Congress Uneasy, Somewhat Confused Regarding Amazon's Silk Browser

Ryan Whitwam

The idea of Amazon’s Silk browser, for the Kindle Fire is an intriguing one. By caching web assets ahead of time, Amazon hopes to accelerate the browsing experience. But running all user traffic through Amazon’s EC2 cloud has made some privacy-minded people a little uneasy. Now members of Congress are starting to ask questions , and some of them are not totally ridiculous.

Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to Amazon asking for clarification on a number of points. He seeks the specifics about what data Amazon plans to store about user browsing habits, and what it plans to do with it. He also wonders about Amazon’s disclosure of data collection to users, and if there will be an opt out. Amazon hasn’t been too keen to release all the details yet, but the company has previously stated that usage data for Silk will be stored in aggregate, and no user identifications will be stored.

Rep. Joe Barton, however, seems a little more upset, and less sure of what’s going on. Saying that his staff informed him that Amazon would be building its own servers that everyone would have to go through to use Amazon. He was further informed that Amazon would have everyone’s data, to which he said, “Enough is enough." Do you think Amazon still has some explaining to do?

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