Amazon's Silk Browser A Privacy Threat?

Ryan Whitwam

When Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire tablet, the cloud accelerated Silk browser was one of the headlining features. While the speed and ease of use supposedly offered by Silk is intriguing, some privacy-minded folks are a little concerned . Since all your traffic is passing though Amazon, your browsing history could be at risk.

Silk will work by connecting directly to the Amazon EC2 computing cloud. Here, web content will be cached and compressed by Amazon’s super-fast back end, and pushed down to the device upon request. The problems start in with the fact that Amazon will retain all the URLs and IP addresses you access for up to 30 days in their cloud. The retailer will also use a certificate to run an SSL proxy, thus allowing them to accelerate HTTPS content as well.

Because all of your communications are stored, that makes the data vulnerable to intrusion, or more likely, to law enforcement warrants. There is an ‘off-cloud’ mode that user can opt into, and Amazon claims that there is no personally identifiable information in the data blocks. Do you trust Amazon on this?

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