Privacy concerns over Amazon's Silk web browser

As part of its reveal of the Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon made a big deal about the tablet's web browser and its features. The $199 tablet will use Amazon's own Silk browser that will take advantage of the company's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service to share the workload of downloading and displaying web pages in the tablet. But a new blog post on a software security company's web site has raised questions about both security and privacy for people who use the Silk browser.

The Naked Security blog, hosted by the Sophos web site, states that people who use the Silk browser in tandem with its EC2 features will expose their web visits to Amazon's servers. It states, "All of your web surfing habits will transit Amazon's cloud. If you think that Google AdWords and Facebook are watching you, this service is guaranteed to have a record of *everything* you do on the web." Indeed, the blog site points out that the official terms and conditions for using the Silk browser have this condition:

Amazon Silk also temporarily logs web addresses known as uniform resource locators (“URLs”) for the web pages it serves and certain identifiers, such as IP or MAC addresses, to troubleshoot and diagnose Amazon Silk technical issues. We generally do not keep this information for longer than 30 days.

If you plan to buy the Kindle Fire when it is released on November 15 but don't want to have your web surfing info recorded by Amazon's cloud servers, the Silk browser does have the option to turn off the links to the EC2 service. As the Naked Security site states, "If you buy a Fire device, think carefully as to whether your privacy is worth trading for a few milliseconds faster web surfing experience."

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