Amazon's Silk browser raises serious privacy concerns (Updated)

Amazon's Silk browser, which will come loaded on the upcoming Kindle Fire tablet, promises to be super speedy thanks to the fact that Amazon's servers will route any pages you view through them, doing all the heavy lifting. Which is great for speed, and terrible for privacy.

Writing on Naked Security, a blog for British computer security firm Sophos, senior security adviser Chester Wisniewski had this to say:

"All web connections from your tablet will connect directly to Amazon, rather than the destination web page. Amazon will keep this connection between your Kindle Fire and EC2 open indefinitely while you are actively surfing, reducing the latency and connection times to retrieve web pages… Hopefully you can start to see the problem here. All of your web surfing habits will transit Amazon's cloud."

Sure, its great that the Fire won't have to render websites itself, instead relying on Amazon's speedy servers. But then Amazon will have a record of literally every site you visit stored on its servers. Amazon says that it'll delete this info after 30 days, and that browsing histories won't be tied to individuals. But do you really want a company having that data stored? There's nothing to say that they won't change their policies in the future, either.

Right now, the Silk browser is only available on the to-be-released Fire, but the chances are good that Amazon will release a desktop version in the future. Do you trust them enough to use it?

UPDATE: An Amazon tells us that you can turn off the split-mode browsing if you wish, which will make Fire render website like any ol' tablet, forgoing Amazon Silk's cloud muscle — and possibly all these privacy concerns.

Sophos, via CNN

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