Federal Regulators Visited Amazon Facility To Search Laptops


Investigators from the Federal Reserve carried out an inspection of Amazon’s cloud in April as Washington looks into ways to regulate companies that provide the service.

Although the investigation came around at the same time a Seattle woman hacked a database of credit-card issuer Capital One Financial that was stored on the eCommerce giant’s cloud server, examiners were reportedly not aware of the breach when they visited Amazon’s Virginia facility.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal that the investigators were escorted around the facility by an Amazon employee, and while they could review certain documents on company laptops, they were not permitted to take anything with them. People familiar with the matter said the regulators were most interested in looking at Amazon’s resiliency and backup systems.

The examination comes as antitrust investigators are looking into whether Amazon, Facebook and other major tech companies are using their power to stifle competition. Just last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr met with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general to discuss antitrust and competition issues related to big tech companies.

The Amazon visit also shows how major tech companies have become prominent players in the U.S. banking system as they run databases holding customer credit scores and Social Security numbers, as well as analyze risk and process payments.

And Amazon is the leader of the pack, controlling nearly half of the public cloud market last year. In fact, Amazon Web Services accounts for 75 percent of the company’s overall profits, with Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq and payments company Stripe all using Amazon.

While Washington wants to find a way to regulate them, tech giants are resisting. Amazon lobbied against possible new cybersecurity standards in 2017, arguing that cloud companies only sell the system-running, and securing is the client’s job.

“Imposing additional cybersecurity requirements … could unnecessarily lead to redundancy and increases in compliance costs, while potentially leaving systemically important financial institutions less secure,” Amazon wrote to regulators in 2017.


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