Taxpayers ‘held to ransom’ by Amazon as Home Office internet cloud price triples to £450m | UK | News | EUROtoday

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Taxpayers are being “held to ransom” after Home Office funds to Amazon to retailer knowledge in its internet cloud greater than tripled to just about half a billion kilos.

The three-year contract signed between the division and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in December might be price a most of $524million (£451million), relying on the precise quantity of utilization.

The “committed spend” or minimal price might be $91.9million within the first yr, $99.2million the second yr and $107.2million within the third – a complete of $297million, or £255million.

The Home Office’s earlier contract for internet cloud companies with AWS was reportedly valued at about £120million, which means the worth may have greater than tripled if utilization hits the highest degree.

Questions have been raised about why the worth has jumped a lot, however there are additionally fears that the Home Office doesn’t have the appropriate to examine or audit AWS’s infrastructure, in accordance with the brand new contract.

Lord Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrats’ digital spokesman within the second chamber, who submitted a collection of parliamentary questions on the deal, mentioned: “It looks like somebody has hit the jackpot.

“It would be nice to have some justification. The Home Office is being held to ransom.”

Part of the issue, he mentioned, is that there are few rivals to AWS.

“Our cloud services are in the hands of two or three companies,” he mentioned. “AWS has got it pretty much sown up.”

In October, media regulator Ofcom referred public cloud infrastructure companies to the Competition and Markets Authority for additional investigation, saying it had “identified features that make it more difficult for UK businesses to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers”.

Ofcom added: “We are particularly concerned about the position of the market leaders Amazon and Microsoft.”

Of the AWS deal, a Home Office spokesman mentioned: “All commercial contracts are in line with government procurement rules which are designed to ensure the best value for taxpayers. We closely monitor contractor performance, including financial results.”

But Lord Clement-Jones additionally questioned the dearth of inspection and audit rights, including: “It’s really important that we know the Home Office has got the ability to inspect infrastructure to make sure it is delivering the goods. Do we just rely on the say-so of the supplier?

“The Home Office has got more sensitive information than any other body, other than the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions].”

In response to Lord Clement-Jones’s parliamentary questions, Home Office minister Lord Sharpe mentioned: “The supplier shall not process or otherwise transfer Home Office data outside of the United Kingdom unless the prior written consent of the Home Office has been obtained.”

AWS was approached for remark however didn’t present a response.