Home Money The hidden links between Google and Amazon’s Project Nimbus and the Israeli military

The hidden links between Google and Amazon’s Project Nimbus and the Israeli military

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The hidden links between Google and Amazon's Project Nimbus and the Israeli military

This appears to include the Israel Defense Forces as well. WIRED identified several Israeli government statements and documents published since 2022 that confirm the IDF’s continued involvement in Project Nimbus, though they do not provide details on the tools and capabilities it uses.

For example, a government document Posted on June 15, 2022Describing the scope of the project, it says that “The Ministry of Defense and the IDF” will gain a dedicated “digital marketplace” of services that they can access under Project Nimbus.

In July 2022, The interception It was also reported that training documents and videos provided to Nimbus users in the Israeli government that revealed some of the specific Google technologies the contract gave them access to. They included artificial intelligence capabilities such as face detection, object tracking, sentiment analysis and other complex tasks.

The official government pages, both old and new, in both Hebrew and English, present the same standard description of Project Nimbus. The contract is called “a multi-year, wide-ranging flagship project, led by the Public Procurement Administration of the Accountant General Division of the Ministry of Treasury together with the National Digital Unit, the Legal Office of the Ministry of Finance, the National Cyber ​​Unit, the Budget Division, the Ministry of Defense, and the Israel Defense Forces.” The statement appears on one of the pages. Government Homepages on Project Nimbusa undated press releaseto Cloud Strategy Paper for 2022and a Press release January 2023.

A version of the statement has also been published in a Amazon Guidance Document on Nimbus from January 2023, and in the Nimbus Summit 2024 event page a private event bringing together tech workers from Amazon, Google and the dozens of other companies that have contributed to the modernization of Israel’s technological infrastructure in recent years.

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Social media posts by Israeli officials, Amazon employees and Google employees suggest that the country’s military remains closely involved with Project Nimbus and the two American cloud companies working on it.

In June 2023, Omri Nezer, head of the technology infrastructure unit at the Government Procurement Administration of Israel, published a summary from a cloud conference organized by the Israeli government to LinkedIn. He wrote that its purpose was to bring together people from “different government offices within the ‘Nimbus Project.’”

Nezer’s post mentions a panel at the conference that featured “a representative of the Israel Defense Forces” and the head of engineering IT at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a defense company originally created as a research and development firm for the Israeli military. The Intercept reported last month that Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries, both Israeli government-backed weapons manufacturers, are “mandatory customers” of Google and Amazon through Project Nimbus. Amazon spokesperson Duncan Neasham told WIRED that Rafael is “not required to use AWS or Google alone for cloud services” and that it can “use services from other cloud providers as well.”

National security agencies remain an important part of Project Nimbus. LinkedIn Post 2023 Tagged #nimbus, Omri Holzman, defense team lead at Amazon Web Services, summarized a recent event AWS hosted for defense customers. “We had attendees from every security organization in Israel,” Holzman wrote, without specifying which agencies. “AWS puts a lot of emphasis on the National Security (NatSec) community, which has its unique needs and requirements.”

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