US Congressman has privacy concerns about Silk browser

In September, Amazon announced plans to launch its 7 inch tablet, the Kindle Fire. The tablet, which will be released on November 15, includes Amazon's own web browser, Silk.  Amazon has said the Silk browser will use Amazon's cloud servers to help speed up load times. However, there have been some concerns expressed that this kind of set up will also allow Amazon to track exactly where users of the Kindle Fire are surfing when they use the Silk browser.

While Kindle Fire users do have the option to turn off the cloud-based features of the Silk browser, that hasn't stopped a US congressman from sending a letter to Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos asking for more information about Silk. The letter, from US House of Representatives member Edward Markey (D-Mass.) was posted on his web site this week. Rep. Markey says in his letter that he has some concerns that the combination of the Kindle Fire and the cloud-enabled Silk browser " ... will enable Amazon to collect and utilize an extraordinary amount of information about its users' Internet surfing and buying habits."

Rep. Markey would like Bezos to answer a number of questions about the tablet and the browser including what information Amazon plans to collect from users, how does Amazon intend to use the information and more. Rep, Markey would like to receive the answers from Bezos by November 4. Amazon has already posted its Terms and Conditions for the Silk browser where it states that it "temporarily logs web addresses" while running in cloud mode but that it normally doesn't keep that information "for longer than 30 days."

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14 Comments

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You know what I have concerns over? Why we are still in Iraq. Iran. Unemployment. Need I continue? Congress needs to get their **** together an stop worrying about **** like this.

Oy vey! Well, I have privacy concerns over virtually any such bundleware whatever the source. And clouds s*ck in general.

thealexweb said,
Couldn't RIM also do this they wanted to?
They do. All network traffic on Blackberry's goes over RIM's own servers.

Ambroos said,
They do. All network traffic on Blackberry's goes over RIM's own servers.
But I suppose that on RIM's side there's not much security concern...

And browsing without this "silk" browser is perfectly safe, nobody can track you. Stupid congresspeople, don't know jack about tech - or much else for that matter.

Zzz... Opera has been doing this for YEARS (with Opera Mini and Opera Turbo) and nobody cared. Amazon starts doing the same and it's suddenly a problem?

If you are scared because they could know what you're doing, you're probably doing something wrong.

Agreed. Besides all sorts of shifty companies do things like this all the time, and worse, but when a decent company like Amazon has the potential to do something shifty it becomes a problem. I don't get it.

Ambroos said,
Zzz... Opera has been doing this for YEARS (with Opera Mini and Opera Turbo) and nobody cared. Amazon starts doing the same and it's suddenly a problem?

If you are scared because they could know what you're doing, you're probably doing something wrong.


Opera is not a US company, so they can't do jack ****.

Victor V. said,

Opera is not a US company, so they can't do jack ****.

yes they can, they can prevent Opera from operating in the USA

Ambroos said,
Zzz... Opera has been doing this for YEARS (with Opera Mini and Opera Turbo) and nobody cared. Amazon starts doing the same and it's suddenly a problem?

Opera is neither preinstalled or the default option though, Amazon Silk IS.

thommcg said,

Opera is neither preinstalled or the default option though, Amazon Silk IS.

Opera mini is pre-installed on numerous mobile phones, not sure about being default though.