Australia is building a top secret cloud platform for intelligence sharing

Forward-looking: Alongside the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand, Australia is part of the “Five Eyes” alliance, fostering collaboration and information sharing among intelligence agencies. Representatives from Canberra now aim to enhance this collaboration with a new cloud platform designed for improved and “instantaneous” data sharing.

Australia is engaged in a “top-secret” project aimed at developing an intelligence-focused cloud computing platform, with the primary objective of enhancing information and data sharing with the US and UK. According to Andrew Shearer, Australia’s director-general of national intelligence, British and American authorities already have their own cloud platform for intelligence data.

During an event hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington D.C., Shearer discussed the three cloud platforms and their shared objective. He mentioned that Australia is diligently working on a “top-secret cloud initiative.” Once completed, the platform will be interoperable with similar infrastructures in Washington and London, facilitating the near-instantaneous sharing of sensitive data.

The Australian cloud initiative is poised to transform how intelligence agencies operate, Shearer stated. Moreover, it will establish a “shared collaborative space” for intelligence organizations within the Five Eyes countries, reinforcing a sense of working together as a “genuine community.”

The head of Australian intelligence highlighted a significant shift within the intelligence community – the capacity to amass and share extensive data collaboratively. He emphasized that Australia stands to gain valuable insights from the US and UK, given their established intelligence cloud initiatives.

Shearer also delved into the different procurement rules, suggesting that adopting common standards for hardware and software would facilitate smoother collaboration and data sharing. According to Shearer, the entire Five Eyes community should prioritize the establishment of shared IT standards.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by the intelligence community, Shearer emphasized the “imperative” of achieving interoperability between similar cloud infrastructures among the Five Eyes countries. He also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of AI algorithms in aiding intelligence agencies. Despite advancements, security analysts continue to work with the constant fear of overlooking crucial information, and according to Shearer, relying on AI does not guarantee immunity against such mistakes.

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