense, given the changing nature of law enforcement. Like so many businesses, police need to capture more data than they are prepared to handle.

That impetus is driving the need for scalable and flexible on-demand infrastructure, Gerber told CRN.

"It's not surprising and a very logical step for AWS, as it makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies to take advantage of the public cloud," Gerber said.

"We know that security is a top priority for our customers, especially those in law enforcement. To help law enforcement customers comply with FBI standards for criminal justice information (CJI), which includes biometric, identity history, person, organization, property, and case/incident history data, AWS signs CJIS security addenda at both state and local levels," the AWS blog reads.

’The cloud is an essential part of our strategy to securely deliver innovative digital services to all law enforcement agencies across California," said Adrian Farley, chief information officer of California's Justice Department, in a statement. "With the CJIS addendum, law enforcement agencies statewide can adopt a cloud-first approach, and benefit from the cloud's agility, cost savings, and breadth of functionality."