News in Brief

AWS earnings and FAA drones

Amazon breaks out AWS earnings

After hinting at the possibility in January, Amazon released financial numbers on its Amazon Web Services cloud operations that show the company generating billions of dollars in sales -- and still growing.

AWS is one of the first companies to become a federally authorized provider of cloud services. It is "a $5 billion business and growing fast -- in fact, it's accelerating," Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in an April 23 statement on the company's 2015 first-quarter financial results.

AWS faces new challenges from a growing list of cloud providers vying for federal business. The General Services Administration's roster of vendor solutions approved under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program now stands at about a dozen, and it includes Microsoft's Azure, Verizon's Enterprise Cloud Federal Edition and Salesforce.com's Government Cloud.

Before Amazon released its first-quarter results for this year, the company had not disclosed how big its cloud operations were and left that financial information folded into other operations. In its release of fourth-quarter results for last year, the company said AWS has more than 1 million active customers worldwide that use its cloud computing and data services.

In the first quarter of 2015, AWS posted $265 million in operating income, up from $245 million for the same quarter in 2014, and revenue of $1.57 billion.

EFF: Drone policy needs balance

Privacy advocates want the Federal Aviation Administration to act more like Goldilocks in developing rules for integrating unmanned aerial systems into U.S. airspace.

In an April 22 blog post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said the FAA should find a regulatory approach that strikes the right balance between the use of "good drones" and those that pose a threat to aviation.

The FAA's deadline for comments on its proposed framework is April 24.

EFF said the agency should put minimal restrictions on low-altitude drones for general-purpose uses, such as education, journalism and photography.

EFF also said the FAA should not put any registration or certification limits (including age limits for operators) on drones that weigh less than four pounds, are made of breakable materials and are flown within line of sight at least five miles from an airport. Additionally, the FAA should allow drones in that category to be flown at night, as long as they are equipped with lights that make them visible from the ground.

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