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August 26, 2022updated 23 Sep 2022 10:11am

AWS to launch Bastion “clean room” for customers to share data

The new service would allow information to be pooled securely as ad-tracking rules are tightened.

By Matthew Gooding

Cloud market leader Amazon’s AWS is reportedly planning to launch a “clean room” where users can pool anonymised customer information without falling foul of data protection laws. The public cloud hyperscaler will launch the service, known as Bastion, later this year and believes it will be in demand to help inform online advertising and other business decisions.

AWS plans to launch a data clean room known as Bastion. (Photo courtesy of krblokhin/iStock)

AWS is set to launch Bastion at its upcoming Re:invent conference, according to three people familiar with the project who spoke to The Information. It is reportedly in response to Apple and Google putting restrictions on how advertisers can track users of their devices.

AWS Bastion: what is a data clean room?

A clean room allows businesses to share information on existing or potential customers without compromising the privacy of the subjects. So businesses are able to cross-reference data to help inform their choices around things like advertising.

Data clean rooms do not allow information that could be tied back to a specific user to leave the controlled environment, meaning companies that use them remain compliant with laws such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations.

Google already runs a clean room service for advertisers, Google Ads Data Hub, while other cloud companies such as Snowflake provide clean room services for customers.

AWS Bastion will differ from Google’s service in that it will allow customers to launch clean rooms and work with chosen partners, not just the Amazon Ads service. AWS also hopes the service will be deployed for use cases beyond advertising and the report says Amazon executives hope financial services companies may deploy it to improve loan risk assessments, while it could also be used by hardware manufacturers to share details of product demand and component availability across the supply chain.

Why are data clean rooms becoming popular?

Data clean rooms are becoming useful for companies that have fallen foul of changes made by Apple and Google in a bid to protect user privacy.

Last year Apple released an update for its iOS mobile operating system that prompts iPhone and iPad users to opt out of tracking in apps. Previously developers had been free to collect behavioural data and share that with third parties.

Google has since followed suit, announcing it will make changes to its Android operating system in a bid to offer greater privacy to users.

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These changes have not been universally welcomed by regulators, with data watchdogs in France, Germany and Poland among those to raise concerns that Apple’s clampdown on tracking gives is anti-competitive.

Read more: AWS plans £1.8bn UK investment

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